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Pink Floyd were an English rock band who, in the late 1960s, earned recognition for their psychedelic and space rock music, and in the 1970s, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. Pink Floyd's work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album cover art, and elaborate live shows. One of rock music's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful acts, the group has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 74.5 million certified units in the United States.

Pink Floyd were formed in 1965, and originally consisted of university students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and, briefly, Bob Klose. The group were a popular fixture on London's underground music scene, and under Barrett's leadership released two charting singles, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play", and a commercially and critically successful album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. In 1968, guitarist and singer David Gilmour joined the line-up, and Barrett was removed due to his increasingly erratic behaviour. Following Barrett's departure, bass player and singer Roger Waters became the lyricist and dominant figure in the band, which thereafter achieved worldwide critical and commercial success with the concept albums The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and rock opera The Wall.

Wright left the band in 1979, and Waters in 1985, but Gilmour and Mason (joined by Wright) continued recording and touring under the name Pink Floyd. Waters used legal means to try to keep them from using the name, declaring Pink Floyd a spent force, but the parties reached an out-of-court settlement allowing Gilmour, Mason and Wright to continue as Pink Floyd. The band again enjoyed worldwide success with A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), and Waters continued as a solo musician, releasing three studio albums. Although for some years relations between Waters and the remaining three members were sour, the band reformed in 2005 for what would be a final one-off performance at Live 8. Founder member Syd Barrett died in his home on 7 July 2006; and, on 15 September 2008, Richard Wright died of cancer.


Early years (1963–1967)


Nick Mason and Roger Waters met at the Regent Street Polytechnicmarker in Londonmarker, where both were studying architecture. The pair first played together in a band formed by Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe, along with Noble's sister Sheilagh, an occasional singer. They were joined later by fellow student Richard Wright. With the addition of Wright the band became a sextet, and took the name Sigma 6. Wright's girlfriend Juliette Gale was often a guest artist, and Waters initially played rhythm guitar, before moving to bass. Early gigs were for private functions, and the band rehearsed in a tearoom in the basement of Regent Street Polytechnic. Sigma 6 played songs by The Searchers as well as material written by fellow student Ken Chapman, who became their manager and songwriter.

In September 1963 Mason and Waters moved into the lower flat of Stanhope Gardens, owned by Mike Leonard, a part-time tutor at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Leonard was a designer of light machines (perforated discs spun by electric motors to cast patterns of lights on the walls, and for a time played keyboard with the band. They used the front room of the flat for rehearsals. Mason later moved out of the flat, and accomplished guitar player Bob Klose moved in. The band's name was changed several times, from the Megadeaths, to the Architectural Abdabs, and the Tea Set. Metcalfe and Noble left the band shortly thereafter, to form their own band.

Syd Barrett, then aged 17, arrived in London in the autumn of 1963, to study at Camberwell College of Artmarker. Waters and Barrett were childhood friends; the bassist had often visited Barrett as he played music at his mother's house. Barrett joined the Tea Set in 1964 and moved into Stanhope Gardens alongside Klose and Waters.

As "The Pink Floyd Sound"

With the Tea Set lacking the vocals of Noble and Metcalfe, Klose introduced them to Chris Dennis, a technician with the Royal Air Force. During Dennis' tenure, the Tea Set acquired an alternative name—the Pink Floyd Sound. Derived from the given names of two blues musicians that Barrett had in his record collection—Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, Barrett created it on the spur of the moment, when he discovered that another band, also named Tea Set, were to perform at one of their gigs.

Dennis was posted to Bahrainmarker, thrusting Barrett into the spotlight as frontman. Minus Wright—who had taken a break from studying—they acquired studio time between 1964–1965, and recorded promotional material which included a cover version of "I'm a King Bee" as well as several songs written by Barrett. The Pink Floyd Sound later became the resident band at the Countdown Club near Kensington High Streetmarker in London, and played three sets of 90 minutes, from late at night until early the following morning. According to Mason, this period "… was the beginning of a realisation that songs could be extended with lengthy solos." The band auditioned for the ITV programme Ready Steady Go! (whose producers expressed enough interest to invite them back into the studio audience the following week), and also for another club, and two rock contests. Bob Klose left in 1965, at the behest of his father and college tutors, and Barrett took over on lead guitar.

The Pink Floyd Sound began to receive paid bookings playing mostly rhythm and blues songs, including one performance at the Marquee Clubmarker in March 1966 where they were watched by Peter Jenner. Jenner, a lecturer at the London School of Economicsmarker, was impressed by the acoustic effects that Barrett and Wright created during their performances, and with his business partner and friend Andrew King became their manager. Although the pair had little experience of the music industry, they used inherited money to set up Blackhill Enterprises and purchased new instruments and equipment for the band, including a Selmer PA system. Under their guidance, the band began performing on London's underground music scene at venues including All Saints Hall and The Marquee.

The band felt encouraged to work on the instrumental excursions they had experimented with at the Countdown Club, and rudimentary light shows projected by coloured slides and domestic lights were used to powerful effect. To celebrate the launch of the Free School's magazine International Times, they performed at the opening of The Roundhousemarker, attended by a 2,000-strong crowd which included such celebrities as Alexander Trocchi, Paul McCartney, and Marianne Faithfull. Jenner and King's diverse array of social connections were meritorious, gaining the band important coverage in The Financial Times and The Sunday Times.

The band's relationship with Blackhill Enterprises was strengthened when they became full partners, each holding an unprecedented one-sixth share. By October 1966 their set included more of their own material, and they were performing at venues such as the Commonwealth Institute. Their music was not to everyone's taste, however; following a performance at a Catholic youth club, the owner refused to pay. At the magistrates' court the judge agreed with the owner, who claimed that the band's performance "wasn't music". Although this was not the only occasion on which they encountered such opinions, they were better received at the UFO Club in London, where they used the in-house lighting to good effect. Barrett's performances were reportedly exuberant, "… leaping around and the madness, and the kind of improvisation he was doing … he was inspired. He would constantly manage to get past his limitations and into areas that were very, very interesting. Which none of the others could do." The often drug-addled audience was receptive to the music they played, but the band remained conspicuously drug-free —"We were out of it, not on acid, but out of the loop, stuck in the dressing room at UFO."

Signing with EMI

Although in 1967 Mason admitted that the psychedelic movement had "taken place around us—not within us", the Pink Floyd Sound were present at the head of a wave of interest in psychedelic music, so attracted attention from record companies. While negotiating with the record companies, Joe Boyd and their booking agent Bryan Morrison arranged and paid for the band to record several songs at Sound Techniques in West Hampsteadmarker, including "Arnold Layne", and a version of "Interstellar Overdrive"; and to record a short music film for "Arnold Layne" in Sussex. Despite early interest from Polydor, the band signed with EMI, with a £5,000 advance. Boyd was not included in the deal.

"Arnold Layne" became Pink Floyd's (the definite article was dropped at some point in 1967) first single, released on 11 March 1967. It was banned by several radio stations for its vague references to sexual perversions, but due to some creative manipulation at the shops which supplied sales figures to the music industry, it peaked at number 20 in the UK charts. Each member of the band had by now either abandoned their studies, or left their job. The band upgraded their ageing Bedford van to a Ford Transit, and used it to travel to over 200 gigs in 1967 (a ten-fold increase on the previous year). They were joined by road manager Peter Wynne Willson, with whom Barrett had previously shared a flat. Willson updated the band's lighting rig with innovative ideas such as the use of polarisers, mirrors, and stretched condoms.

"See Emily Play", recorded in London, was their second release, on 16 June 1967. It premièred at the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker in London in May 1967, where the band also used a device called an Azimuth co-ordinator. They performed on the BBC's Look of the Week, where an erudite and engaging Waters and Barrett faced rigorous questioning from Hans Keller. The single fared slightly better than "Arnold Layne", and after two weeks was at number 17 in the charts. The band mimed the single on the BBC's Top Of The Pops, and returned for another performance after the single climbed to number five; however, a scheduled third appearance was cancelled when Barrett refused to perform. At about this time the other band members began to notice changes in Barrett's behaviour—by early 1967 he was regularly using lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a psychedelic drug—and at an earlier show in Hollandmarker Mason observed him to be "completely distanced from everything going on, whether simply tripping or suffering from a more organic neural disturbance I still have no idea."

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The band's agent, Bryan Morrison, had been instrumental in negotiating their contract with EMI through producer Norman Smith, and the band were obliged to record their first album at EMI's Abbey Road Studiosmarker in London. Although in his 2005 autobiography Mason recalled the sessions as relatively trouble-free, Smith disagreed, and claimed that Barrett was unresponsive to his suggestions and constructive criticism. They experimented with musique concrète, and were at one point invited to watch The Beatles record "Lovely Rita".

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released in August 1967. Pink Floyd continued to perform at the UFO Club drawing huge crowds, but Barrett's deterioration caused them serious concern. The band initially hoped that his erratic behaviour was a phase that would pass, but others, including Jenner and June Child, were more realistic:

To the band's consternation, they cancelled a performance at the Windsor Jazz Festival, and informed the music press that Barrett was suffering from 'nervous exhaustion'. Jenner and Waters arranged for Barrett to see a psychiatrist—a meeting he did not attend. He was sent to Formenteramarker with Sam Hutt (a doctor well-established in the underground music scene) but later showed no signs of improvement. A few dates in September were followed by the band's first tour of the United States, and in his capacity as tour manager Andrew King travelled to New York to begin preparations. The tour suffered serious problems. Visas had not arrived, prompting the cancellation of the first six dates. Elektra Records had turned Pink Floyd down, and so the band were by default handled by EMI's sister company, Capitolmarker, which assigned them to their subsidiary, Tower Records. Tower released a truncated version of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn on the same date as the band's American première at The Fillmoremarker in California, on 26 October 1967. Communication between company and band was almost non-existent, and Pink Floyd's relationship with Tower and Capitol was therefore poor. Barrett's mental condition mirrored the problems that King encountered; when the band performed at the Winterland Ballroom, he detuned his guitar during "Interstellar Overdrive" until the strings fell off. His odd behaviour grew worse during further performances, and during a recording for The Pat Boone Show he confounded the director by miming the song perfectly during the rehearsal, and then standing motionless during the take. King quickly curtailed their visit to the US, sending them home on the next flight.

Shortly after their return from the US, beginning 14 November the band supported Jimi Hendrix on a tour of England, but on one occasion when Barrett failed to turn up they were forced to replace him with David O'List. Barrett's depression worsened the longer the tour continued. Wynne Willson left his role as lighting manager at the end of the Hendrix tour, and allied himself with Barrett, whose position as frontman was now becoming insecure. He was replaced by John Marsh. Pink Floyd released "Apples and Oranges", but for the rest of the band Barrett's condition had reached a crisis point, and they responded by adding a new member to their line-up.

Introduction of Gilmour and departure of Barrett (1968)

David Gilmour was already acquainted with Barrett, having studied modern language in the early 1960s at Cambridge Tech while Barrett studied art. Gilmour had started playing guitar aged thirteen, and the two played together at lunchtimes, with guitars and harmonicas. They later hitch-hiked and busked their way around the south of France. Gilmour had also seen the Tea Set perform in 1965, while playing in Jokers Wild. At an event near the end of 1967 the band asked him to become the fifth member of Pink Floyd. By coincidence Barrett had already suggested adding four new members, in the words of Roger Waters, "… two freaks he'd met somewhere. One of them played the banjo, the other the saxophone … [and] a couple of chick singers". Steve O'Rourke, one of Bryan Morrison's assistants, gave Gilmour a room at his house, and he was promised a salary of £30 per week. One of Gilmour's first steps as a member of Pink Floyd was to purchase a custom-made yellow Fender Stratocaster from an oft-frequented music shop in Cambridgemarker (the instrument became one of Gilmour's favourite guitars throughout his career with Pink Floyd), and in January 1968 he was announced as the fifth member of Pink Floyd. To the general public he was now the second guitarist, but as the Barrett's performances continued to ebb, privately the rest of the band saw him as a replacement. One of Gilmour's first duties was to pretend to play a guitar on an "Apples and Oranges" promotional film.

In a demonstration of his frustration at being effectively sidelined, Barrett tried to teach the band a new song, "Have You Got It Yet?", but changed the structure on each performance—making it impossible for them to learn. Matters came to a head on the day they were due to perform in Southamptonmarker. When somebody in the van asked if they should collect Barrett, the response was "No, fuck it, let's not bother".

Waters later admitted "He was our friend, but most of the time we now wanted to strangle him". For a while Barrett still turned up to the occasional gig, apparently confused as to what was happening. As a result of his de facto removal Pink Floyd's partnership with Peter Jenner and Andrew King was dissolved in March 1968. Barrett's departure was officially announced on 6 April 1968. Jenner and King, who believed that the creative spirit of Pink Floyd derived almost entirely from Barrett, decided to represent him and ended their relationship with Pink Floyd. Bryan Morrison then agreed that Steve O'Rourke should become Pink Floyd's manager. Although the changeover between Barrett and Gilmour was something of a relief, it was also a difficult time for Gilmour, who was forced to mime to Barrett's voice on the group's European television appearances. Barrett had been their main songwriter; however, Waters and Wright created new material such as "It Would Be So Nice", and "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". They developed their new material while playing on the University circuit, and were joined by road manager Peter Watts, before touring across Europe in 1968.

Classic lineup (1968–1979)

A Saucerful of Secrets

In 1968 the band returned to Abbey Road Studios with Smith, to record their second studio album. They already had several songs recorded with Barrett, including "Jugband Blues" (his final contribution to their discography). Waters wrote three songs, "Let There Be More Light", "Corporal Clegg", and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun". Wright contributed "See-Saw" and "Remember a Day". The band continued the experimentation seen on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, recording some material at their homes—a process that Smith encouraged. He was unconvinced by their music, but played drums on "Remember a Day" when Mason struggled with the song.

Neither Waters nor Mason could read music, and both created the album's title track "A Saucerful of Secrets" by inventing their own system of notation—something which Gilmour later would comment looked "… like an architectural diagram". A Saucerful of Secrets was released in June 1968 to mixed reviews; Record Mirror wrote positively, urging listeners to "forget it as background music to a party", and John Peel claimed that the album was "… like a religious experience …". However, NME viewed the title track as "… long and boring, and has little to warrant its monotonous direction". The album cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. On the same day the album was released the band performed at the first free Hyde Park concert (organised by Blackhill Enterprises), with Roy Harper and Jethro Tull. Bryan Morrison later sold his business to NEMS Enterprises, and Steve O'Rourke became Pink Floyd's personal manager. O'Rourke was considered by the band as a "great deal-maker", whose business acumen overshadowed his lack of interest in aesthetic matters. Thus the band were able to take complete control of their artistic outlook. The band returned to the US for their first major tour, accompanied by Soft Machine and The Who.


In 1968 the group worked on the score for The Committee, and just before Christmas that year released "Point Me At The Sky". It was no more successful than the two singles they had released since "See Emily Play", and it was to become the band's only single for several more years ("Apples and Oranges" was not released in the US). In 1969 the band composed the soundtrack for More, directed by Barbet Schroeder. The work proved important; not only did it pay well, but along with A Saucerful of Secrets the material they created would become part of their live shows for some time thereafter. A tour of the UK followed through the spring 1969, ending at the Royal Festival Hallmarker in July 1969. It was memorable for the band, but more so for Gilmour who was thrown across the stage by an electric shock caused by poor earthing. The performances, built around two long pieces called The Man and The Journey, were enhanced with performance art created by artist Peter Dockley, and some of the sound effects were later used on 1970's "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast".

While composing the soundtrack for Zabriskie Point (directed by Michaelangelo Antonioni) the band spent almost a month in a luxury hotel in Romemarker. Waters has since claimed that the work could have been completed in less than a week, but for Antonioni's continuous changes to the music. Eventually he used recordings by the Grateful Dead, The Youngbloods, Patti Page, and the Rolling Stones, but three of Pink Floyd's contributions remained. One of the pieces turned down by Antonioni would eventually become "Us and Them" on Pink Floyd's 1973 The Dark Side of the Moon. The band also did some work on the soundtrack for a proposed cartoon series called Rollo, but a lack of funds meant that the series was never produced, and away from Pink Floyd, Waters scored the soundtrack to the 1970 film The Body (directed by Ron Geesin).

Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother

Pink Floyd's next album was something of a departure from their previous work. Ummagumma, a double-LP released on EMI's Harvest label, contained barely any new compositions. The first two sides of the album were live acts, recorded at Manchester College of Commerce and at Mother's Club in Birmingham. For the second LP, each member was given one half of each side on which to experiment. The album was released to positive reviews in October 1969.

Ummagumma was quickly followed by 1970's Atom Heart Mother. The album apes the work produced at the time by groups such as Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The band's previous LPs had been recorded using a four-track system, but Atom Heart Mother was their first to use eight tracks of audio. An early version was premièred in France in January 1970, but disagreements over its direction prompted the arrival of Ron Geesin, who worked for about a month to improve the score. Production was troublesome, with little creative input from the band, but with the aid of John Aldiss the album was eventually completed. Gilmour has since dismissed Atom Heart Mother as "a load of rubbish", and Waters is similarly dismissive, claiming that he wouldn't mind if it were "thrown into the dustbin and never listened to by anyone ever again." Norman Smith was given only an executive producer credit, his final contribution to the band's discography. Atom Heart Mother was massively successful in the UK, and was premièred at the Bath Festival on 27 June 1970.

In 1971 they took second place in a poll of readers by Melody Maker (behind Emerson, Lake and Palmer), and for the first time in their history were making a profit. However, the theft in New Orleansmarker of equipment worth about $40,000 almost crippled the band's finances. The local police were unhelpful, but within hours of notifying the FBImarker the equipment was returned. Mason and Wright were now fathers and bought homes in London. Gilmour, not married, moved to a 19th-century farm in Essex. Waters installed a home recording studio at his house in Islingtonmarker, in a converted tool-shed at the bottom of his garden.


Meddle is sometimes considered to be a transitional album between the Barrett-influenced band and the modern Pink Floyd. The group's other releases during this period, More and Zabriski Point, were soundtracks, and Atom Heart Mother was influenced as much by Ron Geesin and the session artists as it was by the band. Returning from touring Atom Heart Mother, at the start of 1971 the band began work on new material. While they lacked a central theme, in a divergent attempt to spur the creative process they tried several largely unproductive experiments. Engineer John Leckie described Pink Floyd's sessions as often beginning in the afternoon, and ending early the next morning, "during which time nothing would get done. There was no record company contact whatsoever, except when their label manager would show up now and again with a couple of bottles of wine and a couple of joints." The band would apparently spend long periods of time working on simple sounds, or a particular guitar riff. They also spent several days at Air Studios, attempting to create music using a variety of household objects, a project which would be revisited between The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.

The production of Meddle was spread over a considerable period of time; the band recorded in the first half of April, but in the latter half played at Doncaster and Norwich before returning to record at the end of the month. In May they split their time between sessions at Abbey Road, and rehearsals and concerts in London, Lancaster, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Nottingham. June and July were spent mainly performing at venues across Europe. August was spent in the far east and Australia, September in Europe, and October to November in the US. In the same period the band also produced the compilation album Relics. The band again worked with Barbet Schroeder on the film La Vallée, for which a soundtrack album was released, called Obscured by Clouds. The material was composed in about a week, at the Château d'Hérouvillemarker near Paris, and upon its release was their first to break into the top 50 on the US Billboard chart.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Following the release of Meddle, Waters proposed that their next album should deal with things that "make people mad", and that it could also form part of an upcoming international tour. Their new material was given the provisional title of The Dark Side of the Moon (an allusion to lunacy, rather than astronomy), but on discovering that that title had already been used by the blues rock group Medicine Head, it was temporarily changed to Eclipse. Medicine Head's album was a commercial failure, and so the title changed back to the band's original preference. The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studiosmarker, between May 1972 and January 1973, with staff engineer Alan Parsons. They spent much of 1972 touring the new material, and returned in January 1973 to complete recording. The band also filmed studio footage for Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, and once the recording sessions were complete, began a tour of Europe.

Late in the album's production, producer Chris Thomas was hired to provide "a fresh pair of ears". Thomas was responsible for significant changes to the album, including the perfect timing of the echo used on "Us and Them". He was also present for the recording of "The Great Gig in the Sky". Packaging was designed by Hipgnosis, and bore George Hardie's iconic refracting prism on the cover. Since Barrett's departure the burden of lyrical composition had fallen mostly on Waters' shoulders. He is therefore credited as the author of the album's lyrics. Generally, the press were enthusiastic; Melody Maker's Roy Hollingworth described side one as: "… so utterly confused with itself it was difficult to follow", but went on to praise side two, writing "The songs, the sounds, the rhythms were solid and sound, Saxophone hit the air, the band rocked and rolled, and then gushed and tripped away into the night." In his 1973 album review for Rolling Stone magazine, Lloyd Grossman wrote: "a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement".

The Dark Side of the Moon was released in March 1973, and became an instant chart success in Britain and throughout Western Europe. Throughout March 1973 it featured as part of their US tour, including a midnight performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on 17 March. The success of the album brought previously unknown wealth to all four members of the band; Richard Wright and Roger Waters bought large country houses, and Nick Mason became a collector of upmarket cars. Much of the album's early stateside success has been attributed to the efforts of Pink Floyd's US record company, Capitol Recordsmarker. Newly appointed chairman Bhaskar Menon reversed the relatively poor performance of the band's previous US releases, but, disenchanted with Capitol, the band and manager O'Rourke negotiated a new contract with Columbia Records. The Dark Side of the Moon was the last album that Pink Floyd were obliged to release before formally signing a new contract. Menon's efforts to secure a contract renewal with Pink Floyd were in vain, and the band signed for Columbia with a reported advance fee of $1M ($ today), while in Britain and Europe they continued to be represented by Harvest Records.

Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd returned to the studio in the first week of 1975. Alan Parsons had declined the band's offer to continue working with them (instead becoming successful in his own right with The Alan Parsons Project), and so the band turned to Brian Humphries, with whom they had already worked on More. The group initially found it difficult to devise any new material, especially as the success of Dark Side of the Moon had left all four physically and emotionally drained. Richard Wright later described these early sessions as "falling within a difficult period", and Waters found them "torturous". Gilmour was more interested in improving the band's existing material, and Mason's marriage was failing, bringing on in him a general malaise and sense of apathy, which interfered with his drumming.

After several weeks, however, Waters began to visualise another concept. During 1974, they had sketched out three new compositions, "Raving and Drooling", "Gotta Be Crazy", and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and had performed them at a series of concerts in France and England. These new compositions became the starting point for a new album, with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" forming a centrepiece for the new work. The opening four note guitar phrase, composed entirely by accident by Gilmour, reminded Waters of the lingering ghost of former band-member Syd Barrett. "Welcome to the Machine" and "Have a Cigar" were barely-veiled attacks on the music business, their lyrics working neatly with "Shine On" to provide an apt summary of the rise and fall of the former bandmate; "Because I wanted to get as close as possible to what I felt ... that sort of indefinable, inevitable melancholy about the disappearance of Syd." "Raving and Drooling" and "Gotta Be Crazy" had no place in the new concept, and were set aside.

On 5 June 1975 Gilmour married his first wife, Ginger, and it was also the eve of Pink Floyd's second tour of the US that year. The band were in the process of mixing one of the album's tracks when an overweight man entered the room. Initially, nobody recognised him, but it soon became apparent that the stranger was Barrett. Mason thought that Barrett was "desultory and not entirely sensible". Storm Thorgerson later said: "Two or three people cried. He sat round and talked for a bit but he wasn't really there." Waters was reportedly deeply upset by the experience. Barrett also mentioned that he was ready to avail the band of his services, but on listening to the mix of "Shine On", showed no sign of understanding its relevance to his plight. He joined the guests at Gilmour's wedding reception in the EMI canteen, but later left without saying goodbye. None of the band members ever saw him again.

Storm Thorgerson concealed the album artwork with a dark-coloured shrink-wrap. Inside, the cover image was inspired by the idea that people tend to conceal their true feelings, for fear of "getting burned", and thus two businessmen were pictured shaking hands, one man on fire. Much of Wish You Were Here was premièred on 5 July 1975 at an open-air music festival at Knebworthmarker, before being released in September that year. It reached number one in Britain and the US, along with positive reviews; Robert Christgau wrote: "... the music is not only simple and attractive, with the synthesiser used mostly for texture and the guitar breaks for comment, but it actually achieves some of the symphonic dignity (and cross-referencing) that The Dark Side of the Moon simulated so ponderously."


Following the Knebworth concert, the band bought a three-storey block of church halls at 35 Britannia Rowmarker in Islington. Their deal with EMI for unlimited studio time in return for a reduced percentage of sales had expired, and they set about converting the building into a recording studio, and storage facility. The studio would be on the ground floor, with the storage facility above, necessitating the installation of a hoist to move the band's equipment in and out of the building. The top floor became an office, equipped with a pool table. The band also envisaged hiring their equipment out, but the hire business was unsuccessful and would later be taken over by Brian Grant and Robbie Williams. The studio, however, was more successful. Its construction took up most of 1975, and in 1976 the band recorded their eighth studio album, Animals at the new facility.

Animals was born from another Waters concept, where the human race was reduced to dogs, pigs, and sheep. The idea was borrowed from George Orwell's Animal Farm, but in Waters' version the sheep eventually rise up to overpower their oppressors. Brian Humphries was again called upon to engineer the album. Two tracks previously considered for Wish You Were Here—"Raving and Drooling" and "Gotta Be Crazy"—reappeared as "Sheep" and "Dogs" respectively. The album was completed in December 1976, and work began on its cover. Hipgnosis took responsibility and offered three ideas, but unusually the final concept was designed by Waters. At the time he lived near Clapham Commonmarker, and regularly passed Battersea Power Stationmarker, by then approaching the end of its useful life. The building was chosen as the subject of the cover image, and the band commissioned a porcine balloon (known as Algie). Photography began on 2 December, with a trained marksman ready to fire if it escaped. Unfortunately inclement weather delayed shooting, and O'Rourke had neglected to book the marksman for a second day. The balloon broke free of its moorings and ascended into the sky, eventually landing in Kentmarker where it was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had "apparently scared his cows." Shooting continued for a third day, but the image of the pig was later superimposed onto the cover photograph as the early photographs of the power station were considered to be better.

The division of royalties became a sore topic, during production of the album. Royalties were accorded on a per-song basis, and although Gilmour was largely responsible for "Dogs"—which took up almost the entire first side of the album—he received far less than Waters, who also contributed the two-part "Pigs on the Wing". The song contains references to Waters' private life—his new romantic interest was Carolyne Anne Christie. Gilmour was also distracted by the birth of his first child, and contributed little else toward the album. Similarly, neither Mason nor Wright contributed much toward Animals (the first Pink Floyd album not to contain a writing credit for Wright); Wright had marital problems, but his relationship with Waters was also suffering:

Animals was released on 23 January 1977, and entered the UK charts at number two, and number three in the US. NME called the album "… one of the most extreme, relentless, harrowing and downright iconoclastic hunks of music to have been made available this side of the sun …", and Melody Maker's Karl Dallas wrote "… [an] uncomfortable taste of reality in a medium that has become in recent years, increasingly soporific …" The album became the subject material for the band's In the Flesh tour, during which early signs of discord became apparent. Waters began arriving at each venue alone, and departing immediately after the performance was complete, and Gilmour's wife Ginger did not get along with Waters' new girlfriend. On one occasion, Wright flew back to England threatening to leave the band. The size of the venues was also an issue, and the end of the tour was a low point for Gilmour, who felt that the band had by now achieved the success they sought, and that there was nothing else to look forward to.

The Wall

The In the Flesh tour was Pink Floyd's first playing in large stadiums, and at one venue a small group of noisy and excited fans in the front row of the audience irritated Waters so much that he spat at one of them. Waters was not the only person who felt depressed about playing in such large venues, as that same night Gilmour refused to perform the band's usual twelve-bar blues encore. About this time, Gilmour and Wright released their début solo albums, David Gilmour, and Wet Dream. Both albums sold poorly, a situation only exacerbated by the loss of much of the band's accumulated wealth. In 1976 the band had become involved with financial advisers Norton Warburg Group (NWG). NWG became the band's collecting agents and handled all financial planning, for an annual fee of about £300,000. Between £1.6M and £3.3M of the band's money was invested in high-risk venture capital schemes, primarily to reduce the band's exposure to high UK taxes. It soon became obvious that the band were still losing money. Not only did NWG invest in failing businesses, they also left the band liable for tax bills as high as 83% of their income. They eventually terminated their relationship with NWG, demanding the return of any cash not yet invested, which at that time amounted to £860,000 (they received £740,000).

In the midst of this, in July 1977 Waters presented the band with two new ideas. The first was a ninety-minute demo given the provisional title Bricks in the Wall, and the other what would later become his first solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. Although both Mason and Gilmour were initially cautious, the former (inspired by the recent spitting incident) was chosen to be their next album. Bob Ezrin was brought in as co-producer, and he wrote a forty-page script for the new album. The story was based on the central character of Pink—a character inspired by Waters' childhood experiences—the most notable of which was the death of his father in World War II. This first 'brick in the wall' led to more problems, each serving to isolate Pink further. Pink would later become so drug-addled and worn down by the music industry that he would transform into a megalomaniac, a development inspired partly by the decline of Syd Barrett. At the end of the album, the increasingly fascist audience would watch as Pink 'tore down the wall', once again becoming a normal caring person.

At Britannia Row, Brian Humphries was emotionally drained by his five years with the band, and was replaced by James Guthrie. Early sessions were difficult, as Ezrin, Guthrie and Waters each had strong ideas about the direction the album would take; however, Ezrin's role expanded to that of an intermediary between Waters and the rest of the band. Work continued up to March 1979, at which point the band's critical financial situation demanded that they leave the UK for a year or more, to continue recording at the Super Bear Studios near Nicemarker. Waters planned the recording sessions on a tight schedule. His relationship with Ezrin had soured, but his relationship with Wright had broken down completely. The band were rarely in the studio together, and Wright, worried about the effect that the introduction of Ezrin would have on the band's internal relationships, was keen to have a producer's credit on the album (their albums up to that point had always stated "Produced by Pink Floyd"). Waters had agreed to a trial period, after which Wright was to be given a producer's credit, but after a few weeks Waters and Ezrin expressed dissatisfaction with his methods. The keyboardist eventually stopped coming into the studio during the day, and worked only at nights. Gilmour also expressed his annoyance, complaining that Wright's lack of input was "driving us all mad". Wright had his own problems, with a failing marriage, and depression. Columbia offered the band a better deal in exchange for a Christmas release of the album, and Waters increased their workload accordingly; however, Wright refused to cut short his family holiday in Rhodesmarker.

What exactly happened next remains unclear. In Inside Out (2005) Mason says that Waters called O'Rourke, who was travelling to the US on the QE2, and told him to have Wright out of the band by the time Waters arrived in LA to mix the album. In Comfortably Numb (2008), however, the author states that Waters called O'Rourke and asked him to tell Wright about the new recording arrangements and that Wright's response was apparently "Tell Roger to fuck off …". Wright disagreed with this recollection, stating that the band had agreed to record only through the spring and early summer and that he had no idea they were so far behind schedule. Waters was stunned and felt that Wright was not doing enough to help complete the album. Gilmour was on holiday in Dublin when he learned what was happening, and tried to calm the situation. He later spoke with Wright and gave him his support, but he reminded him about his lack of input on the album. Waters was insisting that Wright leave, else he would refuse to release The Wall. Several days later, worried about their financial situation and the failing interpersonal relationships within the band, Wright quit.

Rumours persisted that Wright had a cocaine addiction (something he always disputed), and although his name did not appear anywhere on the finished album, he was employed as a paid musician on the band's subsequent The Wall tour. Production of the album continued and by August 1979 the running order was largely complete. Wright completed his duties, aided by session musicians. Toward the end of The Wall sessions, Mason left the final mix to Waters, Gilmour, Ezrin and Guthrie, and travelled to New York to record his début solo album, Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports.

The album was promoted by a rare Pink Floyd single—"Another Brick in the Wall ", peaked at number one in the US and the UK. The Wall was released on 30 November 1979, and topped the Billboard charts for fifteen weeks. It remains one of the band's best-selling albums. The cover is one of their most minimal designs, with a simple white brick wall, and no logo or band name. It was also their first album cover since The Piper at the Gates of Dawn not designed by Hipgnosis. Gerald Scarfe was employed to produce a series of animations for the subsequent The Wall Tour, including a series of nightmarish visions of the future such as a dove of peace exploding to reveal an eagle. Large inflatable puppets were also created for the live shows.

Meanwhile relationships within the band were now at an all-time low. On tour, their four Winnebago were parked in a circle, with the doors facing away from the centre. Waters remained isolated, using his own vehicle to arrive at the venue, and staying in separate hotels from the rest of the band. Wright, who had returned as a paid musician, and was the only 'member' of the band to profit from the venture, which lost about $600,000. They were asked to play at Philadelphiamarker's John F. Kennedy Stadiummarker, but Waters refused. The band returned to the UK following their year as tax exiles.

The album also spawned a film. The original plan was for the film to be a mixture of live concert footage and animated scenes. However, the concert footage proved impractical to film. Alan Parker agreed to direct, and took a different approach. The animated sequences would remain, but scenes would be acted by professional actors, with no dialogue. Waters was screen tested but quickly discarded, and Bob Geldof was asked to take the role of Pink. Geldof was initially disdainful, condemning The Wall's storyline as "bollocks". He was eventually won over by the prospect of being involved in a major film and receiving a large payment for his work. Waters took a six-week holiday during filming and returned to find that Parker had used his creative licence to change parts of the film to his liking. Waters was irate, the two fought, and Parker threatened to walk out. Gilmour pleaded with Waters to reconsider his stance, reminding the bassist that he and the other band members were shareholders and directors and could out-vote him on such decisions. A modified soundtrack was also created for some of the film's songs. The Wall was released in July 1982.

Waters-led era (1982–85)

The Final Cut

Spare Bricks was to have been the soundtrack album for The Wall film, but with the onset of the Falklands Conflict Waters changed direction, and began writing new material. A socialist at heart, Waters saw Margaret Thatcher's response to the invasion of the islands as jingoistic and unnecessary, and he dedicated the new album—then provisionally titled Requiem for a Post-War Dream—to his dead father. Immediately, there were arguments between Waters and Gilmour, who felt that the album should contain new material, rather than songs not considered good enough for The Wall. Waters felt that, lately, Gilmour had contributed little to the band's lyrical repertoire.

Michael Kamen (a contributor to the orchestral sections of The Wall) mediated between the two, and also performed the role traditionally occupied by the now absent Richard Wright. James Guthrie was the studio engineer, and surprisingly, Mason was aided by two session drummers. Recording took place in an unprecedented eight studios, including Gilmour's home studio at Hookend Manor and Waters' home studio at East Sheenmarker. Still, the tension within the band grew worse. Waters and Gilmour worked separately (itself not unusual) but Gilmour began to feel the strain, sometimes barely maintaining his composure. Waters lost his temper, ranting at Kamen, who in boredom during one recording session, had started writing "I Must Not Fuck Sheep" repeatedly on a notepad in the studio's control room. After a final confrontation, Gilmour's name as producer was removed from the credit list, reflecting what Waters felt was his lack of song writing contributions. Mason's contributions were minimal, as he busied himself recording sound effects for an experimental new Holophonic system to be used on the album. With marital problems of his own, he remained a distant figure.

Hipgnosis had by this time disbanded, but again Thorgerson was passed over for the cover design, Waters choosing to design it himself. His brother-in-law, Willie Christie, was commissioned to take pictures for the album. The Final Cut was released in March 1983, going straight to #1 in the UK, and #6 in the US. "Not Now John" was released as a single, with its chorus of "Fuck all that" bowdlerised to "Stuff all that". Despite its success, the album again received mixed reviews. Melody Maker declared it to be "… a milestone in the history of awfulness …", but Rolling Stone's Kurt Loder viewed it as "… essentially a Roger Waters solo album … a superlative achievement on several levels …"

"Spent force"

Gilmour recorded his second solo album About Face in 1984, and used it to express his feelings about a range of topics, from the murder of musician John Lennon, to his relationship with Waters. He has since admitted that he also used the album to distance himself from Pink Floyd. Soon after, Waters began touring his new solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. Richard Wright meanwhile formed Zee with Dave Harris, and recorded Identity, which went almost unnoticed upon its release. Wright was also in the midst of a difficult divorce, and has since admitted that it was "… made at a time in my life when I was lost." Mason released his second solo album Profiles in August 1985, which featured a contribution from Gilmour on "Lie for a Lie".

Waters now believed that Pink Floyd was a spent force, and contacted O'Rourke with a view to settling future royalty payments. O'Rourke felt obliged to inform Mason and Gilmour, and as a result Waters tried to dismiss him. Waters then went to the High Courtmarker to prevent the Pink Floyd name from ever being used again. His lawyers discovered that the partnership had never been formally confirmed, and Waters returned to the High Court in an attempt to gain a veto over further use of the band's name. Gilmour's team responded by issuing a carefully-worded press release affirming that Pink Floyd would continue to exist. However, Gilmour later told a Sunday Times reporter that "Roger is a dog in the manger and I'm going to fight him …".

Waters wrote to EMI and Columbia and declared his intention to leave the group, and asked them to release him from his contractual obligations. Gilmour believed that Waters left to hasten the demise of Pink Floyd, however, Waters later stated that by not making new albums, Pink Floyd would be in breach of contract—which would mean that royalty payments would be suspended—and that he was effectively forced from the band as the other members threatened to sue him. With the case still pending, Waters dispensed with O'Rourke's services and employed Peter Rudge to manage his affairs. He went on to record for the soundtrack for When the Wind Blows, as well as a second solo album, Radio K.A.O.S..

Gilmour-led era (1985–1994)

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Radio K.A.O.S. was released in June 1987, just as Gilmour was recruiting musicians for what would become Pink Floyd's first album without Waters at the helm—A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Artists such as Jon Carin and Phil Manzanera worked on the album, but they were also joined by Bob Ezrin. Gilmour was also contacted by Wright's new wife. She had heard that he was working on new material and asked if Wright could contribute. Gilmour considered the request; there were several legal obstacles to Wright's re-admittance to the band, but after a meeting in Hampstead he was brought back in. Gilmour later admitted in an interview with Karl Dallas that Wright's presence "… would make us stronger legally and musically".

The album was recorded along the River Thames, on Gilmour's houseboat Astoriamarker. Andy Jackson (a colleague of Guthrie) was brought in as engineer. Gilmour experimented with various songwriters such as Eric Stewart and Roger McGough, but eventually settled on Anthony Moore as a lyricist. Gilmour would later admit that Waters' absence was a problem, and that the new project was difficult without his presence. Nick Mason was concerned that he was too out of practice to perform on the album, and was replaced on occasion by session musicians. He instead busied himself with the album's sound effects. In a marked change from previous Floyd albums, A Momentary Lapse was recorded onto a 32-channel Mitsubishi digital recorder, and used MIDI synchronisation with the aid of an Apple Macintosh computer.

Waters on one occasion visited Astoria to see Ezrin, along with Christie, by then his wife. As he was still a shareholder and director of Pink Floyd music, he was able to block any decisions made by his former bandmates. Recording moved to Mayfair and Audio International Studios, and then to Los Angeles—"It was fantastic because … the lawyers couldn't call in the middle of recording unless they were calling in the middle of the night." Waters tried to block a proposed Pink Floyd tour, by contacting every promoter in the US, threatening to sue if they used the Pink Floyd name. Gilmour and Mason funded the startup costs (Mason, separated from his wife, used his Ferrari 250 GTO as collateral). Some promoters were offended by Waters' threat, and several months later, tickets went on sale in Torontomarker (and were sold out within hours).

Storm Thorgerson, whose creative input was absent from The Wall and The Final Cut, was employed to design the cover. The album was released in September 1987, and in order to drive home the message that Waters had left the band, a group photograph was, for the first time since Meddle, included on the inside of the cover. The album went straight to number three in the UK and US—held from the top spot by Michael Jackson's Bad, and Whitesnake's 1987. Although Gilmour initially viewed the album as a return to the band's best form, Wright would later disagree, admitting "Roger's criticisms are fair. It's not a band album at all." Q Magazine's view was that the album was primarily a Gilmour solo effort.

Early rehearsals for the upcoming tour were chaotic, with Mason and Wright completely out of practice, and realising he'd taken on too much work Gilmour asked Bob Ezrin to take charge. As the new band toured throughout North America, Waters' Radio K.A.O.S. tour was, on occasion, close by. The bassist had forbidden any members of Pink Floyd from attending his concerts, which were generally in smaller venues than those housing his former band's performances. Waters issued a writ for copyright fees for the band's use of the flying pig, and Pink Floyd responded by attaching a huge set of male genitalia to its underside to distinguish it from his design. However, by November 1987 Waters appeared to admit defeat, and on 23 December a legal settlement was finally reached. Mason and Gilmour were allowed use of the Pink Floyd name in perpetuity, and Waters would be granted, amongst other things, The Wall. The bickering continued, however, with Waters issuing the occasional slight against his former friends, and Gilmour and Mason responding by making light of Waters claims that they would fail without him. The Sun printed a story about Waters, who it claimed had paid an artist to create 150 toilet rolls with Gilmour's face on every sheet. Waters later rubbished this story, but it serves to illustrate how deeply divided the two parties had now become.

The Division Bell

For several years thereafter the three members of Pink Floyd busied themselves with personal pursuits, such as filming and competing in the Carrera Panamericana (where Gilmour and O'Rourke crashed), and later recording a soundtrack for the film. Gilmour divorced Ginger, and Mason married actress Annette Lynton. In January 1993 the band began working on a new album. They returned to a now remodelled Britannia Row Studios, where for several days Gilmour, Mason and Wright worked collaboratively, ad-libbing new material. After about two weeks the band had enough ideas to start creating new songs. Bob Ezrin returned to work on the album, and production moved to Astoria where from February to May 1993 the band worked on about twenty-five ideas. Contractually, Wright was still not a full member of the band: "It came very close to a point where I wasn't going to do the album", a situation which clearly upset the keyboardist. However, he was given his first songwriting credit on a Pink Floyd album since 1975's Wish You Were Here. Another songwriter credited on the album was Gilmour's new girlfriend, Polly Samson. She helped write "High Hopes" with Gilmour—along with several other tracks—a situation which although initially was tense, according to Ezrin "pulled the whole album together". She also helped Gilmour, who, following his divorce, had developed a cocaine habit. Michael Kamen was brought in work on the album's various string arrangements, and Dick Parry and Chris Thomas also returned.

Keen to avoid competing against other album releases (as had happened with A Momentary Lapse) the band set a deadline of April 1994, at which point they would begin touring again. The album title was chosen by writer Douglas Adams, and Storm Thorgerson once again provided the cover artwork. Thorgerson also provided six new pieces of film for the upcoming tour. The band spent three weeks rehearsing at a US airforce base in North Carolinamarker, before opening on 29 March 1994 in Miamimarker with an almost identical crew to that used for their Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. They played a mixture of Pink Floyd favourites, but later changed their setlist to include The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. The band also renewed their acquaintance with Peter Wynne Willson.

Waters was invited to join the band as the tour reached Europe, but declined, later expressing his annoyance that some Floyd songs were being performed again in large venues. On the first night of the European leg, a 1,200 capacity stand collapsed, but there were no serious injuries and the performance was rescheduled. The tour ended at Earls Courtmarker on 20 October 1994, and was the group's final concert performance until Live 8, apart from performing "Fat Old Sun" and "The Great Gig in the Sky" in Chichester Cathedralmarker at the funeral of their manager Steve O'Rourke who died on 30 October 2003.. A live album of the tour Pulse, and a concert video Pulse, were released in 1995.

Classic lineup at Live 8

On Saturday 2 July 2005 at the Live 8 concert, at about eleven o'clock in the evening, the classic lineup of Pink Floyd performed together on stage—for the first time in almost 25 years. The reunion had been arranged by Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof who had called Mason earlier in the year to discuss the band reuniting for Live 8. Geldof had already asked Gilmour, who had turned down the offer, and asked Mason to intercede on his behalf. Mason declined, but contacted Waters, who was immediately enthusiastic. Waters then called Geldof to discuss the event, which was at that time only a month away. About two weeks later, Waters called Gilmour—their first conversation for about two years—and the next day the latter agreed. Wright was contacted, and immediately agreed. Statements were issued to the press which stressed the lack of import of the band's problems, compared to the context of the Live 8 event. The setlist was planned at the Connaught Hotelmarker in London, followed by three days of rehearsals at Black Island Studios. The sessions were troublesome, with minor disagreements over the style and pace of the songs they were practising. Waters wanted to use the occasion to expand the concepts he had designed, whereas Gilmour wanted to perform the songs in exactly the way the audience would expect. The final setlist and running order was decided on the eve of the concert.

The band performed a four-song set beginning with "Speak to Me/Breathe/Breathe (Reprise)", "Money", "Wish You Were Here", and ending with "Comfortably Numb". Gilmour and Waters shared lead vocals. Onstage, at the start of "Wish You Were Here" Waters told the audience that the event was "quite emotional, standing up here with these three guys after all these years". At the end of their performance Gilmour thanked the audience, and started to walk off the stage, but Waters called him back and the band shared a group hug that became one of the more notable images from Live 8.

In the week following their performance there was a revival of interest in Pink Floyd. According to HMV, in the week following sales of Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd rose by 1343%, while reported a significant increase in sales of The Wall. Gilmour subsequently declared that he would donate his share of profits from this sales boom to charity, and urged other artists and record companies profiting from Live 8 to do the same.

Recent events

After the show Gilmour confirmed that he and Waters were on "pretty amicable terms". A £136 million (then about $250 million) deal for a final tour was offered, but turned down. Waters did not rule out further performances, but only for a special occasion. In a 2006 interview with La Republica, Gilmour stated that he wished to focus on solo projects, and his family, and that his appearance at Live 8 was to help reconcile his differences with Waters. However, in a 2006 interview Mason stated that Pink Floyd would be willing to perform for a concert that would support peace between Israelmarker and Palestine. Speaking in 2006, speaking of Pink Floyd's future, Gilmour stated "who knows".

Gilmour in performance, Frankfurt 2006
David Gilmour released his third solo record, On an Island, on 6 March 2006. He began a tour of small concert venues in Europe, Canada and the US, with contributions from Wright and other musicians from the post-Waters Pink Floyd tours. Mason joined Gilmour and Wright for the final night of the tour, but was otherwise engaged in playing for Waters 2006 Europe/U.S. tour. Gilmour, Wright, and Mason's encore performances of "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb" marked the first performance by Pink Floyd since Live 8.

Syd Barrett died on 7 July 2006, aged 60, at his home in Cambridgeshire. He was interred at Cambridge Crematorium on 18 July 2006. No Pink Floyd members attended. Although Barrett had faded into obscurity over the previous 35 years, he was lauded in the national press for his contributions to music. He left over £1.25M in his will, to be divided between his immediate family, and some of his possessions and artwork were auctioned.

In September 2006 Waters released his long-awaited Ça Ira, an opera in three acts to a French libretto, based on the historical subject of the French Revolution. Reviews were complimentary, Rolling Stone wrote "the opera does reflect some of the man's long-term obsessions with war and peace, love and loss". 2007 saw the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd's signing to EMI, and the 40th anniversary of the release of their début album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. This was marked by the release of Oh, by the Way, a limited edition box set containing mono and stereo mixes of their albums, plus tracks from the singles and other rare recordings.

On 10 May 2007 Waters and Pink Floyd performed separately at the Syd Barrett tribute concert at the Barbican Centremarker in London. The event, organised by Joe Boyd and Nick Laird-Clowes, saw the band perform some of Barrett's hits, such as "Bike", and "Arnold Layne". In a January 2007 interview Waters suggested he had become more open to a Pink Floyd reunion: “I would have no problem if the rest of them wanted to get together. It wouldn’t even have to be to save the world. It could be just because it would be fun. And people would love it.” Later that year Gilmour stated: "I can’t see why I would want to be going back to that old thing. It’s very retrogressive. I want to look forward, and looking back isn’t my joy." In a May 2008 interview for BBC 6Music, David Gilmour hinted that he would be in favour of another one-off show, but ruled out a full tour. Speaking to Associated Press to promote the release of his new live album, David Gilmour stated that a reunion would not happen. Gilmour said: "The rehearsals were less enjoyable. The rehearsals convinced me it wasn't something I wanted to be doing a lot of … There have been all sorts of farewell moments in people's lives and careers which they have then rescinded, but I think I can fairly categorically say that there won't be a tour or an album again that I take part in. It isn't to do with animosity or anything like that. It's just that I've done that. I've been there, I've done it."

Just over two years after the death of Barrett, on 15 September 2008 Richard Wright died of cancer, aged 65. He was lauded by his surviving bandmates, Gilmour in particular, for his influence on the overall sound of Pink Floyd.

In April 2009 it was revealed that the band had initiated legal action against EMI for an alleged failure to pay royalties. The dispute is reportedly connected to an ongoing disagreement with Terra Firma Capital Partners, the private equity firm who took ownership of EMI in 2007.


Pink Floyd have been nominated for and won several awards, including a Grammy in 1995 for "Rock Instrumental Performance" on "Marooned"; inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker (17 January 1996) and UK Music Hall of Fame (16 November 2005), and the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to contemporary music in 2008 when Waters and Mason received the prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Swedenmarker. Technical awards include a "Best Engineered Non-Classical Album" Grammy in 1980 for The Wall; and a BAFTA for sound in 1982 for the film.

The group has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, including 74.5 million certified units in the United States. The Sunday Times Rich List 2009 ranks Waters at No. 657 with an estimated wealth of £85m, Gilmour at No. 742 with £78m, and Mason at No. 1077 with £50m.

A number of notable musicians and bands from diverse genres have been influenced by Pink Floyd's music. These include Queen, David Bowie, Blur, Tangerine Dream, Nine Inch Nails, Dream Theater, My Chemical Romance, Nazz, Muse, Oasis, The Mars Volta, Phish, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, and the Smashing Pumpkins. Italian composer and conductor Martino Traversa listened to the group as a teenager. The Pet Shop Boys paid homage to The Wall during a performance in Bostonmarker.

Live performances

Pink Floyd are regarded as pioneers in the live music experience, and were renowned for their lavish stage shows, in which the performers themselves were almost secondary. Pink Floyd also set high standards in sound quality, and made use of innovative sound effects and quadraphonic speaker systems. From their earliest days they were well known for their use of visual effects, which accompanied the psychedelic rock pieces performed at venues such as the UFO Club in London.

The quality of their live performances, even when pre-recorded, was considered by the band to be extremely important; they boycotted the press release of The Dark Side of the Moon as they felt presenting the album through a poor-quality PA system was not good enough. The album had been composed and refined mostly while the band toured the UK, Japan, North America, and Europe. Animals was the centrepiece for their In the Flesh tour, which began in Dortmundmarker, and continued through Europe to the UK, and then the US. A inflatable floating pig named Algie became the inspiration for a number of pig themes used throughout the tour.

Although Pink Floyd were experienced live performers, the behaviour of the audience on their In the Flesh tour, and the sizes of the venues they played, were a powerful influence on their rock opera album, The Wall. The subsequent The Wall Tour featured a high wall, built from cardboard bricks, constructed between the band and the audience. Animations were projected onto the wall, and gaps allowed the audience to view various scenes in the story. Several characters from the story were realised as giant inflatables. One of the more notable elements of the tour was the performance of "Comfortably Numb". While Waters sang his opening verse, Gilmour waited in darkness, for his cue, on top of the wall. When it came, bright blue and white lights would suddenly illuminate him, astonishing the audience. Gilmour stood on a flight case on castors, a dangerous set-up supported from behind by a technician, both supported by a tall hydraulic platform.

Two years after the departure of Waters the band embarked on their A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. Starting in Ottawamarker on 9 September they spent about two years touring the US, Japan, Europe, and Central Asia. In Venicemarker, the band played to an audience of 200,000 fans at the Piazza San Marcomarker. The resulting storm of protest over the city's lack of toilet provision, first aid, and accommodation, resulted in the resignation of Mayor Antonio Casellati and his government. At the end of the tour Pink Floyd released Delicate Sound of Thunder, and in 1989 a concert video—Delicate Sound of Thunder concert video in 1989.

During the band's Division Bell tour, an anonymous person named Publius posted a message on an internet newsgroup, inviting fans to solve a riddle supposedly concealed in the new album. The veracity of the user was demonstrated when white lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherfordmarker spelled out the words Enigma Publius. During a televised concert at Earls Court in October 1994, the word enigma was projected in large letters on to the backdrop of the stage. Mason later acknowledged that the Publius Enigma did exist, and that it had been instigated by the record company rather than the band. As of 2009 the puzzle remains unsolved.



  1. Glenn Povey,
  2. Guitar World, April 2006
  3. DeRogatis, Jim. Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81271-1, p. 46, 80


  1. Glenn Povey,
  2. Guitar World, April 2006
  3. DeRogatis, Jim. Milk It!: Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the 90's. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81271-1, p. 46, 80


Further reading

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