July 5, 2014. The busy world, swarming with people always connected in this digital age, was going about in its usual, over the top, not so nonchalant way, when an innocuous little tweet by a certain Polly Samson (wife of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour), shook the internet to the core.
Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called “The Endless River”. Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright’s swansong and very beautiful.
– Polly Samson (@PollySamson) July 5, 2014
True behemoths don’t need to announce their plans in a grand fashion. A simple btw suffices to shock us to our core. With pure electric, psychedelic happiness.
The announcement of Pink Floyd’s first album over 20 years (The Division Bell being their last release in 1994) is not just any other hoax floating about the internet (Thank heavens for small mercies!). It has been confirmed by other individuals as well, the most prominent of them being Durga Mcbroom-Hudson, who is Floyd’s long-time back up vocalist. Floyd’s latest offering to the world, ‘The Endless River” ought to be released by October later this year.Â Early Christmas for us Pink Floyd fans!
For the uninitiated, Pink Floyd is perhaps, without much doubt, the most significant progressive and psychedelic rock band of all time. Not only did they come out with some of the best album of the 70s and moved art form forward, Floyd made music that was impossible to marginalize and has done much more than any other band to bring progressive rock in the mainstream from the shadows, where it had been condemned to languish for the longest of times.
A Brief History
The first line up of the band consisted of guitarist Syd Barrett, bassist-singer Roger Waters (who quit the band in 1983 to concentrate on his solo career), drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Rick Wright. Their early material was mostly written and sung by Syd Barrett, who at that point in time, was the central figure of the band.
Their first album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” released in 1967 contains catchy lysergic-laced whimsical pop tunes with more experimental and longer instrumental pieces. This album was moderately successful but more importantly, it laid foundation for the hugely successful Dark Side of the Moon released in 1973.
Guitarist David Gilmour joined the ranks as guitarist and 5th member in 1967. A few months later, Syd Barrett quit Pink Floyd and Gilmour shouldered his responsibility full fledgedly. Between 1968 and 1972, Pink Floyd released 6 more albums namely A Sauceful of Secrets, More (an Original Movie Soundtrack for the Hollywood flick More), Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, Meddle and Obscured by Clouds. All these 6 albums continued to make inroads in the mainstream music scene and by 1972, Pink Floyd were already a major force to reckon with in the world music scenario.
The Dark Side of the Moon, their 8th studio album, was released in March 1973, and Pink Floyd was instantly catapulted to wealth and fame. The Dark Side of the Moon became one of the best selling albums of all time, spending an incredible 741 weeks on U.S. Billboard charts.
The brilliance of Dark Side of the Moon was certainly not abrupt. This masterpiece was a result of a grueling and extremely excruciating process, which saw the birth of seven beautifully tormented albums before it. The significance of Dark Side of Moon cannot be overstated in anyway, as it did for progressive rock what The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper did for rock’n roll; elevating progressive rock from pop to art and through one indelible triumph, granted authenticity to an entire genre. Dark Side of the Moon regularly features near the top in many greatest albums list of all time.
Post Dark Side of the Moon, the band produced and released Wish You Were Here, its ninth studio album followed by the underrated gem with a bitter take on humanity called ‘Animals’ and finally ending the 1970s with one of their most famous works, a double album rock opera termed ‘The Wall’ (the strains of ‘we don’t need no education’ can be heard around almost anywhere you step into). Post the release of their next album The Final Cut in 1983, Pink Floyd split up for a short while. Roger Waters quit the band to pursue a solo career and though the band did reunite in the future, it could never reach up to its own milestones that it had previously covered with consummate ease. Nevertheless, the last two albums, A Momentary Lapse in Reason released in 1987 and The Division Bell released in 1994 are absolute gems, with Pink Floyd returning to its root sounds of Dark Side of the Moon in the former and the latter achieving the double platinum states in the United States.
These flag bearers of progressive and psychedelic rock, who lent credibility to an entire genre of music, coming out with their fifteenth studio album coinciding with the 20 year anniversary of their last album is music to our ears, literally! This new material had already been recorded way back in 1994 along with The Division Bells and with a little bit of work from Gilmour, Mc-Broom Hudson and Samson (she has written the lyrics on at least seven tracks on the new album), has resulted into ‘The Endless River’.
The only downside is that there will be no tour promoting the album and Roger Waters has distanced himself from the upcoming work of his former band in an issued statement.
On a personal note, Pink Floyd took its own sweet time to grow on me. One could attribute it to my anti herd instinct kicking in when I was surrounded by Pink Floyd lovers alike who believed the only way to enjoy their music was to get high on psychotropic substances.
The strains of ‘Comfortably Numb’ did get to me in the end, without the aid of any psychotropic substance if I may add, and since then, Pink Floyd features regularly on the playlist.
As I pen this down, Pink Floyd’s first album, The Piper At The Gates of Dawn plays in the background, my own tribute to the genius eccentric and former charismatic frontman of Pink Floyd, Sid Barrett, who passed into the void eight years ago on this day.
And I wait, for my Christmas in October.