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The Pink Floyd Portal


Written and compiled by Paul Rance

Pink Floyd In 1968
Pink Floyd in 1968
(top left to right): Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Rick (later more commonly known as Richard) Wright; (front) David Gilmour

Pink Floyd are/were (Roger Waters fans will prefer "were") unique among the great rock bands, because of their two different styles. The Syd Barrett era consisted of quirky, experimental, psychedelic songs and instrumentals, and the post-Barrett era saw a more sophisticated sound, though more interesting than much of the progressive rock acts The Floyd were lumped together with. The lyrical content was also rich in social commentary, notably on 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' and 'The Wall'.

Coming of out the famous English university city of Cambridge, Pink Floyd were the epitome of the flamboyant, creative 1960s.

The embryo of Pink Floyd really began in 1964 with a combo of ever changing and consistently curious names - Sigma 6, The Meggadeaths, The Tea Set/The T-Set, The Architectural Abdabs, The Abdabs, and The Screaming Abdabs. The core of the would-be Floyd came together in Tea Set, with drummer Nick Mason, then wind instrument player (!) Rick Wright, and Roger Waters on guitar. Bob Klose was the other guitarist, and Chris Dennis was the lead singer before blues/folk guitarist and singer Syd Barrett replaced him, and Waters on guitar, with Roger becoming the bassist.

By a strange twist, Tea Set appeared on the bill with another group which had the same name, so Barrett came up with a new name, The Pink Floyd Sound - named after two bluesmen (virtually every British rock group of the period was inspired by the blues) Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The rather pretentious 'Sound' was dropped, though Pink Floyd were known as The Pink Floyd until the early '70s, and they are often still referred to by that name, as well as Pink Floyd, or simply The Floyd.

Klose, really a jazzman, left after an early demo recording. Wright moved to keyboards, Mason was on drums and percussion, bassist Waters and Wright were also used as backing vocalists to the coruscating Barrett, who became the driving force of the group - being the songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist.

After being underground darlings, Syd's quirky songwriting propelled Pink Floyd into the mainstream, with hit singles 'See Emily Play' and 'Arnold Layne' (apparently written about a Cambridge knicker thief the band vaguely knew).

Pink Floyd's first album 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' saw a fully rounded group, and was acknowledged, and still is, as one of the finest ever debut albums, with ex-manager Peter Jenner saying (The Beatles were recording 'Sgt. Pepper' in the same Abbey Road building): "I'm sure The Beatles were copying what we were doing, just as we were copying what we were hearing down the corridor!"

But Syd Barrett was a sensitive soul, and the pressure to produce more great work was telling during the making of Pink Floyd's second album, 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'. Syd Barrett's mental decline is documented here. Friend David Gilmour stepped into the breach as an increasingly erratic Barrett led to the rest of Pink Floyd realising that Gilmour would have to be his permanent replacement. Syd Barrett's 'Jugband Blues' on 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' was a poignant epitaph to his tenure with a group he had really been the core of. So, with their lead singer and songwriter gone, and no like for like replacement brought in, what now for Pink Floyd?

Rick Wright's sombre keyboard work had been as important a component of the Pink Floyd sound as Barrett's miasmic guitar, and it was a new sound, with David Gilmour's spatial guitar sound particularly well utilised, which was eventually to put them at the top table of rock bands. Early albums, 'A Saucerful Of Secrets (Syd did contribute on this album, but not to any great extent)', 'Atom Heart Mother', and 'Meddle' were slowly but surely building Pink Floyd's reputation post-Barrett. 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' was the group's real big breakthrough, and was their first masterpiece. It was a very human album, which maybe explained its connection with so many people - as well as the beauty of the music. It was in the Billboard Top 200 for an unprecedented 591 consecutive weeks from 1976 to 1988. Pink Floyd's next album 'Wish You Were Here' also gained great critical and public acclaim, and the epic track 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' was an obvious tribute to Syd Barrett, and the recording of this album is steeped in the legend of the almost supernatural coincidence of Syd turning up unrecognised at the recording of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. Rick Wright recalls: "I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me. And I didn't recognise him. I said, "Who's that guy behind you?" "That's Syd." And I just cracked up, I couldn't believe it... He had shaven all his hair off... I mean, his eyebrows, everything... He was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful. And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking... Seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we're actually doing that particular track. I don't know - coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful".

In 1979, Pink Floyd's last great album, the double album 'The Wall' was released, and was made into a film with Bob Geldof in the lead role of Pink. The album 'The Wall' was really a Roger Waters project, examining alienation from childhood to adulthood, and the Fascistic nature of a society that constantly tells us what to do. The ending of the album is very emotional and uplifting, however. Within Pink Floyd things were not good, and Rick Wright was himself alienated, and then Waters himself would end up out of the group.

Over the years hopes had been high among Pink Floyd fans that the quartet of David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Rick Wright would get together again, and this happened for a blinding set at Live 8 in 2005. Whether they'll get together again is, predictably, uncertain!...

Very sadly and very strangely the day this page went 'live' (September 15th, 2008), Rick Wright passed away at the age of 65 through cancer. So, the answer to the reunion question is obviously now in the negative. Rick's delicate keyboard playing was probably the most important factor in the success of 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' album.

Pink Floyd Factoids

Roger Waters on Keith Moon trashing hotel rooms: "He's a very sophisticated smasher."

Roger Daltrey once embarrassed himself mistaking Rick Wright for Eric Clapton.

Syd Barrett adored cats, and Roger Waters (Burmese) and Dave Gilmour were fellow feline fanciers.

Nick Mason's only Pink Floyd lead vocal was on the 'Meddle' track, 'One Of These Days'.

Former Floyd producer Norman Smith (better known as '70s singer Hurricane Smith) allegedly played Nick Mason's drum part on 'Remember A Day', from the 1968 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' album.

David Gilmour played the guitar solo on Paul McCartney's 'No More Lonely Nights', and collaborated with Macca on several occasions from 1979 onwards. David also played guitar on 'Won't Get Fooled Again' at a benefit concert, with Pete Townshend on lead vocal, at the Brixton Academy in November, 1985.

Roger Waters had several bricks in his wall...

Roger's father was killed at Anzio in 1944, when Roger was just a few months old.

Roger rescued a dying animal as a child, only to be told to toss it in the rubbish by a sadistic teacher. Possibly the same bullying teacher featured on 'The Wall'...

Syd Barrett's mental health problems haunted Roger and all The Floyd members throughout their careers.

Current Members
Nick Mason – drums, percussion (1965–present)
David Gilmour – lead/rhythm guitar, lead vocals (1968–present)

Former Members
Syd Barrett – lead/rhythm guitar, lead vocals (1965–1968)
Bob Klose – lead guitar (1965)
Roger Waters – bass, lead vocals (1965–1985)

Rick Wright – keyboards, vocals (1965–1981, 1987–2008)

Pink Floyd DVDs

Live at Pompeii (1972)
Pink Floyd - Live at Pompeii

Pink Floyd - The Wall (1982)

Pink Floyd - Pulse (1995)
Pink Floyd - Pulse

Product image for ASIN: B00009QNXX
Pink Floyd - The Making of The Dark Side Of The Moon [...

Pink Floyd Books

Inside Out

Inside Out
Author: Nick Mason

Pigs Might Fly
Author: Mark Blake

Pink Floyd
Author: Phil Taylor

Pink Floyd
Author: Pink Floyd

Author: Tim Willis

Syd Barrett
Author: Mike Watkinson; Pete Anderson

Pink Floyd Reviews
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd - The Wall

Pink Floyd Live 8 Review

Syd Barrett Cambridge Wakes - A Celebration Of Syd Barrett

Pink Floyd Websites
David Gilmour - Official Site
Roger Waters - Official Site
Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd Fan Sites
Pink Floyd Online - Comprehensive and interactive fan site.
Pink Floyd & Co. - Stunningly designed, and something for every Floyd fan.
Pink Floyd News : Brain Damage - Excellent resource for those looking for info on recent and upcoming gigs by Floyd members. Nice looking site.

Richard/Rick Wright Tributes & Comments

"No one can replace Richard Wright. He was my musical partner and my friend...I loved him and will miss him enormously." - David Gilmour's tribute to Richard on his website.

David Gilmour appeared on British music show 'Later Live - With Jools Holland' on Tuesday, September 23rd and sang Richard Wright's composition, 'Remember A Day'. He said Richard had texted him three weeks earlier saying he wouldn't be able to appear on the show.

Roger Waters made a simple comment on Richard, with an old Pink Floyd image of burning candles on his website. Roger later said: "As for the man and his work, it is hard to overstate the importance of his musical voice in the Pink Floyd of the '60s and '70s. Rick's ear for harmonic progression was our bedrock."

Drummer Nick Mason was interviewed by 'Entertainment Weekly' a day after Richard's death. Here's some quotes:
"Pink Floyd wouldn’t have been Pink Floyd if [we] hadn’t had Rick. I think there’s a feeling now -- particularly after all the warfare that went on with Roger and David trying to make clear what their contribution was -- that perhaps Rick rather got pushed into the background."
"Something like 'Us And Them' was absolutely a Rick piece. It’s almost that George Harrison thing. You sort of forget that they did a lot more than perhaps they’re given credit for."
Entertainment Weekly Nick Mason Interview

Early Floyd producer, Joe Boyd, said Richard's contribution to The Floyd was "an integral part of the Pink Floyd sound." Boyd added: "He was a nice and easy going person."

"Rick Wright was like George Harrison was to The Beatles. A quiet one." - Alan Parsons, speaking to Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie on their BBC Radio 2 show.

"Shame about Rick, 'Dark Side Of The Moon' was worn out on my old crappy hi-fi with a brick for a needle, one of the first albums I bought!"
- Andy Xport, underground music legend.

"Have just heard about Rick Wright - very sad news. Pink Floyd were way beyond being merely legendary."
- Angelo Gravity/Andy Savage, underground music and poetry legend.

"Pity that Rick had to go so suddenly."
- Andy Bruce, Ascension New Age Directory webmaster.

Pink Floyd Concert DVDs

 Buy Pink Floyd DVDs here:

Pink Floyd Albums Discography
(These albums, and DVDs and books, are available from - in association with and links are in italics, links are in non-italics!)

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
A Saucerful of Secrets

Soundtrack from the Film More (1969)

Ummagumma (1969)

Atom Heart Mother (1970)

Atom Heart Mother (1970)
Atom Heart Mother

Meddle (1971)


Obscured By Clouds (1972)
Obscured by Clouds

The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Dark Side of the Moon - 30th Anniversary Edition
Dark Side Of The Moon
Dark Side of the Moon 30th Anniversary Edition


Wish You Were Here (1975)
Wish You Were Here

Animals (1977)

The Wall (1979)
The Wall
Pink Floyd - The Wall 25th Anniversary

The Final Cut (1983)
The Final Cut


A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
A Momentary Lapse of Reason

The Division Bell (1994)
The Division Bell

Pink Floyd - The Endless River





Live Pink Floyd CD

Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988)

Various Pink Floyd CDs

Product image for ASIN: B000069KDX
The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Pink Floyd

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Pink Floyd's 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' at iTunes

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