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Did you know that in the Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii video during the song One of These Days a drumstick slips out of Nick Mason’s hand? Nick continues drumming with just one drumstick furiously while fumbling for the other with the other hand. Did you know that the last song Nick Mason co-wrote is, according to the credits, Any Colour You Like from 1973? Did you know that Rick Wright is Guy Pratt’s father- in- law?
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Pink Floyd Biography

On the dark side of the moon (1972 - 1977)

Roger Waters v zákulisí před koncertem v Palace de Sports 29.11.1972"There is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark..." A quote from Pink Floyd's most successful album and one of the most successful albums of all time. More than 40 million copies of Dark Side Of The Moon have been sold all over the world and more than 30 years after its original release it is considered a cult classic. Waters' creativity proved by Obscured By Clouds showed even better in key tracks that make the core of the album, which - although it contains hits like Money, then most played track on American radio stations - surprised the world by its originality and concept. It was the linking of the songs, which have much in common both thematically and musically, that made the album a world phenomenon. Concept albums later became Waters' trademark. The most dominant lyrical theme of the album is mental illness, and all the things, that can drive a man insane. There are references to Syd Barett's story as well, notably in the song Brain Damage. In the beginning, the album did not seem to be anything extraordinary. But while every other album's sales decreased in time, DSOTM sold better and better. When according to statistics, every single family in the UK owned a copy, the album kept selling. And it still does.

Dark Side Of The Moon, from the opening track Speak To Me to the last one, Eclipse, deals with the pressure people have to cope with. It contains elements of musique concréte, not strictly musical sounds, spoken word, laughter and so on. That is partly because Waters was inspired by the ideas of people he had interviewed near the Abbey Road studios, and whose answers he had recorded. This way he got the mad laughter that can be heard on the album, or Jerry Driscoll's "prophecy" mentioned in the beginning of this article. Waters' questions about life and death, insanity and the pressure the world imposes on man were even answered by Paul McCartney, but Pink Floyd chose not to use his answers for being too long and philosophic.

The album artwork is notorious. Storm Thorgerson and his Hipgnosis art design group designed a cover that in his own words symbolizes infinity. The front cover shows a prism dispersing light into a rainbow with the violet colour purposely misplaced. The rainbow draws to the back cover, where another prism joins the colours back together, which is impossible in reality, so that the simple, yet impressive artwork features a single infinite beam of light.

Another Pink Floyd invention was the circular screen the band started to use in 1974 to screen photos and later videos, which accompanied the songs.

After the huge, unexpected success of the Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd had to deal with a problem: what to do next? It seemed like there was no way to go even better. The band was struck by indifference and resignation. They seemed not only to be surprised by the immense success, but hurt. Pink Floyd were getting tired by questions like "What can you say of the great success of DSOTM?" that they were asked again and again. They performed plenty of gigs, including the American tour, but were not very creative then. But soon, someone made them start all over again. A journalist, editor of a women's magazine, was asked to interview Pink Floyd. Just his very first question got the band, well, amazed. The man said: "OK, which of you guys is Pink?"The answer came with the next album.

According to Waters, Wish You Were Here should have been called Wish WE Were Here. The album was recorded in the summer of 1974, which was extremely hot. It is said that it was the tiring heat and the effort to show everyone that Pink Floyd were not just Dark Side Of The Moon, that most influenced the final shape of the album. The first half of the album is Waters' Shine On You Crazy Diamond, an opus about Syd. Its lyrics are perhaps the clearest reference to Syd's heritage ever made by Pink Floyd. Then they didn't know Syd was actually very near to them. None of them knew what Syd looked like anymore, since they hadn't seen him for years. When a fat bald man with a white plastic bag in his hand walked into the studio, everyone considered him to be an EMI employee. After some time the man had spent sitting in the studio with them, Waters whispered into Gilmour's ear: "God, look at that guy, you know who he is?"
"No, ain't got a clue," said David.
"Look more carefully, that is Syd!"
Gilmour was moved, but Waters is said to have "cried like a fool" when he found out who the fat, bald person was. Syd explained the way he looked quite laconically: "I got a big fridge at home and I eat a lot of pork chops." Then he offered to work with them.

In the end, when the band had repeated a few bars of Shine On You Crazy Diamond a number of times and wanted the sound engineer to play it once more, Syd, who had been listening to it and did not realize that the song was actually about him, asked a mysterious and nearly philosophical question: "Why do you want to hear the song again? I thought you had already listened to it." Then he left and none of the musicians ever saw him again.

The Wish You Were Here album is extraordinary in many ways. For example, the vocals in Have A Cigar ale delivered by a hired singer, whose name was Roy Harper. Another special thing is that the song Wish You Were Here itself had its lyrics done before the music, as the only song in the entire Pink Floyd discography. The album also has sort of a concept (actually, all of the Pink Floyd albums since Dark Side had some kind of a concept.) In this case it were the feelings of alienation, loss, loneliness and emptiness, along with the pressure the music industry applies on musicians to make them write more songs and to make the songs even better than the last ones. Obviously, this was influenced by the Dark Side Of The Moon album experience... The alienation was reflected even by the album's artwork, which seemed to be absent. The LP was covered in black plastic film with a sticker, which showed a circle divided into quarters, that represented the four elements and two robotic hands. The actual artwork under the film shows two men shaking hands in front of film studios. One of the men is on fire, but he doesn't seem to mind the flames...

The band's later work was influenced by the boom of punk. It is well known that the British scene was hit by punk more than any other. It was partly because of the fact that punk always reflected the political situation of the country. After the both politically and economically prosperous sixties, an economic crisis hit Britain and the social class distinction, once nearly abolished, appeared again and was easily seen. The "hollering lads from the streets" wanted to affect their environment much more than they were allowed to by the government. That is how a new style, that influenced even reputable musicians such as Pink Floyd, arose. The punks started to call them dinosaurs, who crush everyone else with their million dollar incomes and sold out stadiums. They were called fat old geezers, and the punks more or less rejected them (although they admired the works of Syd Barrett.) Bands such as Pink Floyd or Rolling Stones naturally wanted to answer to that and they started to make both the lyrics and the music much "harder. "When we compare the sensitive Wish You Were Here with the next album, it seems to be more than just a two years difference!

continuation

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


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