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Waters fired him — or rather, made his manager fire him, a great rock-star dick move — and the other band members, with one eye on their suffering bank accounts, went along. Amazingly, the band hired Wright back as a session player for the shows. In his autobiography, Nick Mason notes that Wright was in fact the only person who made money on that tour; the combination of the excessive conception and limited shows cost the others a small fortune. Some of the lyrics are trite, though they still represent a massive step forward from the hovering albatrosses on Meddle.

How that Meddle — Dark Side transition happened is one of the great mysteries in rock-and-roll history. In the meantime, Waters stopped writing nonsense and began writing in common human terms, voicing from an odd narrative position: part everyman, part all-seeing god. There are six normal songs on Dark Side , and each one has a coherent point.

The words are all colloquial, honest, and about something, and the meaning is underscored by the music, and the production, on every track. One key ingredient was an engineer named Alan Parsons, who seems to have been the catalyst for turning a band whose very existence was on the verge of pointlessness into the sensational creators of Dark Side and Wish You Were Here. Parsons went on to have hits of his own, in the guise of an annoying pop-prog outfit called the Alan Parsons Project. Dark Side was certified 15 times platinum in — after everyone rebought copies of it on CD — and has sold about 23 million copies in the U.

Worldwide, its total is 43 million , making it the second-largest selling album of all time, after Thriller. This ten-note riff gets beaten into submission, as do the nine words of the lyrics. Upped ten notches for historical value. The fired Wright was brought back as a for-hire member, and two very bad Waters-free albums resulted, as we have seen.

But they each sold more than 10 million units! Animals is a difficult album. Their version was pricks, assholes, and pussies, respectively. And you have to give Waters credit for having a cosmology, much less this uncompromising and socially relevant one. Some of its prog-rock competition that year was The Grand Illusion and Point of Know Return , both recorded by pompous bozos. At the same time, his dominance and or control over the band was tightening, with mixed results. Wish You Were Here has six co-writing credits, Animals one. The band had spent a fortune building its own studio; but the facilities never jelled and this is the only Pink Floyd album recorded there.

The guitar solos, the voice echo, the funny synth sounds — they all sound a little bald. This is a very long song, 16 full minutes, which filled up, back in the day, the entire first side of the record, barring the slight opening track. The dogs? The sheep? I thought rats went through mazes. I do thank Roger for not resorting to dog-barking noises until about the five-minute mark.

What the hell is that? Yoda as a drama queen? In case you were wondering, the pigs are then-rising star Margaret Thatcher and a Jerry Falwell—type British activist named Mary Whitehouse. Gilmour works it on out in the closing minutes of this plus-minute track. Things get a bit tedious in the middle four minutes or so.

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At the end, the sheep rise up, only to become, climactically, Animal Farm —style, the new oppressors. This is accompanied by some appropriate and long-overdue actual rock at the end — Gilmour pulls a great-sounding guitar sound out of his ass — and you can even hear Mason breaking a sweat. Sometimes you actually feel for Waters when it comes to his lazy bandmates. Some people like it. Or something. Richard Wright released a couple of uninteresting solo albums, but stayed with Mason and Gilmour through the two post-Waters albums and the lucrative accompanying tours and supported Gilmour live on his tours as well.

Waters is a lifelong committed socialist and of course he understands that a lot of people in Britain had it a lot worse than he did. Barrett genuinely haunted the band, and was never far from their minds in their best work, here the first minutes of TDSOTM. Credited to Nick Mason. Note that Wright has a songwriting credit here, but I bet it was the chorus. The engineering is exquisite; the song contains several of the most interesting instrumental passages this suite-crazy band ever laid down. Here again Wright makes his mark.

Nothing high-energy, but the overlaid sounds and the keening emotion of the keyboards allow this odd track to hold its own with its fellows.

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Waters did the words. Great vocal track too, and I think the band does a fine job of deconstructing the chugging guitar riff that had fueled so many sex-charged songs before it. This is all in keeping with Rock Star Rule No. This is one of a handful of quintessential Syd Barrett songs, but it was also, as we have seen, something not of a piece with the sounds the band was developing or rather, had developed in its performances in the underground scene of London at the time.

The bass is great. The various guitar tracks are great. But the last six or seven minutes are rough going, and the physical tape-cut back to the main riff at the end of the song is done incompetently. Barrett, meanwhile, was growing more erratic. A film clip, now available on YouTube, shows him wandering around a garden on acid.

But the rest of his life was getting darker. He beat up a girlfriend or two, or would manage to lock himself in a bathroom and be unable to get out. Gilmour steps up, too. Note the sequencer programming; a simple melody is programmed in and then distorted and manipulated here, obviously, sped up, among other things. The brilliant synth wizard Richard Wright programmed the notes and transformed them into this spectacular — just joking. It was actually Waters and Gilmour. The pair does a great job of not just using the effects to wow listeners, though they do that, but also subordinating them into the meaning needed by the song, presumably the demands and vicissitudes of modern life, right down to being chased by helicopters.

Stories differ as to why. This is a plainly electronic album, but much of what we hear sounds human, organic. Waters seems to have read — or at least intuited — some philosophy, and makes clear his sympathies with positivism, among other things.


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A massive hit single. Asked to wail, wail she did. Part Cassandra convulsed at the state of a world that she had predicted, part mother crying over her earth, part lover lost, part human facing fate. This was an unaccountable pop hit in the United States.

All 165 Pink Floyd Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

Not top ten, as is often erroneously said, but it was top 15, and it unquestionably helped turn a new audience onto the charms of the album. Someone — Waters? The single is as unconventional a hard-rock record as the era produced. The ride back into the main beat is a thrill and a half. This is what the band could do when it worked together — not for nothing, one of the few Pink Floyd songs, long or short, that leaves you wanting more. Pigs Might Fly says that jazz ace Lee Ritenour is playing on the track, incidentally.

This is also the point at which Waters gave up and took ownership of his throttled squeak of a cartoony voice. The ending Sweeney Todd —like whistle works fabulously. Besides fitting in with the vicissitudes-of-modern-life theme Waters had going, the track is another homage to Barrett. This was the lead-off track to Piper — more evidence that Barrett also had something to say on guitar. The beginning here is as dramatic as anything Pete Townshend was coming up with at the time. And it really worked live. By the time the band had finished its first album, it was obvious Barrett was damaged.

And when, temporarily, he came out, he did things like trade away his car to a passerby for a pack of cigarettes. His ability to contribute deteriorated to the point where the band brought on Gilmour to play guitar for him; they even thought they might pull off a Brian Wilson arrangement, where Barrett could stay offstage and write the songs. Waters bought into it. Again, this was the s, and it was a pretty radical fusion. The single spent four weeks at number one. A good part of The Wall is labored; Ezrin and Waters had given themselves an impossible job.

The sound and engineering on this song is extraordinary, from the disco beat to the sax to the washes of guitar, and that thin but monotonous rhythm guitar track — right down to that flimsy little guitar break that somehow brings the song together. Gilmour is MVP for the killer guitar outro.

The song begins with a set of now-famous pings, before some fairly pretty group vocals and an actual guitar riff or two. Lyrically, we start out with the albatross hanging motionless upon the air, a neat trick, and things go south from there words-wise, but no matter.

Later, the pings come back, leading into quite a keyboard fanfare by Wright. Instead, they took a left turn and we got Dark Side — by which I mean actual songs, conception, brilliant production, all of it. But listen closer. This is a love song. This is how I live, Barrett is saying. Can you join me in it? The record is clear that Barrett the person and Barrett the inspiration remained on the minds of all the Pink Floyd band members for the rest of his life and beyond. After the band had to leave him behind, Gilmour and Waters patiently assisted him trying to get a solo album together; this would be The Madcap Laughs , interesting but overrated.

A second solo effort was even more difficult to birth. When a burst of royalties came in, Barrett would appear back in London to spend his money. Friends said he mostly just watched television and put on weight. He finally disappeared back to Cambridge permanently, apparently supported by his friends in the band, to be occasionally pursued by dogged fans. He died in , reportedly from pancreatic cancer. The mix of the high electronics and prominent acoustic guitar sets up a tension; you wait for the vocals to come and buttress the acoustic instrument.

Instead, they are a mechanical scream. He acted out his bildungsroman even as he wrote it.

He fell out with Hipgnosis, the design firm that had done the album covers since Saucerful of Secrets. That, Ms. Morissette, is what you call ironic.

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This meditation on friendship, madness, and — what am I forgetting? Everything that Pink Floyd is at its best is right here, the opening plus minutes. Gilmour, at his best, starts out soft; his solos carefully dramatize themselves. But for what the band did, and for what the band heeded, he was nonpareil. The angularity of the images captures the modernity Barrett fought against, and was ultimately felled by, with a sobering and yet affectionate emotion.

More than anything else, there is a wistful melody here in the chorus, and the band lets it sink in, and go on as long as it needs to, tension rising each step of the way — another rare instance when you want something Pink Floyd is doing not to end. Kona Cotton Cedar. Only 26 left in stock - order soon. Tucson Beaded Floral Red. Only 34 left in stock - order soon. Kona Cotton Sunny. Tim Holtz Foundations French Neutral. Only 46 left in stock - order soon.

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The Darker Side: An Eclectic Melange

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