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Music Milestones: Pink Floyd 50th Anniversary Special

Music Milestones: Pink Floyd 50th Anniversary Special

Music Milestones: Pink Floyd 50th Anniversary Special
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Pink Floyd: Album By Album: The Definitive History. On the 50th anniversary of the band this special edition tells the story of every album. New interviews. Stories from studio and stage. Album art explained. And much, much more.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

2 min.
greed, insanity, isolation and loss

…are among the prevailing themes explored by Pink Floyd, the band who brought a strident originality and inventive spirit to rock music that captured the minds of millions of fans and catapulted the band into the commercial stratosphere. The scale of their success is positively daunting. In the course of their five decade career Floyd have sold 250 million records. Their best-selling album The Dark Side Of The Moon spent an absurd 736 weeks in the US Billboard charts, sold 45 million copies worldwide and still sells 250,000 copies a year. It has been estimated that one in every five households contains a copy of the album and that there is not a minute goes by when someone, somewhere on the planet, is not playing it. The most significant British band to…

3 min.
the piper at the gates of dawn

Studio Abbey Road, London Producer Norman Smith Released 1967 Infamously, Floyd’s debut album was recorded at Abbey Road’s Studio Three while The Beatles were piecing together Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band next door in Studio Two. Nearly half a century later the two records are still regarded as British psychedelia’s twin peaks and yet in tone they couldn’t be further apart. With Paul McCartney in the creative driving seat rather than the acid-affected Lennon, Pepper is an inclusive, beatific creation, one embraced instantly by millions of Britons. Piper, meanwhile, is unsettling, scary and full of trap doors and secret passageways. Even if the listener puts out of their mind the fate of its chief songwriter and listens as it would have been heard in 1967, darkness is wherever you look – from the…

7 min.
follow the piper

One remarkable aspect about the late 60s psychedelic explosion was how quickly it all happened. 1966 was a key year when a monochrome music scene almost overnight become flushed with colour. At the centre of this sudden explosion was a group of architecture and art students that had started the year playing blues as the Pink Floyd Sound but would evolve into the toast of underground London, dragging along an entire subculture in their wake. Like punk 10 years later, others would be left playing catch-up to the next big thing. “I WASN’T THAT KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE SORT OF MUSIC THEY WERE PLAYING, PSYCHEDELIA DIDN’T INTEREST ME” NORMAN SMITH Leaders In Sound EMI, as the most prestigious British label, understandably wanted to nab the UK leaders of psychedelia. There was a brief dalliance…

2 min.
innocence lost

R oger Keith Barrett was rock’s quintessential lost boy, the too-fragile-for-this-world star that flies too close to the sun and falls to earth. Unlike the other casualties of the late 60s – the Morrisons, Joneses and Joplins – Syd didn’t burn out, he fell gradually. After departing public life, he spent his remaining 30 years as a living ghost. The pre-stardom Syd was charming and convivial, but also a little bit elusive. His talent though was beyond dispute. His Cambridge friend and later Pink Floyd artist/designer Storm Thorgerson said: “his ability to free associate verbally was of a different order. He wasn’t as verbal or as academic as others, but he had a way with words”. Early on it was clear he was the star of the group. Sometime flatmate Duggie…

1 min.
oh, what a trip!

T he debut album from the leading lights of the UK psychedelic scene needed a suitably psychedelic sleeve and so it fell to an Anglo-Asian photographer, Vic Singh to provide the memorable kaleidoscopic cover image of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. It was one of the few occasions when a band photograph has graced the cover of a Pink Floyd record Singh shared studio space with David Bailey before striking out on his own, thanks to a loan from Vidal Sassoon. A well-connected fellow, Singh was also friendly with George Harrison and his wife, the model Patti Boyd. It was they who had given Singh a ‘prism lens’ that splits an image up into three or four segments, softening them against each other. So when Pink Floyd’s management got in…

1 min.
a man called smith...

N orman Smith had already been around the block by the time his paths crossed with Pink Floyd in the late 60s. After his work on three of the first four Floyd albums, Smith recorded a demo he intended for John Lennon. However, when producer Mickie Most heard it he convinced Smith to release Don’t Let It Die himself. It was a hit, reaching No 2 in the summer of 1971, and adopting the name Hurricane Smith, the then pushing-50 producer embarked on an unlikely second career, rubbing shoulders on TV shows with fellow performers often half his age. For a year or so Smith was a pop star, known to a younger generation largely oblivious to his work with Floyd and The Beatles.…