Monday, March 31, 2014

The Passion Of Christ Set To Pink Floyd... Whatever Next

The Passion Of Christ Set To Pink Floyd... Whatever Next

After a modest success as a psychedelic outfit in the 1960s under surreal wild man Syd Barret. Pink Floyd dumped him for guitarist David Gilmour and went on to become one of the world's most successful bands ever, selling more than 200m albums worldwide.

Their Dark Side Of The Moon album was first to hit mega sales in 1973 followed by monster album hits with Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979). In 1986 singer Roger Waters declared the band finished though the others continued without him and with considerable success. Waters then rejoined them for the 2005 Live Aid concert and there were hopes of an album release, but in 2006 Gilmour suggested the band would no longer tour or produce records - so effectively dead then.

Pink Floyd's debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn , with most of the songs by Syd Barret, is today regarded and one of the best examples of British psychedelia. The follow up album A Saucerful Of Secrets consisted largely of noise, feedback, loud bangs, oscillators and tape loops and was a disaster. Wayward experiments in atonal, jarring, meandering pieces with extended percussion solos typified their output until the 70s when they ditched the 'psychedelic' nonsense for a more mellow sound, polished performance and pieces of epic length.

This is the era many consider the finest with two great albums, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here. The first was a watershed giving them their first big break in the US staying #1 for an unbelievable world record breaking 741 weeks, the other the first Pink Floyd album to reach #1 in UK and US charts.

In the late 70s, jazzy keyboard and sax lines were dropped as the band turned more 'orchestral' and moans grew at the pretentious lyrics and tediously long songs. The criticism was stemmed party by the release of the rock opera The Wall in 1982 which sold over 30 million copies worldwide, became the third-best selling album of all time in the US and currently certified 23x platinum though it only ever made #3 in the UK.

A movie Pink Floyd: The Wall grossed $14m in the US. In the wake of such acclaim the band did what most bands do when fame reaches astronomical levels - they went their separate ways. Gilmour and Waters released solo albums and other opted for collaborations with other artists.

In 1986 Walters announced he was quitting the band prompting a bitter legal wrangle over the Pink Floyd name and song credits. The band (ex Walters) released A Momentary Lapse of Reason which was pretty well just that, according to the critics, though it hit #3 in the UK and US. In 1987 came a double live album and a concert video taken from some 1988 shows, called Delicate Sound of Thunder followed by a nine disc box set release of Shine Onthat included re-releases of the studio albums.

Pink Floyd were in danger of becoming empty and formulaic though it didn't stop the 1994 The Division Bell hitting #1 in the UK and US. It turned out to be the last studio album to be released. There was the splendid Echoes album in 2001 - a great career compendium and some recordings of live shows and remastered disc releases.Hopes that the band's Live 8 appearance would trigger a reunion tour failed to materialise despite rumours of a $250 million tour deal.

In January 2006 Gilmour issued a joint statement for the group stating that they had no plans to reunite. Gilmour plugs away with solo releases. Waters and Wright are both reported to be working on solo albums. For all their achievements they never escaped the long shadow of loony Syd Barrett who died in 2006.

Using music by Floyd to interpret the passion of Christ is unlikely to turn many none-believers, but it's important to note that Christians must see something deep in the music which still sets my pulse racing after all these years.

Pink Floyd best album: Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

Pink Floyd rated albums:
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1987), Wish You Were Here (1975), The Wall (1979), Echoes (2001)

Pink Floyd missable albums:
Atom Heart Mother (1970), Delicate Sound Of Thunder (1988), The Division Bell (1994), Pulse (1995), Is Anybody Out There? The Wall: Live (2000)

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