Syd Barrett, while perfectly happy performing and being recognised in underground clubs, found wider fame, larger audiences and TV appearances harder to handle. He wanted to put a brake on their rise to fame, but the rest of the group disagreed, and it was impossible. Already a fan of psychedelic drugs, Syd began to take refuge in them, the whole thing eventually leading to his Creator Breakdown.
Roger Waters suffered from the bandís mainstream success following The Dark Side of the Moon, especially during the 1977 In The Flesh tour. The audiences became much bigger, and a lot noisier Ė the old psychedelic fans tended to keep quiet during the numbers, but the mainstream fans often spent the whole gig baying for "Money". The culmination of this came on the final show on 6 July 1977 in Montreal, where Waters stopped during "Pigs on the Wing (Part II)" to deliver thisblistering tirade, and at the end spat in the face of a particularly disruptive fan he'd been irritated by (the incident and his subsequent thought about building a wall between himself and the audience inspired The Wall). The resulting crowd surges and heavier crowd control techniques also made their mark: the bursting door, riot police and dog patrols portrayed during the "In the Flesh?" concert sequence in The Wall were all based on things he had witnessed while they toured stadiums in the US. Other negative issues were driven to the surface, including his disgust at the greedy bureaucrats who ran the record industry (particularly explicit in "Welcome to the Machine" and "Have a Cigar"), his anger at the leaders who send men (like his father) to die in wars, and despair at society in general.note in a late 1970s interview he said that the seventies had been "a very baleful decade", and was worried about what the eighties would be like (in retrospect we know that the spirit of the eighties turned out to be even less in line with his worldview) — the "knuckles white upon the slippery reins" line on The Final Cut sounds like it's quite apt for Waters himself Ultimately, it drove him to leave Pink Floyd. Heís now much less unhappy working a solo career and playing to more specialised audiences.
Bad Export for You: The first two American releases of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The first was a butchered version with added and deleted tracks. The second was the double album set A Nice Pair, which was a reissue of the band's first two albums. The album version of "Astronomy Domine" was replaced with the version of Ummagumma. Americans couldn't get a proper version of Piper until the CD era in The Eighties.
Black Sheep Hit: "Money", "Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2)", "Learning to Fly" and "Take it Back", their best known songs and biggest pop hits, are totally unrepresentative of the band's sound. Somewhat ironically, the closest to representative of these four is probably "Learning to Fly" despite being by the oft-maligned "dehydrated" (no Waters) lineup.
During the Barrett Era, "Arnold Layne" & "See Emily Play" (both Top 20 pop hits in the UK) were also examples. Many audiences outside of London would get peeved when they would go to a Floyd concert expecting stuff like those tunes & getting 10-20 minute versions of psychedelic freakouts like "Interstellar Overdrive" or "Astronomy Domine" instead.
The first song of theirs that got any sort of airplay on US pop radio was the 1972 song "Free Four". With the exception of diehard Floyd fans and fans of French filmmaker Barbet Schroeder, no one has seen La Vallee, the obscure French hippie film that the song is from the soundtrack of. The soundtrack itself (Obscured by Clouds, which doubled as the band's seventh studio album) is similarly more well known than La Vallee.
The band's 1969 third album, Soundtrack from the Film "More" is more well known than the film More (another French hippie film by Barbet Schroeder). In fact, the film wasn't released in the United States and the album was just known as More upon release.
Channel Hop: The band switched to Columbia Records in the U.S. for the release of Wish You Were Here and stayed there until the rights to the band's post-Dark Side albums transferred back to Capitol in 2000.
Creator Backlash/Old Shame: Gilmour hated The Final Cut, partly because some of the tracks on that album were rejected songs from The Wall, though he admitted that he liked one or two songs from that album, one of them being "The Fletcher Memorial Home", which has appeared on the band's greatest hits albums Echoes and A Foot in the Door.
Dave and Roger have also gone on record as hating Atom Heart Mother. They're not particularly fond of Ummagumma either. Actually, they tend to think very poorly of their "apprenticeship" period in general (the period between Syd leaving and either Meddle or Dark Side).
David Gilmour regarding Atom Heart Mother and Ummagumma: "I think both are pretty horrible. Well, the live disc of Ummagumma might be all right, but even that isn't recorded well."
Roger Waters: "Atom Heart Mother is a good case, I think, for being thrown into the dustbin and never listened to by anyone ever again!... It was pretty kind of pompous, it wasn't really about anything."
David Gilmour, asked about Atom Heart Mother in 2001: "I listened to that album recently: God, it's shit, possibly our lowest point artistically. Atom Heart Mother sounds like we didn't have any idea between us, but we became much more prolific after it."
In a BBC Radio 1 interview in June 1984, Waters reiterated his feeling that Atom Heart Mother is "rubbish" and would never play it even if offered insane amounts of money. Wright simply stated "I like it."
Gilmour has recently lightened up a bit concerning both albums. He considered putting one of his songs from Atom Heart Mother, "Fat Old Sun", into the compilation Echoes, and at a 2008 concert at the Royal Concert of Music, he performed Atom Heart Mother's title suite with the suite's co-writer Ron Geesin and a choir. He also played "Fat Old Sun" during his 2006 solo tour.
On the matter of early singles, Roger Waters has said that "Apples and Oranges" "is a fucking good song" but was "destroyed by the production", and commenting on "It Would Be So Nice" (their first release without Syd), said "No one ever heard it because it was such a lousy record". Mason was less polite, calling it "fucking awful".
Syd Barrett, referenced in the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". In a truly ironic coincidence, he actually showed up at its recording session, more insane than his former bandmates had ever remembered. He had become obese over the years, shaved off his hair and eyebrows and become even more secluded. He had to leave the studio when both Waters and Richard Wright broke down in tears.
Roger Waters went though a mid-life crisis sometime around 1978-82 fueled by fame and fortune, marital problems, group friction, the financial stress of having to produce a hit album to recoup the cost of mismanaged money and great debt caused by the band's then-financial managers, and Waters' clear discomfort at playing large venues to rowdy audiences. He wrote The Wall, The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking and much of The Final Cut (the fraction of songs which were outtakes from The Wall) around the same period.
Gilmour suffered his own marital breakup, stress from Waters' lawsuit over the rights to the band name, and problems with his relationships with his giirlfriend, children and band membersby the late Eighties/early Nineties, all while conquering issues with promiscuity, a nasty cocaine habit and over eating. He and his girlfriend/soon-to-be-wife, journalist Polly Samson, wrote The Division Bell based on Gilmour's breakdowns, under themes of miscommunication and discord.
Also, that approaching helicopter sound at the start of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"? Reused in Kate Bush's song "Experiment IV". Supposedly, her engineers just couldn't duplicate the overwhelming sound so she asked Roger if she could use the original effect. He said yes, just as long as he was thanked in the credits.
All of the bandmembers helped out Syd Barrett while he was recording his two solo albums, either producing or playing on them.
The Pete Best: Rado "Bob" Klose, guitarist and co-founding member of the band, quit the band in 1965 due to pressure from his parents and teachers, before the band had become underground stars and well before they were signed to EMI. Klose later played on David Gilmour's 2006 album On an Island.
Then there's the members of all the pre-Floyd bands featuring Roger Waters and Nick Mason, like Sigma 6 and The Screaming Abdabs. Vocalists Keith Noble and Clive Metcalfe left to form their own band early in the band's history, and their replacement, Chris Dennis, was also an RAF technician and got posted overseas.
Prop Recycling: The band also had the tendency to indulge in reusing sound effects and other bits on their albums, almost as a Continuity Nod. For example, aside from the Book Ends, the submarine "ping" from "Echoes" shows up in "Hey You", the "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" scream is re-used in "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2", "Run Like Hell" and "Two Suns in the Sunset", the distorted whale-noise from "Echoes" is used in "Is There Anybody Out There?", and probably the most extreme example, The Final Cut cannibalizes sound effects from Meddle, Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, AnimalsandThe Wall.
Reality Subtext: The title of Wish You Were Here reflects not only the theme of Syd Barrett's absence but also the difficult recording sessions, marked by a general malaise.
Roger Waters: At times the group was there only physically. Our bodies were there, but our minds and feelings somewhere else.
The Red Stapler: The live tracks on Ummagumma were intended to allow the band to retire their older material, but the success of the album meant that fans demanded to hear tracks like "A Saucerful of Secrets" live for several more years.
Screwed by the Network: The band felt that they were poorly promoted in America, which is why they jumped ship from Capitol to Columbia after Dark Side of the Moon. The American rights to their post-Dark Side albums have since reverted to Capitol.
Troubled Production: Wish You Were Here, The Wall, The Final Cut, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Household Objects, the original follow-up to The Dark Side of the Moon, an album recorded entirely on such items as pieces of string and kitchen appliances. After several months with only eighteen minutes of material to show for it, the band scrapped the project (the only bit that survived, music played on tuned glasses of water, was used as the intro to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond").
"Okay, let's see. We could make an album that's both an homage to Syd and a bold, scathing attack on the oppressive, soul-sucking music industry...or we could make an album comprised entirely of whatever noises we can coax out of various household materials. What do you think?"
Another possible followup to Dark Side was the soundtrack to the Alejandro Jodorowsky directed Dune film, which was originally going to be in collaboration with the bands Magma and Henry Cow before it was decided that the Floyd would have done all the music. There's also a bit of Coconut Effect going on as well since the David Lynch version not only got Toto and Brian Eno (not too many degrees of separation from Floyd) to do the soundtrack for the 1984 movie, but independent composers have attempted to extrapolate what Floyd might have done (the film project was axed before Floyd attempted to compose anything). Music inspired by Dune is now almost always associated with a pastiche of New Age and Space Rock, and neither the formulaic sci-fi thematic style, nor the pseudo-Middle Eastern themes that you would expect, given the setting.
The Beach Boys were originally scheduled to add backing vocals to "The Show Must Go On", but Waters cancelled the session at the last possible minute and settled for just Bruce Johnston and Toni Tennille.
Any reunion plans set in motion after Live 8 were canceled after Rick Wright passed away.
The Final Cut was originally going to be a soundtrack to The Wall film, tentatively called "Spare Bricks" and would have been the home of the new song featured in the film, "When The Tigers Broke Free". The Falklands War just changed that.
In 1978, Roger sent cassette demos of two projects which were to be the followup to Animals to the band and Bob Ezrin, asking which project they wanted to make. One, The Wall, was chosen. The other, The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking, was not. Later on, Pros And Cons became Roger's first true solo album in 1984.
Waters wanted to release The Final Cut as a solo album, which explains why it was credited as "By Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd."
At one point, the band apparently considered releasing a live album of one of their concerts on The Man and The Journey tour, but decided against it due to the overlap of material with More and Ummagumma. A gray-market bootleg was released on CD by an Italian company at some point in the 1990's, and continues to circulate on the internet.
XTC bassist Colin Moulding was considered as a replacement for Waters, but declined.
Depending on the end results or the matters of the Waters lawsuit, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (a Gilmour project anyway in all but name, arguably) might have easily been released as a Gilmour solo project with Mason and (maybe) Wright guesting.
Pink Floyd invited Waters to sit in with the band when performing The Dark Side of the Moon at the end of the Division Bell tour as a peace offering, but Waters refused. Likewise, Roger declined inviting Gilmour, Wright or Mason to guest (or even attend) his all-star Wall show in Potsdamer Platz in 1990.
David Gilmour's first take of the guitar solo on "Dogs" is supposedly better than the already excellent one that ended up on Animals, but we'll never know because Roger Waters accidentally erased it.
Writer Revolt: Most of Wish You Were Here was inspired by the record label's pressure on a follow-up... which led to the scathing songs "Have a Cigar" and "Welcome to the Machine".