A progressive rock band originating in the late 1960s. The band took their name from two American pop musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The original line-up went through many name changes, starting with Sigma 6, and moving through such various titles as The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, The Meggadeaths and T-Set.
The Syd Barrett Years
The original line-up had Syd Barrett on guitar and vocals, Rick Wright on piano and keyboard, Roger Waters on bass, and Nick Mason on drums. Their first full album release was Piper at the Gates of Dawn, followed by Saucerful of Secrets1.
Tragedy then struck the band as Syd Barrett, who had been experimenting with psychedelic drugs for a long time, lost control and suffered a nervous breakdown. After several embarrassing stage appearances, the band was forced to fire him, and Waters soon became front-man for the band. David Gilmour was hired to take over the responsibilities of guitar and most of the vocals.
The Roger Waters Years
The first few albums from the new Floyd, More which was a soundtrack for an obscure film, Meddle which included a whole side dedicated to the breathtaking song 'Echoes', and Obscured by Clouds, only sold moderately well. Then, in 1973, the band had a breakthrough with The Dark Side of The Moon, which after 20 years in the Billboard Top 200 still remains the best selling Pink Floyd album of all time, introducing such classic tracks as 'Time', 'Money' and 'Brain Damage'.
Some of the mad voices on The Dark Side of The Moon are alleged to be old recordings of Syd, and Floyd's next album, dealing with separation and loneliness and entitled Wish You Were Here, is dedicated to him.
Then Floyd went on to release Animals, a semi-concept album dealing with the ideas set out in George Orwell's book Animal Farm, but it was overshadowed by the continued success of Dark Side.
Spurred by his feelings of disillusionment and separation from his fans, and his shame and guilt over an incident at a concert, Roger Waters wrote the Floyd's next album almost entirely by himself. It is about a rock star who has had too much applause, too many drugs, and too many groupies. Mistreated by an over-protective mother and an abusive school system, the singer, appropriately named Pink, hides behind his defensive wall from the terrors and injustices of the real world, until something snaps. This double album, The Wall, was another huge hit which spawned a live stage show and a classic movie.
After The Wall, the band were plagued by disagreements, and Waters eventually left after producing one last album engendered by the Falklands Conflict2, The Final Cut.
The Dave Gilmour Years
Waters continued to tour solo, playing some of his own original work, plus all of the Floyd's old music from his era, which he gained the rights to play after a series of bitter lawsuits.
The rest of Pink Floyd continued, fronted now by Gilmour, touring and putting out such albums as Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell.
Richard Wright died in September 2008, of cancer.