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Did you know that there have been numerous references to Pink Floyd in The Simpsons? For example, in one of the episodes, Bart can be seen trying to play Echoes on guitar, but is interrupted by Nelson. Did you know that Pink Floyd needed 49 trucks to move all the things necessary for the Division Bell tour? Did you know that the name of the Pink Floyd Division Bell album was suggested by Douglas Adams, the author of the cult classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
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Pink Floyd Biography

Obscured by clouds (1968 - 1972)

Roger Waters a gongIn the late sixties, Pink Floyd designed a concept of their live shows. Originality on the stage has always been one of the band's great qualities. It had its roots in the almost theatrical style of their More Furious Madness From The Messed Gadges Of Auximines gigs, where the show had two parts, The Man and The Journey, and consisted of songs from the first two albums as well as new tracks written for the More OST and later released as an album of the same name. The names of the songs were changed to more scary ones for the show. The roadies put a table on the stage during the show and made tea. Then they turned on a small radio and let the fans listen to it via microphone while the band drank the tea.

Pink Floyd continued experimenting when recording their subsequent double album named Ummagumma, which is slang for sexual intercourse used by Cambridge students and brought to London by the members of Pink Floyd. The first LP contained four songs recorded live at Mother's, Birmingham in the late 1969, while the second LP was divided into four parts and each was recorded by a different member of Pink Floyd. Waters' track was named Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict, which is perhaps the longest name for a rock song ever. The song itself could be one of the craziest. Waters used various synth-generated animal sounds, played them at different speeds and from many directions, recorded them and then recited his lyrics over it using Scottish accent. By that time, Gilmour wrote his first song for the band. The three-part The Narrow Way is considered a significant and very good piece.

After the successful collaboration with the makers of More, Pink Floyd were chosen by Michelangelo Antonioni to compose the score for his new movie Zabriskie Point. However, no matter how hard Pink Floyd tried, none of the themes they wrote was good enough for Antonioni. In the end, he only chose two songs and a cover of an older song called Careful With That Axe, Eugene, which was renamed to Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up for the film and which contains Waters' screaming. It accompanied the final exploding building scene.

The experimental style Pink Floyd adopted in the early seventies led to unusual things. Pink Floyd even participated in writing music for a ballet. Perhaps it was this experience that inspired the twenty-minute Atom Heart Mother, which was unheard of at that time and was an attempt to do "something big" from Pink Floyd. It seems to be written for an orchestra. One of its working titles was A Theme From An Imaginary Western and some of its string and choir parts are really majestic. It made the whole A side of the LP, overshadowing the B side, which contained just as interesting, but much more conventional pieces. There is a notorious story about the origin of the album's name. By that time, Pink Floyd collaborated with radio speaker John Peel, who liked to air new, original songs including Atom Heart Mother which, however, had no name then. When Pink Floyd came to the studio and were asked by Peel about the name, they suddenly realized it had none. Finally they chose to use some newspaper headline and they picked on an article about the possibility of cardiac pacemakers being driven by nuclear energy. That is how the album got the name it's got.

The other unusual thing about the album is the artwork. Pink Floyd decided to use something that has nothing to do with the music. They wanted something normal, ordinary, but not too ordinary, because that would make the album indistinctive. Storm Thorgerson and his Hipgnosis art design group got a special task and did very well. After a bit of thinking, Storm decided to drive his car and take a picture of the first thing he runs into. Coincidentally, he went along a pasture, where cows were grazing... The beauty's name is Lulubella III. and its owner claimed he had gotten £ 3.000 from Thorgerson for letting him take the picture. Storm denied that, saying he had no idea why "he would pay such an amount of money to some farmer for his damn cow."

The ear intercepting sound waves shown as circles on water is the artwork of another great Pink Floyd album, Meddle. Reportedly, the name is a wordplay on the words "to meddle" and "medal." The album's core consists of two lengthy instrumental pieces, first being the scary One Of These Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), which is influenced by Carefully With That Axe, Eugene. The other is a song called Echoes, which is the entire B side. The original aim was to record various musical themes and then choose one and use it, but in the end Echoes consist of 24 different themes that merge into each other. The working titles included names such as Nothing, Part 1-24 or Return Of The Son Of Nothing, which is a reference to a Japanese horror film character. Many people consider Echoes the best song ever recorded by Pink Floyd.

The band enjoyed the peak of its creativity at the time and its members got along with each other with ease. Waters acted as the leader of Pink Floyd, but the other musicians kept largely anonymous, so that hardly any fans knew their names or anything about them.

In 1972, Pink Floyd wrote and recorded the musical score for a movie called La Vallée, which was distributed in English-speaking countries as Obscured By Clouds, and later released the soundtrack as an album of the same name. The album has now largely fallen into oblivion, but is significant for many reasons, the most important being the fact that it is the first Pink Floyd album not to be heavily influenced by the style of Syd Barrett. Years after Syd left, Pink Floyd music sounded as if he co-wrote it. In the seventies, Syd kept recording music with the help of David Gilmour as a producer. He started a band called The Stars, which only existed for several weeks. The quality of his albums was decreasing and soon it was clear that Syd was not able to play anymore. He became a fat bald man, who was intrested in abstract art rather than music and from the early seventies to his death in 2006 he lived in suburban Cambridge, not keeping in touch with anyone.

The other significant thing about Obscured By Clouds is that it became both musically and lyrically the base of the phenomenal Dark Side Of The Moon album.


English version by:
Vít Benešovský, Jan "Johnny" Petrus

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