Some bands turn into shorthand for a certain sound or style, and Pink Floyd belongs among that elite group. The very name connotes something specific: an elastic, echoing, mind-bending sound that evokes the chasms of space. Pink Floyd grounded that limitless sound with exacting explorations of mundane matters of ego, mind, memory, and heart, touching upon madness, alienation, narcissism, and society on their concept albums of the '70s.
Of these concept albums, Dark Side of the Moon resonated strongest, earning new audiences year after year, decade after a decade, and its longevity makes sense. That 1973 concept album distilled the wild psychedelia of their early years -- that brief, heady period when they were fronted by Syd Barrettinto a slow, sculpted, widescreen epic masterminded by Roger Waters, the bassist who was the band's de facto leader in the '70s. Waters fueled the band's golden years, conceiving such epics as Wish You Were Here and The Wall, but the band survived his departure in the '80s, with guitarist David Gilmour stepping to forefront on A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. Throughout the years, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Rick Wright appeared in some capacity, and the band's sonic signature was always evident: a wide, expansive sound that was instantly recognizable as their own yet was adopted by all manner of bands, from guitar-worshipping metal-heads to freaky, hippie, ambient electronic duos.
Unlike almost any of their peers, Pink Floyd played to both sides of the aisle: they were rooted in the blues but their heart belonged to the future, a dichotomy that made them a quintessentially modern 20th century band.
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