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Pink Floyd


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#1 of 54 OFFLINE   Jason L.

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Posted January 06 2003 - 06:01 PM

I am looking for some opinions from people who were around when Pink Floyd was in their prime, specifically the Big 4 albums [Dark Side of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall].

I am 31, and have only recently delved into their work. I was too young to be there during this period. I barely remember The Wall. I never got into their music at the time, because I always thought it was "stoner music".

Listening to it now, the one thing I can't figure out is: How did they ever become commercially popular? I am not talking about the quality of the music. Their music is so introspective and thought-provoking that I can't imagine how it ever became commercially popular. Most of their songs are complicated, dark, and depressing. Sure, they have a few "Top 40" songs such as Money, Comfortably Numb, Another Brick in the Wall, etc. But these songs are definitely in the minority.

This has continued to confuse me, especially since this apprarently was the time when "Corporate Rock" began.

Was it the drugs? Enlighten me.

#2 of 54 OFFLINE   Eve T

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Posted January 06 2003 - 06:06 PM

I'm not a Pink Floyd fan but.....

You might get more responses in the music area.


#3 of 54 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 06 2003 - 07:31 PM

Jason, I guess this thread will get moved to the Music Area, but I may as well attempt a response before it gets there.

You've got to see PF in their historical context. At the time, pop music was divided into bubblegum pop (principally aimed at younger teenage girls), very middle of the road stuff, and sturm und drang heavy metal (Led Zep et al) with typically very braindead lyrics. PF and similar 'progressive rock' groups like Genesis, Greenslade, Yes, etc (plus Mike Oldfield, Tangerine Dream et al) offered a rather more cerebral alternative. They became hugely popular with students as a result. If you were flattering yourself that you're an intellectual, listening to the music of PF, Genesis et al was in effect a sign of this without appearing desperately uncool by listening to classical music. I thus suspect that in some cases, people bought the albums as a fashion statement (but this is no more true that students in later cohorts who bought stuff by the Smiths and similar). In addition, prog rock arrived at about the time that reasonably good hi-fi (and headphones) was becoming available at a cheap price (it was the era of the 'music centre' if you remember those hideous things). Prog rock was considered ideal for showing off its virtues. Oh yes, and it's nigh-on impossible to dance to most prog rock, so a lot of very introverted students liked it.

On top of this, the tunes were often good, the lyrics slightly better than average (certainly well above the typical stuff in the singles chart), and the musical structures rather more demanding than the basic four to the floor. This all appealed *at the time*. Later cohorts found new areas of appeal. Speaking personally, I like some of these, but none will ever match my liking for prog rock because that was the first thing that appealed. I guess the same will be true for every cohort - your first musical likings will nearly always remain your fondest.

And contrary to what you might think, 70s students were not all on drugs (I certainly wasn't).

#4 of 54 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted January 06 2003 - 08:46 PM

Quote:
Jason, I guess this thread will get moved to the Music Area..
Yep.

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#5 of 54 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted January 06 2003 - 11:41 PM

Quote:
I never got into their music at the time, because I always thought it was "stoner music".


This line has got me cracking up, because at least in my experience, friends that I have who I would call "stoners" love Floyd. That is not to say Floyd has an exclusivity with drug users, but I think that helped them gain popularity in a counter culture sort of way at the time. Rock Music in general that is hugely popular seems to always involve topics that buck the current mainstream trends, whether those people who support the music outright support the trends they are trying to buck or not.

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#6 of 54 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted January 07 2003 - 12:28 AM

Pink Floyd started in the 60s as a drug band, bigtime.

If you like the depth of PF lyrics, pick up "The Final Cut". It's one of my personal favorite PF albums.

If you like thoughtful lyrics, seek out the music of Bruce Cockburn.
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#7 of 54 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 07 2003 - 02:08 AM

Quote:
If you like the depth of PF lyrics, pick up "The Final Cut". It's one of my personal favorite PF albums.

It's my favorite, actually. Most Floyd fans I've met don't really like it, devoid of "hits" as it is. I consider it a Waters solo work...a very good thing.
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#8 of 54 OFFLINE   Sheldon

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Posted January 07 2003 - 02:23 AM

I have a big PF fan for many years and I just find that their music style and lyrics tell a story unlike most,if not all,of today's music.Gilmour and Waters are fantastic story tellers that force you to listen to what they have to say.I picked up Water's In The Flesh DVD and I found it to be amazing...I also picked up Gilmour's latest DVD and although it is very different than what I expected,I found it to be equally as good.Gilmours guitar work is still as haunting as ever.I just wish that the two of them would reunite for I think that their is still plenty for the two of them to write about.

#9 of 54 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted January 07 2003 - 02:48 AM

I think part of their popularity was that they were so mysterious. I remember as a kid that no one really was sure what they looked like. Here's a band who's "Dark Side Of The Moon" album held the record, I believe, for selling the most copies (until broken by Michael Jackson's Thriller) and they could walk down a public street and not get noticed. Pretty amazing, really.

And the music was good, too. Posted Image

#10 of 54 OFFLINE   Larry Geller

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Posted January 07 2003 - 05:20 AM

They were strictly a cult band until the day Dark Side Of The Moon was released. Then, everything changed completely. It was played non-stop on FM radio & then people started delving into back catalog (aided by the release of A Nice Pair the following year, which restored their first 2 out of print LPs to the catalog). From this point on they became huge.
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#11 of 54 OFFLINE   Dave Morton

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Posted January 07 2003 - 06:34 AM

My personal favorite is Animals. I think the songs and lyrics work on many different levels.

I never understood the term "stoner music". I'm certainly not a stoner, but I do like music with some "groove" and long guitar solos, etc.
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#12 of 54 OFFLINE   Justin Lane

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Posted January 07 2003 - 06:54 AM

Quote:
I never understood the term "stoner music".

The song Comfortably Numb. Enough said.

Though I have never been to a Floyd concert, from everyone I know who has gone, it was described as a grass fest if you know what I mean. I guess if you never went to one of their concerts, and only experienced them through their records and radio you might not have a great understanding of their whole scene, but initially and I suppose still today to some extent, they are a "stoner" group.

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#13 of 54 OFFLINE   Jeff Pryor

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Posted January 07 2003 - 08:11 AM

I started listening to Floyd in '83. I was 15 and The Final Cut was my first Floyd album. Starting from there, I worked my way back album by album to Piper At the Gates of Dawn. During those teen years of mine, listening to Floyd every day, I didn't even use drugs and still thought the music was great. Now that it's 20 years later and I've become a smoker, their music is even better.
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#14 of 54 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 07 2003 - 10:36 AM

[quote]I remember as a kid that no one really was sure what they looked like.

I assume you never saw the inner gatefold sleeve of Meddle.

#15 of 54 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted January 07 2003 - 01:58 PM

Quote:
I guess the same will be true for every cohort - your first musical likings will nearly always remain your fondest.

quite true. I am "unfortunately" a child of the 80s (i.e. a teen during the 80s, am now 33), and will always have a soft spot for Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, and other of the New Wave/New Romantics "movement" (cringe, horrors!)

I only "discovered" Floyd when in university, around 1991 I think as my roommate was a Floyd fan. I started "lite" with Delicate Sound of Thunder as a sampler (since he had it), then got DSotM, WYWH and Wall (more or less that order) and haven't looked back since. for some reason, I still don't "get" Animals, perhaps I haven't played it enough since I only acquired a copy recently.

my main "regret" is never having seen them live, and now I guess I never will.

another "problem" is that Floyd seem to be unique. there isn't anything out there that I've heard that is remotely similar. some have suggested Radiohead, in particular OK Computer, but I must respectfully disagree, I picked up a copy of this and it's not to my taste.

a bit like that other "unique" and irreplaceable band I suppose, Queen, whom I "discovered" in the 80s and am still a fan of.

#16 of 54 OFFLINE   Mark C.

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Posted January 07 2003 - 03:53 PM

I saw The Wall concerts three times in 1980 as well as the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour in 1988. While the latter concert was excellent, it just wasn't the same without Waters.

Floyd started as a cult band in the London Underground when Syd Barrett was the heart and soul of the band. When he left (or was forced out) because of drug use/mental illness _ take your pick _ the band had no direction for a few years. It was around the time of Meddle in 1971 that Roger Waters began the style of writing that became very familiar over the course of the decade.

Waters has always been perceived as a bit of a crank, although he has mellowed in recent years. Gilmour comes off a bit more civil than Waters, but he has shown his stubborness over the years as well.

These two are like oil and vinegar: neither one is all that appealing alone, but a blend of the two is a delight.

Somewhere in the 1970s (after DSOTM hit it big), Floyd went from being Underground to Corporate. Go figure.

#17 of 54 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

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Posted January 07 2003 - 04:05 PM

The drug association with Pink Floyd came from when they first started as a psychedelic band in the 60s. Hallucinigenics and marijuana were focal points of that sub-culture and directly influenced the music.

Progressive rock eventually derived from that, but the drugs became an optional accessory, not the focus. Pink Floyd is one of the few, and only popular, band to have been able to cross that bridge from psych to prog.


As for their popularity, despite the sometimes cryptic and intellectual nature of the music, albums like Dark Side of the Moon still have plenty of melody and hooks. Basically, there is something for everybody.

With Meddle and especially with Dark Side, Floyd stopped being experimental for its own sake, hunkered down, and made complete, coherent albums. It seems like they changed their attitude from "let's put anything on there that amuses us" (second disc of Umagumma) to more perfectionist album approach.

While I do like some of their early stuff, I most definitely prefer Dark Side, Meddle, Animals, and Wish You Were Here over anything else they did.

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#18 of 54 OFFLINE   Henry Carmona

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Posted January 07 2003 - 05:39 PM

If you want stoner music, id suggest
Atom Heart Mother, Ummagumma, Meddle, and my favorite, Animals!!

Yeah some are more coherent, but that doesnt mean they arent friggin weird Posted Image

Ditto on Wish You Were Here, that album rocks!!
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#19 of 54 OFFLINE   L. Anton Dencklau

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Posted January 07 2003 - 06:07 PM

..

#20 of 54 OFFLINE   Dave Morton

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Posted January 08 2003 - 01:28 AM

--------------------------------------------------------
Though I have never been to a Floyd concert, from everyone I know who has gone, it was described as a grass fest if you know what I mean. I guess if you never went to one of their concerts, and only experienced them through their records and radio you might not have a great understanding of their whole scene, but initially and I suppose still today to some extent, they are a "stoner" group.
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I saw Floyd during the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour and didn't think there were any more drugs there than any other rock concert I've been to. Now I've seen the Grateful Dead many times and that is a grass fest. I would hardly call Floyd stoner music. I've seen the Talking Heads and there were plenty of drugs going around for that show too. I guess they are a stoner group as well Posted Image
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