I just read an article about the sale of Pink Floyd’s inflatable pig “Algie”. The SUV-sized porcine shaped dirigible was created for the 1977 Animals tour. Evidently nostalgia set in and members of the band blocked a sale by a third party. They want “Algie” back. Too bad they weren’t able to muster that level of cooperation behind a world tour.
I never had the pleasure of seeing Pink Floyd’s most creative, famous and commercially successful line up (Gilmour, Waters, Wright & Mason). I was too young to receive my parents blessing to see them at the Boston Garden on the Dark Side of the Moon (1972) or Wish You Were Here (1975) tours. And I couldn’t get tickets to Animals (1977) or The Wall (1981) tours.
Fast forward to 2006 and I was elated to see the Roger Waters version of Dark Side of the Moon at Key Arena. Then I saw Water’s version of The Wall twice; once in Tacoma in 2010 and again Seattle in 2012. Amazing!
During a ten year period beginning in the early 70s, Pink Floyd released four studio albums. All were concept albums built around Waters ideas with him writing most of the lyrics. The songs tended to focus on the negative attributes of human behavior, which is no surprise given the band’s post-war up-bringing where times were tough and outlooks bleak (Waters father died in WWII). In spite of the darker lyrics they are quite poetic and at times humorous. And the music is phenomenal.
Dark Side of the Moon (1972)
One of the best-selling albums of all time, DSotM, a.k.a., Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics. The tracks were created on the road and by reworking previously unused material. It was a concept album focusing on themes of the passage of time, organized religion and mental illness.
Wish You Were Here (1975)
Work on Wish You Were Here began during the DSotM tour. Wish You Were Here was another concept album although it centers around the issues of corporate greed, alienation and mental illness. It featured a wonderful tribute to former bandmate Syd Barrett called “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”. Both Richard Wright and David Gilmour claim that Wish You Were Here is their favorite Pink Floyd album.
This album was modestly influenced by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It’s a rebuke of the socio-economic and political conditions in Great Britain (and the world) in the late 70s. Sadly, the corresponding tour was plagued by greedy promotors, internal strife and a lack of connection with fans. It was a low period for the band. Nonetheless, it’s a stellar musical effort and may be one of the most underrated rock albums of the 70s.
The Wall (1981)
The final concept album and final studio album to be released by the Gilmour, Waters, Wright & Mason iteration of Pink Floyd. Waters’ lyrics continue with familiar themes of corporate greed, failed foreign policies, the influence of organized religion, feelings of alienation and mental illness, but this album is more reflective in that Waters examines his earlier life and attempts to measure the price of success. The Wall wraps up a decade’s worth of commentary on the human condition.