Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer School of Rock - Pink Floyd

What band could possibly come between a movie in the Transformers franchise and a subtitle?  Pink Floyd, of course!

The third movie in the series was to be subtitled The Dark Side of the Moon, but that name already belonged to an English rock group from the 60s and 70s.  Not many people can honestly say they are the reason Michael Bay didn't get his way.

Pink Floyd began in the mid 60's as part of the London Underground movement.  They started out as essentially a psychedelic pop band, but moved towards a more progressive rock sound over the years.  Not everyone liked or understood their music at first, with more than a few concert promoters refusing to pay them after the performance, claiming that what they did was not music.

Their first single, Arnold Layne, released in 1967, was banned in some markets because of the references to cross dressing.  They recorded their first album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but by that point original member Syd Barrett's LSD use was rampant and contributing to his mental downfall.  He would be kicked out of the band shortly thereafter.  Several other members had already been added.

They were part of the BBC's live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing, in part because their style of music was often referred to as space rock. This instrumental piece, Moonhead, accompanied the broadcast.  It's long, but an interesting piece of their history.

They would tour and release several albums in the early 70s, but it wasn't until Dark Side of the Moon, that they achieved huge commercial success.  Long, often hard to follow songs filled the album, which had mixed critical reviews, but appealed greatly to the psychedelic rock audience.

By the time The Wall was recorded and released in 1979, the band was suffering greatly at the hands of fighting and drug addiction.  The amount of studio time required to intricately weave all the sounds together tested the will of the band.  It would become their hugest success, selling over 23 million albums worldwide and spawn their quintessential song, Another Brick in the Wall.

Their stage shows had become elaborate, long affairs with huge props and groundbreaking speaker set-ups.  The tour for The Wall would be made into a movie as well.

The band would break up and briefly attempt reunions several times, members releasing their own albums in the meanwhile.

After over 20 year of fighting, in 2005, the entire lineup performed together at the Live 8 concert.  Since then, two have died, leaving no chance of a full reunion.

Last year, the remaining members of the band signed a five year deal with EMI to ensure that their music would be kept only in album form, as they had always vehemently opposed the idea of singles being released.

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

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