In the music business there are many factors that define the razor edge between the "'Legends' and the Lost". The right sound, at the right time, in the right place are foremost on the list, but are not the only factors that will determine the placement of any musician in the history books. The pages are also subject to edit by record companies and producers, the fickle nature of fans, the general acceptance and understanding of your work by other musicians, and, of course, "Luck".
The Musicians profiled in "On The Boards" are those who, having reached the pinnacle of their particular music genre, gave us a sound that is uniquely definable as belonging to the individual musician(s). Feel free to add, correct, or debate the contents herein. Submission/comment
Pink Floyd is the name of the English rock band formed in 1965 from the group known as "The Tea Set" consisting of Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Bob Klose, and Syd (Roger) Barrett. Syd, being a more blues oriented musician, suggested the name change to Pink Floyd when they found themselves having to share a billing with another band also calling themselves The Tea Set, so by taking the first names of two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, the new name was created. It was also at this time that Klose left the band after the recording of the first demo as Pink Floyd
The currently recognized sound of Pink Floyd's music is characterized by symbolic lyrical content, and the ethereal quality of their compositions, that are emphasized by the unique sound of lead guitarist David Gilmour. The live performances of the band serve to further drive home this other-worldly experience with extravagant special effects. Pink Floyd's sound is in a class of it's own, and is readily distinguishable, within the first few notes, from any other band. As one of rock music's most successful acts, the group have sold over 210 million albums worldwide, and have had a major influence on other musicians since the 1970's. Originally being classified as a "psychedelic" band, Pink Floyd's music defied categorization as their sound matured, becoming more polished, with their lyrical content turning to a more philosophic, story telling nature. The distinctive guitar work of both Roger Waters and David Gilmour combined with the unique keyboard playing of Wright and Mason's drumming style, set them apart in the music world.
As the early band's popularity grew in the mid to late '60s, so did the pressure by the record company to produce, they don't call it riding the gravy train for nothing. These pressures soon took their toll on Syd Barrett, manifesting in an ever increasing intake of drugs, and an ever decreasing state of mental health. With Syd being the dominant force in the band at this time, doing most of the writing and vocals, the increasingly erratic behavior was soon taking it's toll on the rest of the members. Alleged statements from fellow band mates tell of Syd just staring into space during concerts, or simply strumming one chord, over and over, throughout the entire show. The absence of any expression in Barrett's eyes inspired Waters' lyrics in 1975's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Now there's a look in your eyes/ Like black holes in the sky". Their live performances increasingly deteriorated to the point where they wouldn't even bring Syd to the shows, and in January 1968, guitarist David Gilmour joined the band to carry out Barrett's playing and singing duties. Barrett went into seclusion, moving back to his home town of Cambridge and lived there until his death on July 7, 2006.
After Syd Barrett's departure, singer and bass player Roger Waters became the driving force of the group, a position he remained in until his departure in 1985. Waters had decided at that point in time, (1985), that Pink Floyd had gone as far as they could, said all they had to say, and he thus embarked on a solo career, while Mason and Gilmour and Wright continued on with the issue of a new Pink Floyd Album in 1987. The release of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" was followed by a short legal battle over the use of Pink Floyd, Waters wanting the name to be retired, and the rest of the band wanting to continue using the Pink Floyd name and logo, it was eventually settled out of court with the band retaining their right to the use of the name. A Momentary Lapse of Reason was followed in 1994 by the release of "The Division Bell" and both albums did extremely well, achieving worldwide success.
While Pink Floyd had always been popular in England from their start in the late 1960's they did not break out onto the world stage until the release of their "concept" albums; "The Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish You Were Here", "Animals", and of course the rock opera "The Wall". Up until that point they remained pretty much and underground force, maintaining a large cult following, which was somewhat typical of the progressive bands at the time. As the varying musical talents of the band started to coalesce and mature, it gave way to a very polished and unique sound. One can almost see the band members struggling to find the common ground through each of their successive albums from the debut "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" in '67, through the massively successful "The Dark Side of The Moon" in '73, to the critically acclaimed "The Wall" in '79.
The Dark Side of The Moon was, with the possible exception of The Wall, the most intriguing album by Pink Floyd, it is one of the biggest-selling albums in history, with 40 million copies sold. The album also remained on Billboards top 200 albums for an unprecedented 741 weeks establishing a world record, and it is without a doubt the album that thrust Pink Floyd into the limelight of the world stage. "Dark Side of The Moon" was the first concept album by the band and fades in with a heartbeat at the beginning and fades out with a heartbeat at the end. There have been many rumors that the album was conceived as an accompaniment to The Wizard of Oz, and the music does seem to follow the movie scenes rather nicely, but both David Gilmour and Nick Mason deny any connection between the two works, and Roger Waters described the rumors as "amusing". Whether intentional or not the synchronicity is entertaining and definitely the stuff of urban legends.
"The Wall", conceived by Roger Waters, having a theme of loneliness and separation, expressed by a wall built between the performers and audience, deals with the feelings Waters' has concerning father's death in World War II and his cynical attitude political figures. This critically acclaimed album gave Pink Floyd a renewed hold on their position at the forefront of the music scene and produced their only chart-topping single "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)". During the recording of The Wall, Richard Wright was fired from the band, the al ledged reason was that Columbia Records had offered Waters a substantial bonus to finish the album in time for a 1979 release and Wright had refused to return early from his summer vacation. Wright stayed on to finish the album and perform the live concerts as a paid, (fixed wage), musician. In an ironic twist of fate, this fixed salary made Wright the only member of Pink Floyd to receive any money from the Wall concerts. The other members were forced to cover the massive cost overruns that resulted from the extravagant nature of the live productions of The Wall. Symbolically the last live performance of The Wall and probably the most extravagant was staged in Germany, after the Berlin Wall was torn down. While the live shows were barely covering their production expenses, the album itself was a massive success and has been certified 23x platinum by the RIAA, for sales of 11.5 million copies of the album in the U.S. alone. A film entitled Pink Floyd: The Wall was released in 1982, incorporating almost all of the music from the album. Written by Waters and directed by Alan Parker, the movie was an avante garde presentation of the albums thematic storyline.
Their 1983 studio album, "The Final Cut", was the last official release of Pink Floyd with both Waters and Gilmour together and had Michael Kamen and Andy Bown contributing keyboard work on the album due to the as yet un-announced, (until the album's release), departure of Richard Wright from the band. The future work of Pink Floyd would consist of only three of the original members, Gilmour, the return of Wright, and Mason, with Waters taking his leave in '85, followed by the somewhat bitter legal feud over the right to use the name Pink Floyd in the new lineup.
With Gilmour as the main driving force, Pink Floyd released two more studio concept albums "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" in 1987, and "The Division Bell" in 1994, as well as compilation and live performance albums, "A Delicate sound of Thunder" (live) in '88, "Shine On" (compilation) in '92, "Pulse" (live) in '95. A live recording of The Wall was released in 2000, which was a compilation of the 1980–1981 London concerts, and was titled "Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81". On July 2, 2005, the entire band, Gilmour, Waters, Wright, and Mason, reunited for a one time performance at the London Live 8 concert, which resulted in a revival of interest in Pink Floyd, with much of the subsequent windfall profits being donated to charity. The "Live 8" concert marked the first time in over 20 years that all four band members were on stage together. On May 10 2007, Roger Waters performed at the Syd Barrett tribute concert in London, he was followed by a surprise performance by the post 1985 Pink Floyd line up of David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, it would be the last time that this configuration of Pink Floyd would ever perform together, as Richard Wright died at age 65 on September 15, 2008.
In 1995, the band received their first and only Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Marooned", in January 1996, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in November 2005 Pink Floyd was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
Syd Barrett –( January 6, 1946 - July 7, 2006) lead guitar, lead vocals (1964–1968)
Bob Klose –(born, 1944, architect, musician and photographer, lead guitar (1964–1965)
Nick Mason – (born January 27, 1944) drums, percussion (1964–1994)
Richard Wright – ( July 28, 1943 – September 15, 2008) keyboards, vocals (1964–1981; 1987–1994)
Roger Waters – (born September 6, 1943), guitar (1964), bass guitar, vocals (1964–1985)
David Gilmour – (born March 6, 1946), lead guitar, vocals (1968–1994)
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
Soundtrack from the Film More (1969)
Atom Heart Mother (1970)
Obscured by Clouds (1972)
The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Wish You Were Here (1975)
The Wall (1979)
The Final Cut (1983)
A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
The Division Bell (1994)
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