Pink Floyd were an English rock band established in 1965 by Syd Barrett (lead vocals and lead guitar), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass guitar) and Richard Wright (vocals and keyboard). They became famous for their psychedelic and space rock music which later evolved to progressive rock. The band is known for its imaginative live shows, album cover art, philosophical lyrics and experimental music.
Pink Floyd have sold more than 200 million albums globally making them one of the most successful rock acts of all time and they have also been an influence to many 1970s bands such as Yes and Genesis. Pink Floyd enjoyed relative success in the late 1960s especially in the London underground music scene before Barrett’s erratic behavior led to him being replaced by David Gilmour. Bass player Roger Waters then became a tour de force within the band and remained dominant until his departure in 1985.
'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn', released in 1967, was the band’s debut album and was well received at the time and is now considered a prime example of British psychedelic music. The reason Barrett was let go from the band was for his excessive use of LSD causing him to spend concerts staring into space or playing one chord for the whole performance.
After Barrett’s departure and the introduction of David Gilmour the band released the album 'A Saucerful of Secrets' which reached No.9 in the UK charts and is the only Pink Floyd album not to chart in the US. It featured the 12 minute epic title track and hinted at what was to come from this band. They were then recruited to produce the soundtrack for the film, ‘More’, which was released in 1969. The music was released as an album in its own right called 'Soundtrack from the Film More'. They then released the double album, 'Ummagumma' which was an avant-garde mix of solo projects, studio experimentation and live recordings. The album was critically acclaimed and proves Pink Floyd’s most popular release yet charting at No. 5 in the UK. Their next album, 'Atom Heart Mother'. proved a great success and reached No.1 in the UK and No. 55 in the US. This allowed Pink Floyd to embark on their first full US tour.
1970-75 was the bands big breakthrough period and produced what many consider the band’s two masterpiece albums, 'The Dark Side of the Moon' and 'Wish You Were Here'. 'The Dark Side of the Moon' became the band’s first No.1 in the US and is the third highest selling album of all time (behind 'Thriller' and 'Back in Black') selling over 45 million copies worldwide. It stayed in the US Billboard Top 200 for 741 weeks. It only ever reached No. 2 in the UK but staying in the charts for an incredible 301 weeks. 1975 saw the release of 'Wish You Were Here' which was just as well received by critics and fans alike and is the only Pink Floyd album to chart at No.1 in both the UK and the US.
'Animals', their next album release was a highly political album and although reaching No. 2 and No. 3 in the UK and US charts respectively it wasn’t well received by critics. 1979 saw the release of “The Wall” which gave Pink Floyd new acclaim and included the likes of 'Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)', 'Comfortably Numb' and 'Run Like Hell'. It sold over 11.5 million copies and was certified 23x platinum by the RIAA.
1985 saw Waters leave the band and Gilmour take up the leaders mantle and enjoyed success with the release of “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” which charted at No.3 in both the UK and US and then in 1988 released the double album, 'Delicate Sound of Thunder'. In 1994 the band released 'The Division Bell' which was the 2nd Pink Floyd to reach No.1 in both the UK and US. 1996 saw the band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pink Floyd appeared at Live 8 and it was hoped that the band would take up a $250 million dollar offer of a world tour but they refused.
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