Artist and Musician Biographies


Here is Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb."

One of the most influential and popular rock bands of all time, the origins of Pink Floyd developed in Britain at Cambridge High School where Syd Barrett (1946), Roger Waters (1944), and David Gilmour (1944) became friends. While Syd Barrett and David Gilmour were traveling in Europe, Roger Waters formed a psychedelic R&B based band called Sigma 6 while studying architecture at Cambridge Regent School Street Polytechnic. The band that Waters, a bass player, formed included his classmates, Brian Close on guitar, Rick Wright (1945) on keyboards, and Nick Mason (1945) on drums. They went through many name changes such as, The Screaming Abdabs, T-Set, The Meggadeaths, and The Architectural Abdabs.

Roger then invited his high school buddy, Syd Barrett, a guitar player and vocalist to join the band. Barrett's style of blues, pop, and mysticism clashed with Brian Close's ideas, which ultimately caused the Abdabs to dissolve at the end of 1965.

Shortly thereafter, Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, and Roger Waters reconvened and changed their name to Barrett's suggestion, The Pink Floyd Sound, inspired by two old time Georgia blues artists, Pink Anderson, and Floyd Council.

Pink Floyd became popular in London's underground music scene and played regularly at the UFO Club. They played music that was loud, highly experimental, psychedelic, and accompanied with a spectacular light show. They were then signed onto the EMI Records label and released two singles, which reached the UK Billboards; "Arnold Layne"(#2, March 1967) and "See Emily Play" (#6, June 1967).

This success prompted the band to release their first full length, childlike fantasy, psychedelic album, "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" under the name "The Pink Floyd". Barrett was heavily involved with LSD, and having trouble dealing with all the pressure of being a star. Barrett was often nearly comatose on stage and not able to perform. So they hired David Gilmour to play rhythmic guitar in February 1968, keeping Barrett behind the scenes to continue his writing.

However, Barrett left the group the following April. The next album, "Saucerful of Secrets" was released under the name Pink Floyd in the summer of 1968. This album expanded the band's experimentation with long, space-rock, instrumental sounds. The Barrett-less group then went on to release the album, "More" which is the soundtrack to the film, "More". They then went on to release the double-sided and very experimental album, "Ummagumma" in 1969.

By this point, Pink Floyd was a major attraction, drawing 100,000 to their free concert in London the following year. In 1970, "Atom Heart Mother" was a brave experiment of odd sounds including tape loops, feedback, and bizarre lyrics. Their work also featured a series of impressive album covers where photographs of the musicians were kept absent. In 1971, the album "Meddle" had an abstract image of an enlarged shot of an ear for the cover and contained the classic 23-minute epic "Echoes".

Despite their almost constant experimentation Pink Floyd was still having trouble finding their sound. Then they released "The Dark Side of the Moon" which was their major breakthrough. "The Dark Side of the Moon" sold over 25 million copies worldwide, and remained on the billboard charts for 14 years proving to be one of the most popular albums ever. This album marked Water's firm hold of the group's vision and production.

The next album, "Wish You Were Here" included the eulogy to Syd Barrett, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". After touring, Pink Floyd released an album called "Animals", known as the forgotten album, which was an attack on "clean-up" television campaigner, Mary Whitehouse. It was this album that the tension within the band leaked into the public arena.

Members of the group began to release solo albums as rumors of the band's breakup spread. In 1979, however, the group unleashed "The Wall", a Waters-dominated epic that has now become second only to "Dark Side of the Moon" in terms of sales. It contained the song "Another Brick In The Wall" which attacked the educational system. This single provided the group their sole number 1 hit. The album reflects Roger Water's bleak vision of contemporary life. It tells the story of the alienation and the gradual breakdown of a rock star, and is though by many to be autobiographical.

The album was then made into a film called "The Wall" featuring Bob Geldorf as broken down rock star. The album also launched the most expensive tour to date by any rock group, which utilized an incredible light show. Waters was upset with Wright and demanded that the group fire him after "The Wall" tour. Wright left in 1979. Pink Floyd released another album called "The Final Cut" in 1983, which was totally dominated by Waters and failed commercially.

After this album Roger Waters left the band to pursue a solo career. It was in 1987 when Gilmour and Mason rejoined under the name Pink Floyd and made an album called "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". Then Wright joined them for the world tour. The use of the Pink Floyd name angered Waters and the dispute ended up in a court battle, which Waters lost. In 1988, the remaining members of Pink Floyd toured the U.S. and Europe and issued a live album recorded on that tour, "The Delicate Sound of Thunder". In 1994, Pink Floyd came out with the album "The Division Bell" and later released "Pulse", a live album produced from that tour.

Roger Waters continues to tour on his own and the influence of Pink Floyd is felt in a number of more recent bands, including R.E.M. and Radiohead.