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Pink Floyd at 50: more reader memories Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Syd Bacon conquering his fear of Pink Floyd!Our page marking the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd and asking for your thoughts, feelings and memories has resulted in a very healthy (and welcomed) response! Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the proper beginning of The Pink Floyd, with the band using that name for the first time in 1965. Of course, they weren't quite settled on it at the time, and at various points during the year they reverted to The Tea Set, before finally deciding on the name the world came to know the band under. Unusually for a band that has been around for such a long time, the line-up barely changed over the years. In 1965, around the time Syd conjured up the name, they had Rado "Bob" Klose, guitarist, amongst their ranks, but Rado left them before they signed to EMI and turned professional.

We'd still love to hear what you think on the band's golden anniversary. What have been your Pink Floyd highlights - either the moments in their career you consider most significant, or the moments you remember best on a personal level? Did you see them live? Any special memories of that, or of hearing any of the albums for the first time? Any amusing stories? And, have you ever met any of the band? If so, please share the experience for those who haven't!

Below we've collated some more of the responses, but look forward to hearing from you if you've yet to join in with your memories. You can either email us at the normal address ( This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ), or join the conversation over at the Brain Damage Facebook page or our Twitter page. We're looking forward to seeing your responses!

Thoughts (and picture) from BD contributor, Syd Bacon:

While I was only 10 when the American The Wall shows happened, I was fortunate enough to see them during the 88 and 94 tours. Both shows were in Foxboro Massachusetts (USA) and both shows were incredible experiences. But my Floyd story isn't about show attendance, but how they were inextricably tied to my life from an extremely early age...

When Dark Side came out I was 3 years old. My father had it when it was new and played it quite often throughout the 70's and 80's. Some of my earliest memories in life are those of hearing the sounds of that album. However, these are not entirely fond memories as the heartbeat, maniacal laughter and strange sound effects would literally send me screaming in terror running to the arms of my grandmother. The image of the prism became the icon of fear to my subconscious. Shortly after hearing DSOM, my dad went out and picked up Meddle. Upon hearing One Of These Days only one time, I was pretty convinced that these musicians were intent on scaring the $h!t out of children.

Eventually I came to terms with this ridiculous phobia and by the time I was 16, the sounds of that album along with the entire Floyd catalog could often be found permeating my bedroom (in addition to some other 'permeations'). Perhaps there is something Freudian about my obsession with a band which was the source of such childhood trauma. Today, there is literally an entire corner of my home dedicated to my Floyd collection which continues to expand.

Syd also sent us the picture to the top right from circa 1976/77 as his father was attempting to coax him into conquering that fear.

Thoughts from BD contributor, Ray West:

It's Ray (West) here from Calgary (Canada) sharing my Floyd memories, etc.! By the way, continued success to your site, which I've personally followed for 20 years now, almost daily! In any case - Pink Floyd are undoubtedly my favorite band of all time, since age 12, if not mistaken...

I first heard my cousin's copy of "The Dark Side Of The Moon" in 1975 in Kamloops, British Columbia (Canada) & was immediately taken by and blown away by its effects... it annoyed my auntie so much that she demanded I remove it from the record player - but - mischievous me I went and put it back on, "Speak To Me" resonating throughout the house!

I saw Floyd on the "Momentary Lapse" tour in Vancouver, December 10th 1987, at B.C. Place Stadium. Still the best show I've ever seen to date amongst many shows I've attended. The clouds of pot smoke filling the venue during the 20-minute intermission break that night! I was mesmerized by the quad sound and pinpoint green lighting effects during "Yet Another Movie"! The cost of the ticket was $26.75 Cdn... I own just about every book on Floyd there is I'm thinking! Thank you for letting me share!

Thoughts and picture from BD contributor, Thierry Carne:

Pink Floyd Chantilly poster, 1994Back in 1989, I'm 16. I'm listening to French singers since A-ha, Duran Duran and Talk Talk have disappeared from French radios. My main hobby: playing drums in my bedroom. This night in July, prime time is over and my elder brother Claude insists we watch a concert of Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd? I only know Money and Another Brick... OK, so we changed the tv channel.

I will remember all my life the scream from my mouth: "ouhaaaa la batterie!!" (what a drum kit!!) when I see Gary Wallis jumping to hit his drums! Gary Wallis, Nick Mason and my brother made me fall in love with Pink Floyd and I will never stop loving them all. Too bad they played at 80km from my house...1 year earlier!

WYWH is the first album that I bought. I don't remember why but I remember the first time I heard Welcome to the Machine. I was lying on my bed, carried in space by the music.

I remember the evening in December '93 when I found the advert for the Division Bell French tour at the back of the TV guide, the drawing of the man with the stone (see the picture). One week later my brother and I had the ticket for the 30/07/1994 show. It was a very warm and hot evening with full of highlights like the thunder mellowing with the fireworks!

I saw Roger in concert in 2002 and 2011 and the Brit Floyd last year.

I remember at the release of The Division Bell, RTL the French radio station, played Wearing The Inside Out as a single before Take It Back became the official single!

Animals and Dark Side are my favourite albums. Learning To Fly Live (with the drums!) and Time my favourite songs. Talkin' Hawkin' my favourite song from Endless River. Broken China is the solo album that I love particularly.

Lately, the 2005 Reunion and The Endless River and Gilmour 2006 tour are the main events for me, with the sad deaths of Syd and Rick also. My regrets: the end of activities after 1994 and missing the Gilmour 2006 Tour.

50 years is a saga and I wish it's not over!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PINK FLOYD

Thoughts from BD contributor, Ian Clementson:

Moment I remember best on a personal level:
It has to be the concert at Wembley stadium in London on 6/8/88 (I posted a long review of this in BDs pages previously, so I won't ramble on too much here). A friend got me in to Pink Floyd about a year before this show and gradually though that year I basically became obsessed with them. By the time the concert came round I was like a kid on Christmas morning; I was only 17 and had that typical teenage over-excitement. Seeing them walk out on stage, I just couldn't believe it. After listening, reading and watching old footage of them (which was very hard to get back in 1988) through the previous year, I couldn't believe they were now standing in front of me. I was very close to the front too. And the concert? It was the first concert I ever went to and is still the best concert I have ever been to.

Oh and one more thing, when I found out Roger Waters shared the same birthday as me (6th September) I was pretty chuffed!

Did I see them live?
Yes, at the old Wembley as mentioned above, twice in 1989 at Docklands Arena, the Knebworth show in 1990, Roger Waters The Wall live in Berlin and also also the "new" Wall shows twice in Sydney and once at the new Wembley stadium.

They were all great shows, but the first one in 1988 has to be the best as I didn't know what to expect. The last time seeing Roger Waters at Wembley was quite moving for me though, as I had really strong (and quite sad) feelings that my Pink Floyd journey had come full circle, as my first live experience with them was at the old Wembley in '88 and here I was again, seeing what would most likely be my last opportunity to see a full scale show by a Pink Floyd member at the same (but renewed) venue some 25 years later. I was very emotional and this rubbed off on my 2 sisters who were with me. It was a celebration but also very sad to have that feeling of "this is the end".

Most significant moments in their career:
I guess there are too many to mention. The obvious ones are the release (and success) of Dark Side of the Moon; the scale of the original Wall Live shows; their pioneering use of sound effects and recording methods; the recording and release of Echoes to list but a few. For me though, I'd have to say the most significant period would be 1969-1972. The way they survived the loss of Syd Barrett and the emergence of Roger Waters as principal song writer and "ideas man" was astounding. The way their sound evolved during this period (due largely in part, I believe, to the interplay of atmospherics between Dave Gilmour and Rick Wright) was also fantastic. The variation in their style and sound was huge in this 4 year period - it's hard to believe the release of Atom Heart Mother and DSOTM are only 3 years apart. Also, if you listen to or watch any live performances during this period, they are magnificent; obvious moments are the live disc in Ummagumma and the Pompeii film. This is the period I most wish I could have seen them live, when they were experimenting, finding their sound and gradually moving towards a future and level of success that no one would ever have predicted happening for them - probably the band least of all.

Memories of first listening of a particular album:
Dark Side of the Moon. Without any doubt. My first album of theirs was AMLOR in 1987, which prompted me to go out and buy their entire back catalogue the following week with my first ever pay packet! When I would be browsing record shops in my early teens, I'd always see DSOTM with it's instantly recognisable cover, and even though I hadn't heard it, you just knew it was something spooky, something special and something significant and heavyweight. When I bought all their albums in one hit, this was the first one I listened to. Instant reaction? "F*ck me!!". I can vividly remember it ending and me turning it over straight away and listening again. Sonic journey is an understatement. I hadn't heard anything like it and you've gotta remember this was in 1987 - we were well in to the digital age of super-duper sounds effects and recording techniques. To have heard that album for the first time in 1973 must have been something akin to seeing man make fire for the first time. How they made that album without a computer is, to me, quite frankly, baffling.

Any amusing stories?
Just a silly one that springs to mind: seeing them live for the first time I was only 17 and I remember having this weird fear that some random, crazy hippy in the crowd was gonna shoot me full of drugs!

Have I ever met any of the band?
Sadly no... I would love to meet Roger Waters (at 43 years of age, I must admit that pathetically, he is still my hero), but sometimes I think again, as we all know he can be a cantankerous old git at times (all part of his charm, right?) and I wouldn't want him to look down on me like an insect about to get squashed under his shoe. Then again, he seems to have mellowed a lot with age and his persona at the recent Wall shows was much more friendly and outgoing than say, the Roger at the Wall shows in 1980! So who knows, maybe one day...

So that's it! My thoughts on Pink Floyd turning 50. It's great that they're reaching such a wide audience and still selling albums in bucket loads (though you have to question EMI and their sheer amount of re-releases and re-packages). What's really significant is their influence on a lot of current bands - Tame Impala, Spiritualized, Secret Machines. There's a whole load of bands around today who without doubt have the influence of Pink Floyd running through their ears. Not a bad band to list as one of your influences, I think you'd agree?

Thoughts from BD contributor, Dave Carlin:

My Personal Floyd Story
I was introduced late, or early on, to the band depending on which perspective you look at it from. A long-since disappeared friend, who will never know how indebted to him I am, won me over with Echoes and TDSotM. This would be around 1977.

I don't remember in which order I subsequently bought the albums - all I do remember for certain is that I kept putting off buying Animals. Songs about sheep or some pigs surely weren't going to be all that riveting!

I missed the 'In The Flesh' Animals shows by what must have been just a few months but which with hindsight, I probably wasn't ready for. Nevertheless, I still look back on this period as having seriously missed out.

It was in around 1979 though that I read a piece in Sounds [or other weekly music paper] claiming that '...all of the Pink Floyd had been killed in a plane crash.' I was gutted and wrote to EMKA Productions, their management company at the time, to check if this was true and I eventually received a reply reassuring me that the band were still all very much alive. News of a new project about bricks began to appear in the music press, which soon was to become my first Floyd bought-on-day-of-release album.

Earls Court, 1980 was my first experience of seeing them perform live, although from some distance away. Unbelievably, less than a year later, I could witness the show again, close enough this time to clearly see the opening 'In The Flesh?' performed by the life-masked surrogate band. A live show experience that for me has never been bettered.

Following them through their mark lll line-up was, at the time, exciting but looking back now, my interest lies in their seventies and earlier recorded material and more specifically their golden 1969 to 1971 live concert work. Together with so many others of the Floyd community, I am extremely grateful to the many individuals who, at the time, we're doing nothing more than hoping to secure a decent recording of the gig they attended.

The unknown person who, in December 1970, sat in Sheffield City Hall and listened [very quietly] to Roger announcing the band’s 'Christmas party' to a silent audience before tentatively performing Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, captured just one of several very special early live concerts. This is just one of numerous unofficial recordings that have been preserved and restored, and provide enormous pleasure in allowing others to relive those wonderful shows for themselves. My appreciation is also directed towards those individuals who have 'harvested' all they can from these often crude recordings and without which, the Ummagumma and Pompeii recordings would be our only official sources of their early live performances, neither of which are truly representative of a complete Floyd show.

For all the many times though, that I have watched and listened to Pink Floyd over the last - nearly forty years, one single occasion will forever stand out as the most moving. Briefly reconciled and given the wonderful opportunity, nearly ten years ago now, to play live to a worldwide TV audience and effectively say goodbye, was the ending that seemed utterly implausible even just a few months earlier. Watching the broadcast live at the time, and still today, that final collective group moment never fails to bring a tear to the eye. To be so familiar with the band's fractious back-story and witness this was a moment to cherish.

The Endless River has kick-started things off again and a new record label provides some hope for the release of archive material. And of course forthcoming projects from both Gilmour and Waters will continue to keep us occupied.

I eventually bought Animals, probably late 1977 and now especially revere those three different pigs, the sheep and their fellow canine counterparts, the scathing lyrics, searing guitar, the fragile love song, parts 1 & 2 and wonderful cover artwork. In my opinion, their finest and most wholly consistent album. Oink, Baa, Woof - the trademark of Floyd quality.

Thoughts from BD contributor, Mike Nash

My first experience of Pink Floyd was getting a copy of the LP of "The Wall" for Christmas in 1979 (I had just turned 16). I was blown away by the songs, and the fact they told a story. I played it to death (wearing out two vinyl copies before I got it on CD), much to my parents' chagrin - my Dad had a beautiful old stereo radiogram with enormous speakers, and the heartbeat on "In The Flesh?" would reverberate through the floor. It wasn't long before I was given my own record player so the racket could be confined to my room! The Wall remains my favourite Floyd album, closely followed by Wish You Were Here. My favourite solo album by a Floyd member is one that's often overlooked: Nick Mason's Profiles. Why hasn't it been released on CD?

I had the great privilege of meeting Nick Mason at Foote's Music Shop in London last year, after being tipped off by BD. I was so nervous and so excited that when Nick asked me what kind of drum kit I played, I stuttered, "Er.. my mind's gone blank!" He probably thought I was a total idiot!

 
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