P – is for Pink Floyd – The Classic Years

Tuesday 26th July

Well, despite my meeting them in ’67, Pink Floyd made several more records, but they were hardly making waves any more; they had become almost an irrelevant side issue in all the new music of the late sixties and early seventies.  Syd Barrett became reclusive and Dave Gilmour, an old friend became lead guitarist and they continued making records of interesting but not exciting music – Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother and Meddle and a soundtrack album ‘Obscured by Clouds’.  I still liked them but was getting a bit bored with their noodlings.   Then in 1973 they released Dark Side of the Moon; it was a wonderful record – ostensibly about madness and isolation but full of brilliant melodies and superb music.  It went on to be a million seller and still sells all over the world forty years later.  They had somehow discovered themselves; after years of practicing they had found their sound and style.  Roger Waters increasingly bitter lyrics softened by Dave Gilmour’s guitar and always there Rick Wright’s splendid understated keyboards.  They also introduced another trade mark, the inter-track sounds and voices somehow linking together all the songs.

They followed this with Wish You Were Here, a call to the now disappeared Syd.  Another triumphant success, and I think that this record is slightly better than Dark Side, especially Shine On You Crazy Diamond which is reprised at the end.  They toured extensively and became mega, and yet almost reclusive still, stars (they rarely appeared on their record covers and gave almost no interviews) letting the music speak for them.  Animals, a record I have never loved followed and in 1979 came “The Wall”.

This grew from a small concept into a huge double album recording a character ‘Pink’ who becomes a huge star and in the process build a wall around himself, blaming his mother, schoolteachers, the early death of his father and his wife for the state he was in.  He eventually is ‘tried’ and then tears down the wall and liberates himself.  All paranoid nonsense – but I loved it.  Gerald Scarfe created filmed cartoons and the whole show went on the road where a wall was actually built between the band and the audience as the show went on.  During the making of the record Rick Wright became more and more disillusioned and practically left the band at this time and the band would itself implode during the making of the next record, which ironically was called ‘The Final Cut’……

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