The Other Side of The Wall: A Pink Floyd Fan Page

As young band mates, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Clive Metcalfe, Keith Noble, and Juliette Gale began their journey together in 1960s London. They went by many names before finding the one that would stick. They were billed as Megadeaths, Screaming Abdabs, Abdabs, and the Architectural Abdabs and, along the way, a new member, Richard Wright, joined the band.

In 1965, another new member, Syd Barrett, came on board during a period when the band was calling itself The Tea Set. Perhaps due to inspiration from a performance, after coming off stage one night, Barrett proposed changing the band’s name to The Pink Floyd Sound. The name combined the names of blues singers Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The name was soon shortened to Pink Floyd and the band became music legend that still enjoy a worldwide fan base and tremendous acclaim, more than 40 years later.

By the time the name was established, a new line-up of band members had been established, too. The new band had five members - Waters, Mason, Wright, Barrett and Bob Klose. Before the close of 1965, however, and even before the release of the new band’s first single, “Arnold Layne,” Klose would leave the band.

As the band enjoyed growing fame and the hint of financial success, altercations erupted. Bickering, disagreements, and occasional scuffles may be expected from four highly talented young men, but the members of Pink Floyd were facing deeper issues.

Syd Barrett was becoming a problem. Barrett was considered a driving force behind the band, a creative genius credited with giving the band its signature sound as well as its memorable name. However, Barrett was turning more and more often to drugs, most notably the hallucinogenic lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), to unleash his creative muse, also unleashing his inner demons in the process.

Barrett’s drug-induced irresponsibility and erratic behavior on and off stage led to talk of his removal from the band, but broaching the subject with Barrett proved difficult, if not entirely impossible. Finally, as band members were gathering together to leave for a performance, the decision was made to simply bypass Barrett’s house. By not stopping to pick him up, the band let Barrett know they were willing to continue without him. Barrett’s participation in the band he named ended in January 1968; fans feared Barrett’s ouster would doom the band.

The departure of Barrett left the band in need of a lead singer. Bands usually could change musicians with little ill effect but getting a new singer was a major change, a change that often foreshadowed the end of a band. Pink Floyd had already weathered this storm once before, beating the odds when brother and sister, Noble and Gale, left the band and Barrett came on board. The odds of a successful transition a second time were unheard of, but, by March, he’d been replaced.

Guitarist David Gilmour had been touring with the band already, filling in when Barrett was too incapacitated to perform and playing as second to Barrett’s lead so he could correct or cover for what Barrett was doing wrong. After Barrett was removed, Gilmour was an obvious replacement for Barrett, and a permanent addition to Pink Floyd.

Pink Floyd’s 1967 release, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, achieved phenomenal success under Barrett’s influence but later releases in the 1960s - A Saucerful of Secrets (1968) and Ummagumma (1969) - proved just as successful without him. The band sold more than 200 million records in the 1960s and secured their place with a major recording company, EMI.

With Barrett gone, the musical genius of Roger Waters emerged. The band had expanded the boundary of rock music with the psychedelic music it produced in the 1960s, but now with prevalent classical and jazz influences. With this new Pink Floyd sound, the band pioneered the progressive rock music genre and saw world-wide success come from the albums they released during the 1970s - Wish You Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. Those albums produced some of the band's most iconic songs, including “Money,” “Another Brick in the Wall” and “Is There Anybody Out There.”

Barrett’s physical absence from the band did not also mean an absence of his influence. Barrett’s mental anguish would eventually be diagnosed as schizophrenia, a condition amplified by his drug abuse; Barrett became inspiration for hit songs and album concepts after his departure. 

Creative friction eventually arose between Waters and Richard Wright and, once again, the band faced a shake-up. Personality clashes became so counterproductive that Waters asked Wright to leave the band, even while recording for The Wall was in full swing. Although no longer an official member of the band, Wright continued to work with Pink Floyd as a session musician and salaried employee when the band launched a promotional tour for the album.

By 1985, Waters felt the band had run its course, no longer producing fresh material that lived up to the Pink Floyd name. He wanted to retire the band and its name.

Waters‘ lack of faith in future Pink Floyd success was not unanimous; the other band members wanted to continue the act. David Gilmour was so adamant the band continue on as Pink Floyd, that he challenged Waters in court, and was granted the legal right to continue performing and recording under the Pink Floyd name.

With Waters out, Wright returned. This newest incarnation of Pink Floyd retreated to Gilmour’s houseboat, where the band’s next album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, was recorded. Even though no longer a part of the band, Waters was a frequent visitor to the houseboat recording sessions.

The Division Bell, recorded in 1993, became the final album for the band. Gilmour and Wright collaborated on the bulk of the writing for the album but it received poor reviews. In spite of those poor critical reviews, fans loved it. It soon reached the Number 1 spot on charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

The band asked Roger Waters to join them for a promotional tour of the album through Europe but he declined. Further legs of the tour led the band around the world, finally returning to London for its last performance on October 20, 1994, where Waters decided to join the band for the show.

The next, and truly last, performance of Pink Floyd occurred on July 2, 2005, when David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, and Roger Waters joined forces for the Live 8 benefit organized by Bob Geldof.

Although the reunion performance spurred talk of a more permanent reunion, it will never be as Richard Wright’s passed away in September 2008.