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“Another Brick in the Wall”
By far one of the most commercially successful and musically influential bands in the history of music would be Pink Floyd. The band achieved international acclaim with their music because of their unique psychedelic music known for its philosophical expressionism and overall audio experimentation. The band also received international acclaim for their dramatic and elaborate live performances using special effects, practical effects, and other visuals on stage.
The 1960s were a time of sex, drugs, and of course rock and roll. Self-expression and the desire for individualism fueled the youth of the time not excluding a group of teenagers from Cambridge, England. Roger Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Rick Wright all came together in 1965 during their studies in London to form the infamous band we know today. The bang began to gain momentum by doing gigs and small shows for London’s underground music scene throughout the 60s. The bands final official member, David Gilmour, joined the group in 1967 followed shortly by Roger Barrett leaving the band the following year.
At this time the band released its first album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (1967) along with two chart singles. The band was able to attract the attention of the professional music industry and was signed with EMI. Shortly after Barrett left, Roger Waters became the head of the band and assumed the role as the lead lyricist. Waters also assumed responsibility as the main creative force for the direction and message of the band, creating the majority of their songs and making the concepts behind many of their top albums. The band then toured extensively throughout America building a fan base and renown and this was the first time that the band began to make money. The band then took a break from touring as some of the members started families and they all began to settle in homes.
After some time apart the band got back together to really discover or uncover their central theme. After countless sessions in the studio where nothing would be achieved, the group experimented with lyrics and sounds even attempting to use household objects to create beats, a concept that they would return to for later hit albums “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Wish You Were Here.” In the fall of 1971 “Meddle” was released. The culmination of the bands long hours in the studio paid off with NME calling the song “Echoes” the “Zenith which the Floyd have been striving for.” The album peaked at number 3 after some otherwise unflattering criticism
At this time one of the bands most famous albums was released “Dark Side of the Moon” in 1973 with its iconic light through the prism cover art. The album stands as one of the most commercially successful rock albums of all time. This allowed the band to sign with Columbia records with an advance of around one million dollars, five million in today’s currency rates.
“Wish You Were Here” premiered in 1975 and shortly reached number one in the US and UK. In 1977 “Animals” was released which reached number three in the US and still received upward praise from critics about its message and merit in the musical industry. Then after a brief lull in terms of the band’s esprit de corps in 1979 the band released what is considered their most famous album, “The Wall.”
The album tells the story based on the gestalt figure Pink. The album features components from the bands history and Roger Water’s personal experiences as a child during WWII involving the death of his father. This death for the character Pink would be the first of many “bricks” in building the social wall against society. Then Pink would struggle with being a drug addicted depressed psychotic. This would then climax with the fascist ideals implanted by the society around him being torn down as the wall crashes down and Pink once again rejoins regular society. The album creates an epic and tragic story about a tormented individual and displays incredible talent in all areas from the band members. “…I think people are ready now to start confronting very broad philosophical and political issues, and “The Wall” is absolutely packed with them.” (Waters) This album in turn is what likely locked them as a mythic icon in rock and roll history.
In the mid and late 1980s the band finally split up. With many disputes between band members revolving around who did what and who was or wasn’t contributing. “We never managed to come to common view of the dynamic that existed within the band, of who did what and whether or not it was right” (Waters). Although Gilmour continued to create music, many fans and critics consider Waters’ departure the official split of the band. The band would not play together again until 2005 when there was a live reunion. “In 2005, at Live 8- the biggest global music event in history- the reunion of the four man line up that recorded most of the Floyd canon stole the show.” (Pink Floyd).
Roger Waters just completed a huge international tour of “Roger Waters The Wall” however the band remains recognized as certainly one of the most influential and successful rock bands that ever was. Roger Waters has an estimated $300 million net worth and Pink Floyd exists at number 8 on the list of top 10 best rock bands along with being number 51 out of 100 according to Rolling Stone.
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