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Trivia / Pink Floyd

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Trivia tropes that apply to the band as a whole:

  • Artist Disillusionment: Two separate examples:
    • 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 band’s 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 – the old psychedelic fans tended to keep quiet during the numbers, but the mainstream fans often spent the whole gig baying for "Money". It all culminated in a 6 July 1977 show in Montreal, where Waters stopped during "Pigs on the Wing (Part II)" to deliver a blistering tirade and ultimately spat on a rowdy fan that'd annoyed him—the whole incident inspired The Wall, and the "In the Flesh?" sequence in The Movie was mostly based on Roger's experiences touring the US. Much of his later material, in fact, exposed his grudges at such types as bureaucrats in the music industry ("Welcome to the Machine", "Have a Cigar"), leaders who send men overseas to die in wars (The Final Cut) and despair at society in general.note  Ultimately, it drove him to leave Pink Floyd. He’s 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 ("See Emily Play") and deleted ("Astronomy Domine", "Flaming" and "Bike") tracks, similar to the way Capitol handled the pre-Sgt. Pepper's Beatles albums. 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 live version from Ummagumma. Americans couldn't get a proper version of Piper until the CD era in The '80s.
  • Black Sheep Hit:
    • "Money", "Another Brick in the Wall (Pt. 2)", and "Learning to Fly", their best known songs and biggest pop hits, are totally unrepresentative of the band's sound. Somewhat ironically, the closest to representative of these songs is probably "Learning to Fly" despite being by the often-maligned "dehydrated" (no Waters) line-up and the fact that the album the song was on (A Momentary Lapse of Reason) gets criticized for its late 80's pop production.
    • During the Barrett era, "Arnold Layne" and "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, and instead getting 10-20 minute psychedelic freak-outs like "Interstellar Overdrive" or "Astronomy Domine" instead.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit:
    • 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 die-hard Floyd fans and fans of French film-maker 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, 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.
  • Bury Your Art: "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man" were recorded during the sessions for A Saucerful of Secrets with the intent of either including them on the album or putting them out as two sides of a non-album single as a follow-up to "See Emily Play". However, due to the tracks being too openly reflective of frontman Syd Barrett's mental decline (which got him kicked out of the band midway through the album's production due to him becoming too difficult to work with), the band elected to withhold them from release, to the point of shooting down an attempt to include them on Barrett's 1988 compilation album Opel. The songs would consequently become popular bootlegs and even saw Cover Versions by other artists before eventually seeing an official release on the 2016 Boxed Set The Early Years 1965-1972.
  • Cash-Cow Franchise: One of the biggest for EMI, second only to The Beatles. While most bands with popular albums might go platinum or double platinum only to have their sales drop off sharply, Pink Floyd's albums just kept selling and selling for years.
  • Channel Hop:
    • In the U.K., the band were initially signed to EMI Columbia Records before moving to Harvest Records for Ummagumma, staying there for over a decade and a half. Following the departure of Roger Waters in 1985, the band moved over to EMI in the U.K., later releasing The Endless River through Parlophone Records after EMI went under during the two-decade interim between it and The Division Bell. Finally, in 2016, the band would create the imprint Pink Floyd Records, distributed by Parlophone in the U.K. and Europe.
    • In the U.S., the band were first signed to Tower Records (the label, not the store), before switching to Harvest under distribution from Capitol Records (who both owned Tower and served as Harvest's US distributor). Capitol would later reissue the band's Harvest catalog under its parent label. For the release of Wish You Were Here (1975), the band moved over to Columbia Records due to dissatisfaction with Capitol's distribution, staying there until the rights to the band's post-Dark Side albums transferred back to Capitol in 2000. Thus, Pink Floyd ended up on both the British and American Columbia labels. The U.S. rights to the band's back catalog transferred back to Columbia's parent company Sony again in the wake of the 2012 sale of EMI, with them handling worldwide distribution of Pink Floyd Records outside of Europe.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Gilmour's views on The Final Cut are... complicated, believing that it was "very good" on its own merits while viewing it as dissatisfactory by Pink Floyd standards. Part of this is 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 a "fucking awful" song.
  • Creator Breakdown: The band was infamous for this; the only recurring member to not have one was Nick Mason.
    • Syd Barrett, the original front man of the band suffered from crippling shyness. While he was ok with doing a few underground gigs, the bands rising success was eating into him emotionally and he (being already a fan of them) started taking refuge in psychedelic drugs. Eventually the problems got so bad that the rest of the band had no choice but to let him go.
      • His breakdown was tributed 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 band-mates 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 fuelled 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 Hitch Hiking and much of The Final Cut (the fraction of songs which were out-takes from The Wall) around the same period.
    • Also around the time of the recording of The Wall, Richard Wright was going trough his own marital crisis. This combined with being under constant pressure from both Waters and the label meant he started slipping into depression, and failed to dedicate the time necessary for the band. He was eventually fired by Waters following a dispute over workload and wouldn't officially return until Waters himself left and Gilmour took over
    • Gilmour suffered his own marital breakup, stress from Waters' lawsuit over the rights to the band name, and problems with his relationships with his girlfriend, children and band members by 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 lyrics to The Division Bell based on Gilmour's breakdowns, under themes of miscommunication and discord.
  • Creator Couple: David Gilmour's wife Polly Sampson contributed lyrics to the post-Waters incarnation of the band.
  • Feelies: Early CD's of Pulse came in a cardboard sleeve with a blinking red LED.
  • He Also Did:
    • At some point between Wish You Were Here (1975) and Animals, Gilmour took a break from his work with Pink Floyd to help Kate Bush jump-start her career, co-producing The Kick Inside and later providing guest vocals on "Pull Out the Pin" and guitar parts on "Love and Anger" and "Rocket's Tail". Also, that approaching helicopter sound at the start of "The Happiest Days of Our Lives"? Reused in Kate Bush's songs "Waking the Witch" and "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.
    • Gilmour also produced The Dream Academy's debut album, including their hit "Life in a Northern Town", and provided guitar samples for Grace Jones' 1985 album Slave to the Rhythm.
    • All of the band-members (bar Nick) helped out Syd Barrett while he was recording his two solo albums, either producing or playing on them.
    • Nick Mason produced punk rock band The Damned's Music For Pleasure album. Allegedly the band really wanted Syd Barrett to produce, but Barrett was too mentally ill and reclusive to do so. Mason's also produced Robert Wyatt's 1974 album Rock Bottom, widely considered to be the idiosyncratic singer's best record.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • There's a three-minute version of "Pigs on the Wing" that was only available on the eight-track tape of Animals — it combined "Pigs on the Wing 1" and "Pigs on the Wing 2" as two verses of the same song, bridged together by a short solo by guest musician Snowy White. Interestingly, this was the way the song was originally written — the only reason Snowy White had to add a guitar solo was that David Gilmour's was accidentally erased. Of course, now that the eight-track is a dead format, this version is more easily heard on bootleg recordings.
    • Several of the band's early recordings were not released until the exhaustive 2016 box set The Early Years 1965–1972. Before then, they were highly sought after as bootlegs. Examples include "Vegetable Man" and "Scream Thy Last Scream", which were recorded at the height of Syd Barrett's Sanity Slippage and were not officially released because the surviving members felt (and might still do) that they're "too voyeuristic". This did not stop them from being widely circulated as bootlegs, and "Vegetable Man" has been covered by acts such as The Soft Boys and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
    • A Saucerful of Secrets exists in mono and stereo versions, but only the latter has been regularly reissued since the initial LP print run. A modern mono release did not happen until 2019, supposedly due to a problem with the master tapes.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Too many to count. It seems like they've released every possible thing you could ever want to have by these guys, let alone the entire EMI library.
  • Missing Episode: Even though The Early Years 1965-1972 marked the official release of numerous rare Pink Floyd songs, there are still a handful unaccounted for, including some that were never even recorded (such as the legendary "Have You Got It Yet?"). For these, The Other Wiki is your guide.
    • In addition, the link mentions The Big Spliff, which was to be an Ambient album. Some of the material for it, itself recorded during the sessions for The Division Bell, was repurposed for The Endless River.
  • Outlived Its Creator: The band released one more album, The Endless River, after Richard Wright's death.
  • 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.
  • Production Posse: The band was well known for their association with the Hipgnosis studio, who designed many of their iconic album covers, including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (1975) and Animals.
  • 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, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals and The Wall.
  • Reality Subtext: The title of Wish You Were Here (1975) 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.
  • Reclusive Artist: Syd Barrett.
  • 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. The Live at Pompeii film, similarly intended to retire their older songs, also had the same effect.
    • The cover of Animals turned the Battersea Power Station into an unlikely landmark.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Waters fired Rick Wright in 1979 because he refused to cut short his vacation when the sessions for The Wall fell behind schedule, and also for working on his own solo album instead of contributing. Some sources have also stated that his cocaine addiction at the time was a contributing factor to his dismissal.
  • 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 The Dark Side of the Moon. The American rights to their post-Dark Side albums later reverted to Capitol.
  • Similarly Named Works: A band called Medicine Head coincidentally called an album Dark Side of the Moon a year before The Dark Side of the Moon was released. Pink Floyd considered calling their album Eclipse to avoid confusion, but the Medicine Head album turned out to be a commercial flop, so they could safely use the title again without it being heavily associated with another performer's album.
  • Troubled Production: Wish You Were Here, The Wall, The Final Cut, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Pink Floyd toyed with the idea of a Beach Boys-style arrangement of letting Syd Barrett stay at home Brian Wilson-style, writing and recording his material in the studio, but touring with David Gilmour filling in for Syd the same way Bruce Johnston did for Brian; Gilmour also got to record alongside Syd, as A Saucerful of Secrets will attest. This arrangement fell through as Syd's condition worsened beyond repair (as evidenced by the "Have You Got It Yet?" incident).
    • 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").
    • Another possible follow-up 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. In a possible nod to this, the first trailer to Denis Villeneuve's Dune is set to a moody cover of "Eclipse", from The Dark Side of the Moon.
    • The Beach Boys were originally scheduled to add backing vocals to "The Show Must Go On", but they cancelled the session at the last possible minute. Waters had to settle for just one Beach Boy (Bruce Johnston) and Toni Tennille.
    • 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 follow-up 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 Hitch Hiking, was not. Later on, Pros and Cons became Roger's first true solo album in 1984.
    • They couldn't perform at Live Aid because they were in the midst of bitter disputes between Roger Waters and the rest of the band. However, David Gilmour played guitar for Bryan Ferry at Wembley. Gilmour's name was not announced as a performer.
    • 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.
      • The 1969: Dramatis/ation volume of the The Early Years box set later fulfilled this promise with a performance of a show from an FM radio broadcast.
    • Speaking of Ummagumma, multiple unused songs were recorded that still remain unreleased, including an entire third concert that has never seen the light of day. Cut songs include 'Interstellar Overdrive', 'Let There Be More Light', 'Green is the Colour', 'Pow R. Toc H.', and an untitled improvisation.
    • 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.
    • Nick Mason stated that in 1967 they wanted to ask Jeff Beck to be their guitarist, but "None of us had the nerve to ask him". It's hard to quibble with Gilmour's playing and songwriting, but still, one can't help wondering what the music of Pink Floyd would have sounded like with Beck's presence in the group. Beck did eventually play guitar on Roger Waters' solo album Amused to Death.
    • At least 20 songs were considered for the "Echoes: Best Of Pink Floyd" compilation before being scrapped. Some of these tracks include "Interstellar Overdrive", "Fat Old Sun", "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", "Brain Damage", "Mother", "Dogs", and many more.
    • Harold Ramis wanted Pink Floyd to provide the soundtrack for Caddyshack (which would've been a tremendous case of Playing Against Type), but the band politely declined.
  • Writer Revolt:
    • Syd Barrett, Floyd's original songwriter, did this at least three times during his tenure in the band:
      • The first was when Executive Meddling forced him to censor the drug references in their song "Let's Roll Another One" (renamed as a result to "Candy and a Currant Bun"). He responded by inserting the line "Please, just fuck with me". The executives comically failed to notice.
      • The second was Barrett's response to getting kicked out of the band due to his growing mental instability; he wrote the song "Jugband Blues", which addresses his feelings of Artist Disillusionment, Et Tu, Brute?, and Sanity Slippage. It is the last song on A Saucerful of Secrets, the last album Barrett recorded with the band.
      • The final was Barrett's deliberately unlearnable song "Have You Got It Yet?", which Barrett kept changing every time he "taught" it to the rest of the band. Waters' realisation that Barrett was deliberately trolling the rest of the band is noted as the last time he and Barrett played together, although Waters also later called it an "act of mad genius". Neither Barrett nor Floyd ever recorded the song.
    • Most of Wish You Were Here (1975) 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".