What are the essential Pink Floyd albums if I don't want them all?

Ben Motley

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Is this a trick question?

I think most all Floyd is essential, but must admit I have not gone any further than the Wall. Some of my favorites (other than Dark Side and Wall, as you said) are...
Meddle
Wish You Were Here
Animals
Relics
Saucerful of Secrets
Piper at the Gates of Dawn
I guess that about covers it, but really, you should leave no Floyd unturned.

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Philip Hamm

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In order of importance (in my opinion of course).....
Animals Is an absolute must.
Wish You Were Here
Meddle
I don't really like the super-psychedelic pre-Meddle stuff that much. I'm also lukewarm on the post-Waters stuff. If you find that you LOVE "Meddle" then try some of the earlier stuff. If you love "The Wall" then I recommend "The Final Cut" also, which is not universally loved, but is loved by me.

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[Edited last by Philip Hamm on October 11, 2001 at 08:01 AM]
 

Darren H

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I'm with Richard. Go buy Animals, then listen to it four or five times before passing judgement. If your only experience with Pink Floyd is DSotM and The Wall, then you might not know what to make of Animals at first.
I went through my Pink Floyd phase when I was beginning high school -- about the time that Momentary Lapse of Reason came out. Now, the only albums I listen to are Animals and The Final Cut, which I think includes Waters best song-writing.
 

Grant B

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Their 1st 2 albums (the lps were combined as "a nice pair") Saucerful of Secrets & Piper at the Gates of Dawn, are very different then their later stuff. Syd Barrett (Syd as in A-syd or Acid) wents Bonkers from his favorite drug after this and left the group to go live with his mom and stare into space a lot. He has put a few solo albums out in the past 30 years but not much else.
The songs are mostly shorter (2 or 3 minutes), very 60s pop in a very twisted (see nameplay above) way.
I like them a lot but they are different than the classic Pink Floyd of "Money & Wish you were here" fame
Just a little note so you know what to expect
Grant
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tyler O

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The above are all true, except I have little desire for the post Waters (after The Final Cut) albums as they just sound like they plugged the Pink Floyd formula into a soulless machine. But that's just my opinion. Many others feel very differently... I would like to add UmmaGumma to the list and reccommend you try to track down Live at Pompeii on LD or VHS if need be. Some beautiful music lies there and well worth checking out. This stuff was before DSotM and shows, again imho, what they can really do live. Or could. Anything and everything from Atom Heart Mother to The Final Cut (at least the Wall) are worth getting and listening to over and over. I have well over 40 cds, a large number live as you can guess, and Floyd just gets better every time you listen. If you like it that is. I must say that probably of all songs that they have put out, I despise Money. Only because of, to me, the symbolism inherent and how it affected the band and hearing Gilmour and Co. perform it live and how that ...
I'm stopping now.
Buy. Listen. Listen again. Enjoy.
-edit- I'm not dissing the early stuff. I love the Barrett era and the eperimental era. Their soundtrack stuff (More, Obscured by Clouds, Zabriskie Point...) has some wonderful moments in it. I can't think of one album that doesn't have at least one excellent must own superlative moment on it. Even after Waters left there is some gold in there. It's all good. Some is the best though...

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[Edited last by tyler O on October 11, 2001 at 11:18 AM]
 

LarryDavenport

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Don't forget Atom Heart Mother! Their most underated album.
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Rain

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I'll throw in a second (or third) for The Final Cut. Easily, Pink Floyd's (and Waters') finest moment, though unfortunately not appreciated as such.
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Jack Gilvey

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quote: I have little desire for the post Waters (after The Final Cut) albums as they just sound like they plugged the Pink Floyd formula into a soulless machine. [/quote]
Also agree. The only thing that makes them "Pink Floyd" albums is a court decision.
quote: I'll throw in a second (or third) for The Final Cut. Easily, Pink Floyd's (and Waters') finest moment, though unfortunately not appreciated as such.[/quote]
Can't argue there, although I am a fan of Waters' solo stuff (of which I consider TFC a part). You've got to give it time, though, there's no "Money" or "Comfortably Numb" here.
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[Edited last by Jack Gilvey on October 11, 2001 at 01:35 PM]
 

Jonathan Burk

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I was on my way to Amazon to buy "Animals", when I see they have a greatest hits 2-CD set coming out. I've always had the impression that Pink Floyd was more of an album band, and best heard in long-form. Do any of you Floyd fans have an opinion on this set? Are the tracks a good sample, or should I stick to albums?
 

Philip Hamm

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Stick to the albums. Particularly "Animals" which doesn't have a single weak moment.
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tyler O

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From Dark Side on, all of their albums were presented as cohesive wholes. Splitting them up would be like watching a Cinemascope movie Pan 'N Scan. It doesn't do justice to the whole piece. Period. The earlier stuff is a little more fractured, but there are some wonderful pieces and slight segues not really noticable upon a casual listen. I cannot find a definitive track listing just yet, I don't think Capitol/EMI has released it yet. I do feel that 2 of their greatest, if not their greatest works of all, Atom Heart Mother and Echoes (the songs, each weighing in at around 23 + minutes) will not both be on there, but who knows. It is named Ehcoes... Those two songs are masterpieces of music and well worth any listen. I almost think of DSoTM, WYWH, Animals, Wall, and TFC as singular songs, that's why my earlier comment about splitting them up...
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andrew markworthy

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Returning to the original question, the albums can be divided into three phases:
The Early Ones: all the ones up to and including Atom Heart Mother/Ummagumma (sorry, can't recall which is later in the list). Hard-line music critics (particularly in the UK) tend to regard these as the best and most creative. However, unless you are really into sixties psychedelia, they may leave you a bit cold.
The Middle Ones: these are generally what people consider to be 'classic Floyd' and they are the ones which any self-respecting music fan in the 70s owned:
Meddle
Dark Side of the Moon
Obscured by Clouds
Wish You Were Here
Animals
The Wall
The exception is Obscured by Clouds, which is music for a movie of the same name, and is pretty forgettable with the exception of 'What's The Deal?' which is one of there best and most under-rated tunes and lyrics.
Incidentally, most of the music for Animals (and indeed some of the lyrics) were written at the same time as Wish Your Were Here.
The Late Ones: these are generally less well-liked; if you really like the middle period Floyd I'd advise you to start on the studio albums chronologically and stop when you dislike them (they arguably get weaker the more recent they are). The live albums, however, are excellent and can be firmly recommended (but largely because they cover a lot of the classic Floyd era).
 

Wayne Bundrick

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You must have Wish You Were Here and Animals, the two albums between Dark Side and The Wall. Animals is Pink Floyd's most underrated album. This is the band in peak performance, hitting on all cylinders with equal parts of collaboration by Waters, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason. It is the last Floyd album for which this would be true.
For everyone who already has Animals and loves it, pick up Les Claypool's Frog Brigade "Live Frogs Set 2" for an awesome live cover performance of the entire Animals album. It absolutely rocks!
I have nothing against the post-Waters Floyd. Of course they are not the same band without Waters, but under the leadership of David Gilmour the band has gone in a different direction, as it did before when Syd Barrett departed. It is not fair to say that Roger Waters was the only force of creativity in Pink Floyd.
 

Scott H

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I started listening to PF in 79, when I was 10. I listened to them almost daily through college, saw them (and Waters) live several times, collected rare recordings and artwork, and I too feel The Final Cut is not only my favorite PF album but a masterpiece independent of who recorded it. I have long believed some of the greatest art comes from the most difficult situations, and this final rough collaboration between Waters and Gilmour, and sans Richard Wright, is indicative of that.
While I did listen to it at the time, and saw the concerts for A Momentary Lapse of Reason, it hasn't held up over time for me near as well as Roger Waters' stuff, in particular The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking, and certain selections from other works (especially in light of the recent events, Amused to Death deals with US and British military alliances against terrorism in the Middle East, featuring a track like The Bravery of Being Out of Range, and was released a decade ago).
Regarding Animals, also a great album, years ago my girlfriend was baffled by my immediate stopping of our rental car on the south side of the Thames and staring for a while at the large brick structure on the other side... I think I uttered (pun intended) "do you know what that is!?"...
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[Edited last by Scott H on October 13, 2001 at 03:11 PM]
 

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