Pink Floyd were a rock band from England, active between 1965 and 2005. Stranger than The Beatles and more cerebral than The Stones, their distinctive music has proved enduringly popular with three generations of nerds, geeks, trogs and weirdoes.
The Early Years 1965-1967
Pink Floyd start as they meant to go on, as a bunch of poshos from Cambridge playing 28-minute freeform versions of Louie Louie. The band's principal creative force at this point is their dashingly handsome frontman Syd Barrett; their sound like John Coltrane's reinterpretation of Mother Goose as played by The Shadows with their hair on fire. A radio programme of the period moans 'are the beguiling melodies of The Beatles to be replaced by the psychotic thrashings of The Pink Floyd?'
The Feet-Finding Period 1968-1972
While the second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, lacks Barrett's mad poetic streak, it contains a focus and structure previously missing from the band's work. Buoyed by their success, the Floyd focus their energies into writing a classic pop single that will put them on the map forever. Instead, they poop out Point Me At The Sky.
Pink Floyd decide to continue trading on their reputation as bold musical experimentalists. Much of the resulting cluster of albums can variously be considered ingenious attempts to expand the frontiers of popular music or the insane flailings of a rudderless coracle of chancers who haven't got a goddamn clue what they're doing. Regardless, most books about the history of rock music treat this as Pink Floyd's apprenticeship period as they tighten up their talents, getting ready to take on the world.
It's worth noting that, had Pink Floyd been signed nowadays, by this point in their career they would probably have been dumped by at least five record labels. In 1972 they embark on their most ambitious project yet, the record that was to be known as The Dark Side Of The Moon, the recording sessions for which were in absolutely no way conducted under the influence of marijuana.