Pink Floyd - The Press Reports
by Vernon Fitch
Publisher: CG Publishing
Publication Date: May 2001
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Pink Floyd – The Press Reports 1966-1983 is an historical look at Pink Floyd, as seen through press reports of the major music papers during the years 1966 through 1983. Reported in this book are record reviews, band member interviews, reviews of live performances, reports of band projects, and more, in a chronological history culled from news articles of the time.
Read what the press had to say about the beginnings of Pink Floyd in 1966, the rise of psychedelia in 1967, the replacement of Syd Barrett with David Gilmour in 1968, the various film soundtrack projects of the early 1970s, the use of brass and choir sections for Atom Heart Mother in 1970, the landmark Dark Side of the Moon album in 1973, the Animals tour that culminated in the massive Pink Floyd show in Montreal in 1977, the amazing Wall album, concerts and movie in the early 1980s, and Roger Waters' final album with the band, The Final Cut, in 1983. Glean a unique insight into how the band handled these events, and how they were received by the public and the press.
Perhaps most interesting are the interviews with the band members that are featured throughout the book. Read interviews with Syd Barrett, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and others, as they give rare insights into events as they were taking place. These interviews are a history of Pink Floyd by the band members themselves, as the events were happening.
For anyone interested in Pink Floyd, this is a revealing book about one of the most significant bands in the history of rock music.
Every year, from 1966 through 1983, is covered in the book. The chapters are:
1966 – . . . to the Beginning
1967 – Arnold, Emily, Piper, and Apples
1968 – A Saucerful of Secrets
1969 – More, Ummagumma, and Zabriskie Point
1970 – Laughing Madcaps and Atomic Heart Mothers
1971 – Meddle
1972 – Obscured By Clouds
1973 – Dark Side of the Moon
1974 – Crazy Diamonds and Unicorns
1975 – Wish You Were Here
1976 – Productions and Flying Pigs
1977 – Animals
1978 – David Gilmour and Wet Dream
1979 – The Wall
1980 – The Wall live
1981 – Fictitious Sports & The Wall rebuilt
1982 – The Wall movie
1983 – The Final Cut and Back
A study of the numerous press reports written about Pink Floyd throughout the years provides an interesting glimpse into their history. Nowhere else can you find information about their activities as they were taking place, or how music journalists viewed the band in the context of what was occurring in music at the time. To better understand how the press perceived the band during its many phases, it is best to start at the beginning.
Pink Floyd began as a rhythm and blues based band in Great Britain in the mid 1960s. Their rise to stardom started in 1966 with a shift from rhythm and blues to improvised experimental music. Experiments with light and sound gained them a local following in London and began attracting initial press coverage of the band.
In 1967, the psychedelic music scene in London was expanding rapidly and Pink Floyd appeared at the forefront of the scene. They played regularly in the clubs of the London underground, and gained notoriety with frequent press reports about their activities. Hardly a week went by without some mention of Pink Floyd in the British music papers. This led to a wider following for the band, and their London club shows became events of significant proportions. By the time of the release of their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, in August 1967, the band were well known in the British press, and European and American papers began to take notice of the group. A ten-day tour of America in November 1967 introduced American audiences to the band, and brought about the first concert reviews of Pink Floyd by the American music press. But on their return to Britain, problems within the band began to damage the perception of the group.
At the beginning of 1968, Syd Barrett, their main songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist was replaced by David Gilmour. The press, which had, up until this time, praised Pink Floyd's and Barrett's innovative musical style, were suddenly confronted with a Pink Floyd line-up that no longer included the musician that they had considered the driving force behind the band's music. Numerous journalists believed that this signaled the demise of the group and press reports about the band diminished. It wasn't until the Pink Floyd free concert in Hyde Park, London, and the release of the second Pink Floyd album, A Saucerful of Secrets, in June 1968, that the press began to, once again, praise the activities of the band. It was also at this time that Pink Floyd did a second tour of the United States, in July and August 1968, which resulted in the second series of published reviews of Pink Floyd concerts by the American music press.
In 1969, the band built on the success of A Saucerful of Secrets, and the press began to eagerly follow their activities. News articles covered their innovations, such as a new sound system called the Azimuth Co-ordinator, the use of pre-recorded tapes and electronic sounds, and the accompaniment of members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at certain live performances. They also reported that Pink Floyd was participating in two film projects, and that they completed a new album that featured the musical talents of each of the four band members, called Ummagumma. The press praised Ummagumma as a high point of the psychedelic period.
In 1970, two new solo albums by former Pink Floyd member, Syd Barrett, were released, causing a renewed interest in Barrett, and various interviews with Barrett were published. The press also reported about work by Pink Floyd on a new cartoon soundtrack project and a ballet project, another Hyde Park free concert, plus the release of the album, Atom Heart Mother, which featured the title song on an entire side of the album, complete with an orchestra and choir. They followed its release with tours of the U.S., Great Britain, and performances at various European festivals. Press reports about the album and concerts proliferated.
1971 brought the release and reviews of the Pink Floyd album Meddle. Meddle is perhaps the definitive release from this period of the band and featured the song Echoes, which captured the band at it's improvisational peak. Reports also surfaced that work had begun on a new project, one that would become Dark Side of the Moon. In 1972, Pink Floyd began touring their new piece, Dark Side of the Moon, and it was greeted with numerous press reviews. Pink Floyd also released another soundtrack album, Obscured by Clouds, an album that was embraced by the press. But things were about to change drastically for Pink Floyd the following year.
In 1973, the album Dark Side of the Moon was released. Dark Side of the Moon is a concept album about the stresses of life, and today it is regarded as perhaps the defining recorded legacy of the 1970s. This album brought Pink Floyd enormous commercial success, something that they had been striving for, but it also changed the band due to the pressures and problems associated with its success. The press greeted the album with mixed reviews, but the public embraced the album, and Pink Floyd concerts moved into large, ten to fifteen thousand seat arenas that were sold out instantly. No longer was Pink Floyd considered an underground band. From here on, they were squarely in the public eye. This brought turmoil to the band, and the band members began to question their reasons for being in the band. They scaled back on their public appearances at a time when the press and public desired more from them. Reports of their demise once again began to appear in the music papers. In early 1974, the press lacked relatively any new subject matter to report on, as the band disappeared from public view. Journalists were forced to write recaps of the band's history or occasional reports of session work by band members. All the while, the success of Dark Side of the Moon was generating an increased interest in the band. Then, in November 1974, exactly one year after their last performance in Britain, Pink Floyd returned to the concert stage in Britain for a two month British Winter tour with three new songs. Although the shows sold out immediately and were received well by the public, the press was less than enthusiastic about the performances. Reports were published stating that the new material was tedious and boring, and that the musicians seemed not to care about their performances.
In 1975, Pink Floyd toured the United States and Canada to mixed reviews and sold-out stadium audiences. They also released the follow-up album to Dark Side of the Moon, titled, Wish You Were Here, about absence and the impersonal recording industry machine. The initial reaction to the album in the press was generally good, although not every reporter felt that it was up to what they expected of Pink Floyd. The band spent 1976 writing music for a new album, while David Gilmour mixed a couple of songs for Hawkwind and produced an album for the band Unicorn. Articles about the band's history were commonplace. In 1977, Pink Floyd released the album, Animals, a musical statement about a society that is divided into classes of animals. They followed its release with a world tour that included performances in huge stadiums, often breaking attendance records. At this time, the press was also covering the ongoing punk movement, and conflicting reports about the scaled down, no-frills punk bands were mixed with articles about the gigantic spectaculars of Pink Floyd. During this time Pink Floyd virtually denied all requests for press interviews, to the dismay of many music journalists.
1978 brought solo records by David Gilmour and Richard Wright, and with them press reviews and occasional interviews. The press also reported at this time that Roger Waters was working on a new piece, which was to become Pink Floyd's next concept album.
In 1979, the band released The Wall, an album that explored the mind of a rock musician who succumbs to the pressures of life by building a wall around himself. The Wall is considered by many people the zenith of the band. It received generally positive reviews by the music press, although some journalists failed to agree with its message. In 1980 and 1981, the press reported on live performances of The Wall. They also reviewed the release of Nick Mason's solo album, Fictitious Sports, in 1981. The Wall movie was completed and released in 1982. Press reviews were mixed but often included interesting commentary by the films collaborators. The Final Cut album was released in 1983, and was generally criticized by the press, although one journalist called it a rock and roll masterpiece.
The press coverage of Pink Floyd during the years 1966 through 1983 is entertaining and enlightening. These reports give a unique insight into the band and provide a look at how Pink Floyd was perceived during its formative years. Since interviews with band members are often included in these press reports, many facets of the band can be discovered, as told by the band members themselves. As such, it is an interesting glimpse into the life and times of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason.
The following is a list of published reviews of Pink Floyd-The Press Reports: