William Shatner gave us “space… the final frontier.” Then Pink Floyd showed us just how much of a frontier space really is, selling billions and billions of albums along the way (or at least 200 million). Pink Floyd is the preeminent space rock band, responsible for The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, among other classics. Their music has accompanied trips to the outer reaches of imagination and post-trip trips to 7-11 for cheese nachos and Hostess fruit pies.
The band’s first album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, released in 1967, placed them at the forefront of the psychedelic rock movement. Around this time, founding member and chief songwriter Syd Barrett started to become undone. Insanity is pretty damn rock ‘n roll, if you ask us. David Gilmour signed on in early 1968, and was first heard on A Saucerful of Secrets, released later that year.
Pink Floyd continued to make increasingly far out music through into the ’70s, but it was 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon that made them stars on both sides of the Atlantic. Now considered one of the greatest albums ever, it remained on the Billboard album chart for a record 741 weeks. The prism cover is instantly recognizable. “Time,” “Money” and “Us and Them” remain classic rock staples to this day.
Wish You Were Here followed a couple years later, summarizing Barrett’s rise and fall. At the end of the ’70s they topped themselves yet again with The Wall—a two-disc concept album about alienation and abandonment. The album launched the schoolboy anthem “Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2” and their most theatrical tour to date. Concerts featured the actual construction of a wall between performers and audience, which collapsed at the end of the show. The live-action/animated film Pink Floyd The Wall, driven by the band’s music, freaked out a generation of stoners and outcasts.
Roger Waters left the band in 1985, leaving Gilmour as the lead creative force. The Division Bell—released in 1994—is their last studio album, but Pink Floyd remains a huge presence in popular music. Their influence on modern space rockers and non-space rockers alike is apparent. Pink Floyd went where no band had gone before, as Captain James T. Kirk would surely appreciate. They made space inhabitable for rockers everywhere.
One of These Days
Shine on You Crazy Diamond
Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2
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