Category: pink floyd

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Pink Floyd photographed by Andrew Whittuck, 1967.

On this day in music history: December 3, 1976 – The photo shoot for Pink Floyd’s album “Animals” goes awry. The photo session goes wrong, when the thirty foot tall, helium filled inflatable pig suspended above the Battersea Power Station in London, breaks free from its moorings and floats away. An All Points Bulletin is issued to aircraft flying in the area to be on the lookout for “a giant flying pig”. The balloon eventually lands in a cow pasture in near by Kent. It is discovered by the owner of the farm, furious that the giant pig has frightened his cows. Eventually the final cover art for the album features the pig superimposed against the background.

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Pink Floyd at the Casa Madrona Hotel in Sausalito, California, November 1967. 

Photos by Baron Wolman

On this day in music history: November 30, 1979 “The Wall”, the eleventh album by Pink Floyd is released (US release date is on December 8, 1979). Produced by Bob Ezrin, David Gilmour, James Guthrie and Roger Waters, it is recorded at Super Bear Studios, Studio Miraval in La Val, France, CBS 30th Street Studios in New York City, The Village Recorder, Cherokee Studios and The Producers Workshop in Los Angeles, CA from January – November 1979. The follow up to “Animals”, is a concept album exploring themes of abandonment and isolation Waters feels. Never having known his own father, who is an RAF pilot during WWII, is killed before he is born. It also explores the poor treatment Waters received at the hands of school teachers, feeling oppressed by his over protective mother, and the end of his first marriage. The concept for what becomes “The Wall” has its genesis in the 1977 “Animals” tour, with Waters feeling that there is an increasing barrier growing between himself and the bands’ fans. The albums’ minimalist artwork is designed by artist Gerald Scarfe and Roger Waters. When the band play the album for their US label CBS Records, they are initially “unimpressed” and are reluctant to release the ambitious twenty-six track two LP set. Waters eventually prevails in it being released as intended. It is a huge critical and commercial success, becoming the largest selling album of 1980. It spins off three singles including “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2” (#1 Pop) and “Run Like Hell” (#53 Pop). Pink Floyd launches an equally ambitious tour to reproduce their masterpiece on stage. The show features the band performing in part behind a forty foot tall wall of white cardboard bricks, that is gradually built up during their performance, as well as elaborate lighting and other stage props. Various animated sequences created by Gerald Scarfe are projected on the wall during certain songs. Because of the prohibitively high production costs, it is only performed in four cities (Los Angeles, CA, Uniondale, NY, Dortmund, West Germany and London, UK) on multiple nights, for a total of only thirty one performances. In spite of every show being sold out on the tour, Pink Floyd still loses nearly a million dollars on the venture. Plans to release complete footage have been continually scotched by the band over the years, and only excerpts have been seen by the public. Audio from the London shows at Earls Court are released as “Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81” in March of 2000. Reissued numerous times on CD and vinyl since the 80’s, it is most recently remastered and reissued on 180 gram vinyl in August of 2016. “The Wall” spends fifteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 23x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Double Diamond Certification.

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On this day in music history: November 22, 1988 – “The Delicate Sound Of Thunder”, the fourteenth album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at The Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I., NY from August 19 – 23, 1988. Recorded live during a five night stand on the US leg of Pink Floyd’s tour in support of their most recent studio album “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”, the fifteen track double live LP features in concert performances of several Floyd classics as well as newer material. The cassette and CD configurations includes the track “Us And Them”, which is cut of the vinyl release due to time constraints. There are also an additional seven songs played on the shows that are cut from the final track listing. The shows the live album is culled from are also filmed, providing a major part of the live concert footage for the home video release “Pink Floyd In Concert – Delicate Sound Of Thunder” (released on VHS and Laserdisc in June of 1989). The album is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2016, also reissued as a two LP 180 gram set in 2017. “The Delicate Sound Of Thunder” peaks at number eleven on both the UK album chart and Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 26, 1967 – “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, the debut album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at EMI Abbey Road Studios in London from February 21 – May 21, 1967. Formed by Roger Waters and Nick Mason and Richard Wright, they are joined by Syd Barrett in mid 1965. It is Barrett that comes up with the name Pink Floyd, after blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Originally playing more R&B influenced music, their sound begins to evolve. They become the talk of London’s underground music scene, with record labels courting the band. They’re signed to EMI Records’ Columbia label by former Abbey Road engineer Norman Smith. They record their first single “Arnold Layne” b/w “Candy And A Currant Bun” (#20 UK) and it is issued in March of 1967. Prior to its release, the band record their debut album with Syd Barrett as the driving creative force. The tracks include “Interstellar Overdrive”, an early staple of Pink Floyd’s live shows along with “Astronomy Domine”. The now iconic “kaleidoscopic” cover photo is taken by photographer Vic Singh. Released in the UK first in early August of 1967 (mono mix, followed by the stereo version in September), “Piper” quickly establishes them as leaders of the British psychedelic rock movement. Soon after, Syd Barrett’s mental state deteriorates, fueled his increasing intake of LSD. Held back in the US until October to coincide with their first tour, it is released on Capitol’s Tower Records imprint. The US version contains nine songs instead of eleven, dropping “Domine”, “Bike” and “Flaming”, adding the single “See Emily Play”. Shortly after making their US debut at the Winterland Ballroom on November 4, 1967, the tour is aborted when Barrett’s condition worsens. Making a now infamous appearance on singer Pat Boone’s TV show, Syd stares blankly into the camera instead of lip synching to the song “Apples And Oranges”. The band return home, and guitarist David Gilmour is added as a back up for Barrett. It marks the beginning of the end of Syd Barrett’s tenure in the band, leaving in mid 1968. Reissued many times including a three CD set, it is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2011. A 180 gram vinyl LP (stereo mix) is released in 2016. The original mono mix, is reissued as a limited edition 180 gram LP for Record Store Day in April Of 2018. It comes housed in a psychedelic, gold embossed outer sleeve and is packaged with a poster. The LP sleeve replicates the original UK tab back cover. Other than a brief European reissue in 1997, it marks the first time the mono mix has been available since 1968. “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” peaks at number six on the UK album chart, number one hundred thirty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 25, 1969 – “Ummagumma”, the fourth album by Pink Floyd is released (US release is on November 10, 1969). Produced by Pink Floyd and Norman Smith, it is recorded at the Mothers Club in Birmingham, UK on April 27, 1969, Manchester College of Commerce in Manchester, UK on May 2, 1969 (live tracks), and Abbey Road Studios in London in June 1969. The nine track double album by the UK progressive rock band consists of four tracks from their then current live set list and five newly recorded tracks in the studio. The albums’ title comes from a Pink Floyd roadie who describes it as a euphemism for “sex”. Though the album is well received by fans and critics, though the band themselves later admit to not being fond of it, feeling it to be to be “excessive” and “a failed experiment”, especially the studio half. The original LP cover art features a photo of the band with a picture hanging on a wall of them in the same pose but with everyone in a different place. The photo is also notable as it shows a copy of the “Gigi” soundtrack album on the floor next to guitarist David Gilmour. The US and Canadian covers is airbrushed white on subsequent re-pressings (over copyright concerns). The cover art is eventually restored when it is reissued on CD. Reissued numerous times over the years, the album is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2011. It is also reissued as a double vinyl 180 gram LP set in 2016, replicating the original UK album packaging. “Ummagumma” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number seventy four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 10, 1970 – “Atom Heart Mother”, the fifth album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from February – August 1970. The first self produced album by the band (though executive produced by longtime producer Norman Smith), it marks the end of their “psychedelic period” moving toward writing more tightly structured songs. “Atom Heart Mother” also marks the first time that Pink Floyd work with then Abbey Road staff engineer Alan Parsons, who becomes a valuable technical asset to the band, on this and especially “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. The first side of the album featuring the title track is a nearly twenty four minute long suite (made up of six movements) featuring additional orchestration by the EMI Pops Orchestra and choir vocals by the John Alldis Choir. The albums iconic cover photographs taken by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis is in response to the bands request for “something plain” on the cover. Thorgerson drives out to a cow pasture in Hertfordshire and takes the photos for the front, inner gatefold and back cover. Unlike previous albums, the cover does not contain any text with the band’s name, album title, track listing, or even any pictures of the band. This becomes a main feature of Pink Floyd’s albums throughout the rest of their career. It is also the first Pink Floyd album to be mixed into quadraphonic sound, first being released on 8-Track tape and and as a vinyl LP. Reissued on CD and vinyl various times over the years, the album is remastered and reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2016. “Atom Heart Mother” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number fifty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Ike and Tina Turner

on the Startruckin’ 75 tour at Groenoordhallen in Leiden, Netherlands, August 1975.

On this day in music history: June 29, 1968 – “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, the second studio album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from August, October 1967 and January – April 1968. The bands follow up to their debut “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” is recorded sporadically over a period of eight months, largely because of Syd Barrett’s increasing mental instability due to his excessive consumption of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist David Gilmour is brought in to take Barrett’s place, becoming a permanent member of the band in March 1968. The album features songs such as “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and the title track, both of which become staples of their live performances. The enigmatic cover art for the album is designed by Hipgnosis, making Pink Floyd the first EMI act (besides The Beatles) to have their album covers designed by someone other than EMI’s art department). It is the beginning of a four decade long association with the graphic design company. Reissued on CD numerous times since its first digital release in 1987, it is most recently reissued in 2011. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016, with the album sleeve using a printed version of the original UK “flip back” jacket design, and pressed with the original 60’s era UK Columbia labels. The rare mono mix of “Secrets”, out of print since its initial release, is remastered and reissued on Record Store Day in April of 2019. The 180 gram vinyl LP, is limited to 6,500 copies in the US and Canada, and the same number for the European continent. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” peaks at number nine on the UK album chart, and does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.

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