Pink Floyd’s long artistic career has lived through three separate moments: the first and shortest one was characterized by The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, almost entirely written by Syd Barrett and universally recognized as the pillar of English psychedelia. The forced exit of Barrett due to his state of health exacerbated by the use of drugs inaugurated a second artistic moment, the longest and most meaningful, and perhaps the true birth of a progressive Pink Floyd: with A Saucerful of Secrets, they begin a real collective project that characterizes the band up to the album Animals nine years later. In fact, More (a score for a film by Barbet Schroeder) and Ummagumma, still maintaining the clear psychedelic elements, are premonitions of a more elaborate and rich debate contained in the two masterpieces Atom Heart Mother (with the aid of a real orchestra and a symphonic choir) and the more personal Meddle that contains the beautiful suite "Echoes." The band is the preferred icon of the Flower Power movement and of all LSD-based parties (even if the musicians take their distance). They are summoned to compose scores like Obscured by Clouds (for Schroeder, 1972) and Zabriskie Point (for Michelangelo Antonioni, 1970) because of this. But they have something else in mind.

In 1973, their absolute masterpiece, The Dark Side of the Moon, was released as a jewel of sonorous perfection, a fascinating collection of songs that will capture the public of not just that generation. Success, however, is always an issue. The last truly balanced album is Wish You Were Here (1975), a tribute to Barrett. Then gradually, Roger Waters will start to prevail, and the aforementioned Animals of 1977 is the first fruit of this hegemony.

Pink Floyd is also one of the only bands to have a unique and inimitable stage apparatus. The apotheosis is the live performance of The Wall in 1979, recorded in a double album of planetary success, where a wall of white bricks would gradually cover the band from sight during a concert, with films and huge dancing dolls created by Gerald Scarfe. The songs are written almost entirely by Waters, except for three tracks that he wrote together with David Gilmour. Keyboardist Richard Wright cannot deal with the despotic situation anymore and abandons the band at the end of the tour. The album becomes a film directed by Alan Parker in 1982, just before another album written again by Waters, The Final Cut, where he still speaks of war. At this point, the band’s disapproval is at its peak, and Waters decides to leave. Wright returns, and with David Gilmour and Nick Mason, they continue the project, but not without starting their very own war in court, which Waters will lose.

Another two albums and relative titanic tours will take place: A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell, which bring the band back twenty years. Some other good works and recorded live collections of their very best are published, and finally, in July 2005, Waters reconciled with Waters for the concert Live 8 on stage in London. Wright died in September 2008, two years after the departed but unforgotten Barrett.

Surprisingly, twenty years after their last studio album, a new record is released, The Endless River, an instrumental work containing tracks assembled from the 1993 sessions, the last with Wright still playing in the band. M.G.

Nick Mason

Pink Floyd’s drummer never really had a solo career of his own; in fact, this only album is actually a Carla Bley creation, to which Mason agreed to put his name. This free jazz pianist, known for her wild experimentations, was the ideal partner for an ambient effects seeker like Nick. Fictitious Sports (with Carla Bley on keyboards, Robert Wyatt on vocals, Karen Kraft on vocals, Steve Swallow on bass, Chris Spedding on guitar, Gary Windo, Gary Valente, Mike Mantler on saxophones, flute, trombone, trumpets, and Nick Mason on drums.), entirely recorded in 1979 but published by the label only two years later, is a Canterbury School jazz pop prog written and composed by Carla with the clashing voice duo of Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine) and Karen Kraft. The song flows along as a teetering, grooving mass of weirdness in which everyone at hand is clearly having a lot of fun; a good example are the hilarious lyrics and arrangements of “I’m a Mineralist." Probably the only Floyd-ian sonorities can be found in the song “Hot River.”.

(Recommended discography: Fictitious sports (1981, Harvest). M.G. Richard Wright (1943-2008))

17-year-old keyboardist Richard William Wright was a student when he met future Pink Floyd companions Waters and Mason, who started the band in early 1966, for which he writes and sings too. In 1978, he begins a parallel solo career, publishing his first album, Wet Dream (which, of course, recalls some of the atmospheres from works like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here). In 1984, he and Dave Harris worked on the project Zee, releasing the techno-pop-experimental Identity (recently re-issued on CD in summer 2018). In 1996, his second solo album, Broken China, featured special guests like Sinéad O’Connor, Pino Palladino, and Manu Katchè. This masterpiece confirms his previous contributions to Pink Floyd’s music and is full of his characteristic ambient sounds and dreamy atmospheres. He also collaborated on Gilmour’s solo album On an Island a couple of years before passing away from cancer in 2008.

(Discography: Wet Dream (1978, Harvest) Broken China (1996, EMI))

Roger Waters

Roger Waters, bass player, song writer, and composer (all lyrics from The Dark Side of the Moon to The Final Cut are actually his), co-founder and artistic leader of Pink Floyd until his controversial exit, will pursue a solo career of great interest in the prog genre. His first album, Music from the Body, recorded with Ron Geesin in 1970, is declared of minor interest as a pseudo-documentary score, so we should consider the material published after 1984: The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking is a brilliant concept album featuring Eric Clapton on the guitars; beautiful though a bit too ‘80s is the following Radio Kaos album released in 1987; definitely a masterpiece is the studio album Amused to Death of 1992 featuring Jeff Beck on guitars (the incredible music and lyrics are second only to his previous cult The Wall with Pink Floyd). After 25 years, Roger returns with a brand new album: Is this the life we really want? His style is confirmed, and we can find a summary of everything he wrote in the previous recordings.

(Recommended recordings: the pros and cons of hitch hiking (Harvest, 1984), Amused to death (Sony, 1992), Is this the life we really want? (Sony, 2017) M.G)

David Gilmour is probaily the music head of the band. Not a coincidence the fact that he was the musical director of “The Wall live shows” . Since the early days he was the main instrumentist inside the collective. His guitar playing became a trademark of the whole band. Very few things to say: his best albums are the first homonym: David Gilmour of 1978 and the last two: On a Island of 2016 (featuring David Crosby and Graham Nash on backing vocals and the Pink Floyd’s mate Richard Wright) and: Rattle that lock of 2015. Otherwise, You can appreciate the last Floyd’s three albums, where the trademark of his voice and guitar is confirmed!

(Recommended recordings: David Gilmour (Harvest, 1978), On an island (EMI, 2006), Rattle that lock (Parlophone, 2015) M.G. Syd Barret)

Very few should be said about this unlucky genious: He was the mastermind of Pink Floyd during the whole creation of the band’s first album “The Piper at the gates of dawn”...without doubt! After this….and once after He was forced to leave the band, we have this pair of album recorded after a big struggle with his growing ilness. The production was wisely conducted with the precious help of David Gilmour supported by some other former band mates. Only two albums emerged from this weird situation like a miracle: The Madcap Laughs of 1970 and Barrett of 1971 are the ultimate heritage of a brilliant artist who fell into a deep mind insanity. A real tragedy!

(Recommended recordings: The madcap laughs (Harvest, 1970) Barret (Harvest, 1971) M.G)