One of the 'Big Five' of progressive rock, Pink Floyd carved a place in the area of space rock by mixing pop, electronics, blues, special effects and space rock in a new and distinctive way
Upon formation, Waters, Wright & Mason were led by Syd Barrett who many Floyd faithfulls consider the true genius in the band. This first incarnation did not include Dave Gilmour whose guitar style would help to define this band. The band name comes from mixing Pink Anderson and Floyd Council (two obscure and old blues performers and the original band style was a kind of pop/psych blues space rock.
With two hit singles Arnold Layne
and See Emily Play
they released their first album in 1967 called The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
. It would be the only album released with Barrett leading the band. Barrett's erratic behaviors led the band to bring in Dave Gilmour and eventually oust Barrett.
Pink Floyd released a series of albums of experimental, psych and space mixed with elements of pop and blues leading to 1971's Meddle. On Meddle the band's extended track Echoes
privided a glimpse of what was to come. A glimpse, but no one could have predicted the full picture - which was 1973's Dark Side of The Moon
one of the greatest charting/selling albums of all time.
Following Dark Side of the Moon were Wish You Were Here
, albums that were #1 sellers without anything approaching a radio-ready hit song and both very heavy in lyrical purpose as well as studio wizardry.
Few bands get to reach greatness one time let alone two times. In 1979, Pink Floyd released The Wall gaining #1 status again and a hit song. On the road they were the best selling live act and were famous fom this and previous tours for their complex and enormous road show. The Wall was also made into a ground-breaking full length video with actors and animation mixed to tell the entire story of this album.
By now the band seemed to have come firmly under the control of Roger Waters. A subsequent album, The Final Cut, was not successful and may have contributed to the ultimate brakeup of the band along with artistic and other differences between Gilmour and Waters. Waters went to court over the rights to the name Pink Floyd but losing.
Waters went on to produce some solo works including in 1990 a live performance with numerous guest musicians of The Wall at a site where the Berlin wall stood.
Again Pink Floyd survived the ousting of their creative leader. They released 2 more best selling albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell.
Over the years, Barrett has recorded some solo works as have other members of the band.