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10-Jun-2019 02:29

Originally, the band was clearly led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Syd Barrett, whose tweaked sense of whimsy, love of guitar feedback and unfortunate fondness for LSD helped make Piper one of the classics of 1967.Keyboardist Rick Wright was the most prominent "backing" member of the group, contributing a healthy share of vocals and bunch of interesting organ parts, but no original songs, while bassist Roger Waters (who got one token song on the first album) and drummer Nick Mason seemed solid but not indispensable.This is a band that makes no freaking sense, and I love them for it.History has done a really strange job of treating the band's legacy, though.If one were to ask a typical classic rock fan off of the street to name albums that Pink Floyd had done, 95 times out of 100 the answers would be restricted to Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall and Wish You Were Here.Furthermore, it would happen more often than not that said typical classic rock fan would identify themselves as a "big Pink Floyd fan." Years and years after first getting seriously into the band, the distortion of the band's history by the classic rock radio community as a whole continues to greatly bother me.They were one of the most technophilian bands I've ever heard in my life, relying on sound effects like mad and featuring all kinds of processed keyboard and guitar noises, yet it is extremely rare to find somebody nowadays who considers a classic Pink Floyd album "artificial" sounding.Their greatest commercial successes were with a concept album that shoved classic rock and smooth jazz styles into a prog rock format, a tribute album to their original frontman (whose main feature is a 25-minute synth-based art-rock suite, split in two), and a double-length rock opera released after the punk revolution.

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The classic albums did a good job of refining the band's earlier ideas into something more easily swallowed by the general public, but many of these ideas were, in my opinion, done just as interestingly on the earlier albums, if not more so.

It's not that the songs that get played most often are bad (though some of the ones off The Wall are a mite overrated), but rather that it just doesn't seem like an unreasonable request for other great songs from the band's lesser known albums to get play once in a while.

As great as "Time," and "Money," and "Comfortably Numb," and "Wish You Were Here," and "Run Like Hell" might be, it doesn't seem right for them to completely overshadow "Astronomy Domine," or "Cymbaline," or "One of These Days," or far too many others.

Critics, by and large, absolutely love them: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not only elected them in 1994, but also has an entire wing devoted to the band's history.

Yet despite their massive success and following, and despite an ever-growing number of people who have a strong familiarity and love for the band's whole history, the % of music fans who really know the group is pretty small.When LSD started to destroy Barrett's ability to function, though, the band hired guitarist David Gilmour as a stage replacement, and eventually as a full-time replacement.