Pink Floyd – 33 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Pink Floyd are an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They gained a huge following of fans as one of the earliest British psychedelic groups. Eventually becoming one of the leading bands in the progressive rock genre.
They were set apart from other bands by their long compositions, thought provoking lyrics and large and engaging live shows. Their original lineup featured Syd Barrett (guitar, lead vocals), Roger Waters (bass, vocals), Richard Wright (Keyboards, vocals) and Nick Mason (drums).
After the release of their successful debut album “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” David Gilmour (guitar, vocals) joined in 1967. Syd Barrett left in April 1968 due to poor mental health which led to Roger Waters becoming the band’s leading songwriter.
Above are facts you probably already know about the band, keep reading for 33 impressive facts about Pink Floyd you didn’t know.
They Had A Few Name Changes
Before they settled on Pink Floyd, the band had several earlier names like; Sigma 6, Spectrum 5, Meggadeaths, The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers and The Tea Set.
Then for a while they were known as The Pink Floyd Sound and then The Pink Floyd. They lost the “The” shortly after Syd Barrett left the band and became just Pink Floyd.
Their Name Derives From Two Blues Artists
The band’s name Pink Floyd is derived from two of Syd Barrett’s favourite blues artists, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council merged together. They had to change their band name in a hurry as there was another band on the same bill called Tea Set, so Syd came up with the name and it stuck.
He’s Not In The Band
Over the years several music executives assumed that Pink Floyd was a band member’s name. The band made reference to this with the line “By the way which one’s Pink?” on the track “Have A Cigar” taken from the album “Wish You Were Here”.
One Of Their Album Titles Was Inspired By Heart Surgery
When they were looking for a title for their 1970 album, someone spotted a newspaper headline about the first ever woman to be fitted with an atomic pacemaker. That album was “Atom Heart Mother”.
A Cover Design They Rejected Became One Of Def Leppard’s Album Covers
The design company behind most of Pink Floyd’s album covers presented them with the inverted swimmer for the album “Atom Heart Mother”, they rejected it and went for the cow instead. The inverted swimmer went on to become the cover for Def Leppard’s “High n’ Dry” album.
They Recorded What Became The Third Best Selling Album Ever
Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side Of the Moon” was the best selling album in the world at one point, and is still the third best selling album. It has sold so many copies that it is estimated that one in every twelve people in the world own a copy.
SEE ALSO: Pink Floyd Albums Ranked (rated from worst to best)
They Were The First Band To Pioneer Live Surround Sound
Always on the lookout for new and innovative sound ideas, Pink Floyd experimented with an Azimuth Coordinator Quadraphonic Sound System which made them the first rock band to pioneer live surround sound.
One Of Their Songs Was Based On A Ladies Clothing Thief
Their first single, “Arnold Layne” which describes an eccentric character who steals ladies clothing from washing lines, was based on a real person known by Roger Waters.
Both my mother and Syd’s mother had students as lodgers because there was a girls’ college up the road so there were constantly great lines of bras and knickers on our washing lines and ‘Arnold’ or whoever he was, had bits off our washing lines.Roger Waters
They Shared A Recording Studio With The Beatles
When Pink Floyd were at Abbey Road recording studios to record “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, The Beatles were in an adjoining studio recording “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
That wasn’t the first time they’d been in the same place at the same time as The Beatles (or at least one of them). A film of their Alexandra Palace show from the same year shows Yoko Ono performing an art installation and John Lennon is in the crowd (it was before John and Yoko had met).
One Of Their Album’s Is Supposed To Sync With An Iconic Film
There has been a popular conspiracy theory that Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side Of The Moon” was made to intentionally sync with the 1939 classic film “The Wizard Of Oz”.
In truth, the album does appear to match up with the movie, but the band has always denied any intentional connection.
One Of Their Albums Inspired The Name Of A Newly Discovered Insect
A new species of Damselfly was discovered in 2015 in Africa. The scientists who discovered it named the new species “Ummagumma” after Pink Floyd’s album of the same name which was released in 1969.
One Of Their Albums Is Loosely Based On A Novel
Pink Floyd’s 1977 album “Animals” was loosely based on George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”. The album and the novel compare different social classes with animals like dogs or sheep. But where “Animal Farm” was written in criticism of Stalinism, the album criticises capitalism.
They’ve Only Ever Had One Song That’s Topped The Billboard 100 Chart
Pink Floyd have had amazing successes with albums like “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall”. However, they have only ever had one single which topped the Billboard 100 singles chart. That song was “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” taken from the album “The Wall”.
There Was A Film Made Based On One Of Their Albums
The soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s album “The Wall” which was released in 1979, was used for the film “Pink Floyd – The Wall” in 1982. The film was directed by Alan Parker and the screenplay was written by Pink Floyd’s bass guitarist and vocalist Roger Waters.
The film stars The Boomtown Rats vocalist Bob Geldof as rock star Pink. The film is part live action and part animation and it went on to become hugely successful especially amongst Pink Floyd fans.
They Headlined The First Ever Free Live Concert In Hyde Park London
On June 29th 1968, the first free live concert was held in London’s Hyde park. The band that headlined that show was Pink Floyd, other bands included Tyrannosaurus Rex (T. Rex) and Jethro Tull.
Stanley Kubrick Wanted To Use One Of Their Tracks For A Clockwork Orange
The famous film producer Stanley Kubrick approached Pink Floyd and asked them if he could use parts of their album “Atom Heart Mother” on the soundtrack of his psychological thriller A Clockwork Orange.
They refused because he wanted to cut parts of the track and the band wanted to keep it whole.
SEE ALSO: Best Pink Floyd Songs (list with chords & lyrics)
They Were Banned From Many Venues Due To Damage
Pink Floyd’s live shows were always spectacular, with copious amounts of pyrotechnics and explosives used throughout. These live shows often resulted in venues becoming damaged which led to several bans.
The most famous show with damages they were guilty of was after they played Venice, Italy in 1989. There were more than 200,000 in the audience to watch the band perform from a floating stage. The show’s production caused severe damage to old bridges and centuries old marble.
One Of Their Albums Was The First Rock Album Ever To Be Played In Space
Pink Floyd’s 1988 live album, “Delicate Sound Of Thunder” was taken up into space by Russian cosmonauts. The album was taken to the MIR space station during the Soyuz TM-7 mission in 1989. It was also Pink Floyd’s only official Russian album release of their career through a state owned record label.
Parts Of Their Later Albums Were Recorded On A Houseboat
David Gilmour bought a houseboat called Astoria in 1986 and converted it into a recording studio. Parts of “The Division Bell”, “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason” and “The Endless River” were all recorded on the houseboat on the river Thames.
The Flaming Man On One Of their Album Covers Was Real
On the cover of the album “Wish You Were Here” there is an image of two businessmen shaking hands with one of them on fire. That wasn’t a photoshopped image, the guy on fire, Ronnie Rondell, was wearing a fire retardant suit and was actually set on fire.
Barrett’s Name Wasn’t Really Syd
One of the founding members of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett was really called Roger Keith Barrett. He was nicknamed “Syd” by his friends after a drummer they knew whose name was Sid Barrett.
They Met While Attending College
The founding members of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright all met while attending the London Polytechnic in 1963 while studying architecture.
David Gilmour Owns The First Fender Stratocaster
It’s no secret that David Gilmour collects guitars, but what is not so widely known is that he owns the Fender Stratocaster with the first serial number 0001.
SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Pink Floyd Use?
They Were Sued By Kids
The chorus from Pink Floyd’s hit single “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” was sung by school children. When those children became adults, they tried to sue the band for royalties, but they were unsuccessful.
They Were Record Makers In More Ways Than One
Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side Of The Moon” is in the Guinness Book Of World Records for 591 consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart. That’s more than 11 years in the Top 200 albums chart in the US!
Their Last Album Is The Most Pre Ordered Album On Amazon UK
Pink Floyd’s final album, “The Endless River” which was released on November 7th 2014 is the most pre-ordered album ever on Amazon UK.
One Of Their Songs Honours A Past Band Member
The Pink Floyd song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” taken from the album “Wish You Were Here” was written in honour of Syd Barrett, one of the band’s founding members who had to leave due to poor mental health. The song shows they still miss and support their former band mate.
One Of The Band Played One Of The Biggest Concerts In The World
After leaving Pink Floyd, Roger Waters organised a performance of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in Berlin in 1990 a few months after the fall of the Berlin wall. It became one of the biggest concerts in the world.
Other artists included; The Scorpions, Cyndi Lauper, Sinead O’Connor, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams, Van Morrison, Paul Carrack and Jerry Hall.
They Used Studio Staff And Roadies Voices On One Of Their Iconic Albums
Pink Floyd’s record breaking album, “The Dark Side Of The Moon” has little snippets of voices peppered throughout the album. Those were the voices of roadies, studio staff and members of the band Wings. Even Paul and Linda McCartney joined in as well as almost anyone who happened to be at the Abbey Road recording studios at the time.
Roger Waters had questions written on cue cards placed in front of a microphone and asked each of them to answer a particular question. The studio doorman Gerry O’Driscoll gave the answer that ended the album, the now famous quote “There is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact it’s all dark”.
Their Drummer Only Ever Had A Vocal Part In One Song
Nick Mason, Pink Floyd’s drummer and longest running band member, only ever had any vocals appear on one song. The song was “One Of These Days” from the album “Meddle”. It’s just one sentence and it’s filtered and played on a slowed down tape and sounds quite scary.
The track is mainly instrumental but around halfway through you can hear the line “One of these days I’m going to cut you into little pieces” spoken by Nick Mason.
The Cover Of One Of Their Albums Features Battersea Power Station
Pink Floyd’s 1977 album “Animals” features a pig shaped balloon flying over Battersea power station. The cover was conceived by Roger Waters and the band commissioned German company Ballon Fabrik to make the 40 ft (12 metre) pig which the band named Algie.
They inflated it with helium and put it into position with a marksman on site in case it broke free. The work was delayed due to inclement weather and the following day the band’s manager Steve O’Rourke failed to hire the marksman.
The balloon broke free and flew over Heathrow airport which resulted in cancelled flights and pilots reporting seeing pigs fly. It eventually landed in Kent and was recovered by a farmer who complained it had scared his cows.
In the end one of the earlier images of the power station was used with an image of the pig added on later.
One Of Their Albums Was Named By An Author
The title of the Pink Floyd album “The Division Bell” was named by “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” author Douglas Adams. Who was spurred to come up with a suggestion by the promise of a payment to his favourite charity The Environmental Investigation Agency.
Their Last Reunion Was For Charity
Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and David Gilmour got together for the first time in 24 years. For the Live8 concert which was an event instigated by Bob Geldof to put pressure on G8 leaders to make poverty history.
Do You Know Any More?
That’s our 33 impressive facts about Pink Floyd you never knew, do you know any more? We’d love to hear them, let us know in the comments.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Pink Floyd album which is in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest time on the Billboard 200 chart is “The Dark Side Of The Moon” which spent 591 consecutive weeks on the Billboard chart.
The Pink Floyd track that contains the line “By the way which one’s Pink” is “Have A Cigar” which is taken from the album “Wish You Were Here”.
The band that was once called The Tea Set is Pink Floyd. They had a number of different names before settling on Pink Floyd including; Sigma 6, Spectrum 5, Meggadeaths, The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers and The Tea Set. Then for a while they were known as The Pink Floyd Sound and then The Pink Floyd.
The Pink Floyd album cover that features Battersea power station is “Animals” which was released on January 21st 1977.
The Pink Floyd album that was the first rock album ever to be played in space was “The Delicate Sound Of Thunder”. It was taken to the Russian space station MIR during the Soyuz TM-7 mission in 1989.
The original band members of Pink Floyd first met at college, the London Polytechnic in 1963 while studying architecture.
The Pink Floyd song that contains the lines “The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death” is “Time” which is taken from the album “The Dark Side Of The Moon”.
The Singer that played the part of Pink in the film “Pink Floyd – The Wall” was Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats).
Pink Floyd’s debut album is entitled “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” which was released on August 5th 1967.
The Pink Floyd album title that was inspired by a newspaper headline is “Atom Heart Mother” which was released on October 2nd 1970 in the UK and 8 days later in the US.
The first Pink Floyd album to reach number one on the UK album charts was “Atom Heart Mother” which was released on October 2nd 1970 in the UK and 8 days later in the US.
The title of the first Pink Floyd album without Syd Barrett is “More” which was released on June 13th 1969 in the UK and on August 9th 1969 in the US.
The Pink Floyd song that contains the lines “New car, caviar, four star, daydream, think I’ll buy me a football team” is “Money” which was taken from the album “The Dark Side Of The Moon”.
Pink Floyd were known as the Screaming Abdabs among other things, they were also known as; Sigma 6, Spectrum 5, Meggadeaths, The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers and The Tea Set. Then for a while they were known as The Pink Floyd Sound and then The Pink Floyd before eventually becoming Pink Floyd.
The other band that were in the Abbey Road recording studios when Pink Floyd recorded their debut album “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” were The Beatles who were recording “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.