Pink Floyd came together in 1964 when they found themselves on the same bill as another band with the same name, singer-guitarist Syd Barrett suggested The Pink Floyd Sound, inspired by his two favorite blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. In 1966, Barrett and his bandmates, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Bob Klose and Rick Wright, formed a partnership with their managers, Peter Jenner and Andrew King. Soon after, the first Pink Floyd singles appeared in England: “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play,” both 1967. The same year also brought their first album, The Piper at the Gates Of Dawn. Mostly written by Syd, the LP’s psychedelic nature belied his rampant drug addiction, which rapidly cost him both his mental and physical health. In January 1968, Barrett was replaced by guitarist David Gilmour.
Although they had two U.S. hit singles, Pink Floyd was really an album band , with worldwide sales of over 250 million LPs and CDs including 75 million certified units in the United States. They specialized in their own kind of arty, philosophical “progessive rock.”
Pink Floyd’s string of gold and platium albums began in 1969 with Ummagumma and continued with Atom Heart Mother a year later. Meddle in 1971, Obscured By Clouds in 1972 and Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973. The latter, the first Pink Floyd LP to top the U.S. album charts, remained on the Hit Parade for a record 74 weeks. It also featured the group’s first U.S. hit single, “Money,” in the summer of 1973.
Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here reached #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. Two years later Animals went platinum four times over. Then in 1979, along came The Wall, a rock opera Waters wrote to express his growing alienation from both fans and his fellow band members. In concert, he even ordered a multi-story wall of huge blocks slowly built at the edge of the stage until the band was entirely hidden from sight. It was such an expensive stunt that Pink Floyd actually lost money every time they staged it, including a memorable performance at the Berlin Wall.
The Wall spent 15 weeks atop the U.S. album charts and spawned the 1980 #1 hit single “Another Brick in the Wall Part II.” It featured a children’s chorus made up of students from a school not far from the recording studio. A film version of The Wall was released in 1982.
Since then, the group has released three more platinum albums: The Final Cut in 1983, A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987 and The Division Bell in 1994.
Pink Floyd won a Grammy in 1995 for best “Rock Instrumental Performance, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.