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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.
There's little question in my mind that the band really figured out how to best focus its talents around 1972, around the time of Live at Pompeii and the DSOTM sessions.From that point on, sorting out the roles of the various members of the band becomes a little complicated.Roger Waters took it upon himself early on to be the band's "leader," but while it is true that Pink Floyd eventually became, in essence, his backing band, the group was very much a "democracy" for a good number of years.ink Floyd is one of the great enigmas in the culture of classic rock.They were one of the best representatives of the underground psychedelic London scene of 1967, yet unlike so many other good bands that originated in that era, they were able to successfully evolve into something better and WAY more popular, even after losing their frontman and main creative force after one album.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.Roger may not have been the main songwriter for most of the band's life, but he was certainly the band's dark, bitter soul, and he brought a number of things to the table.He was an effective lyricist, a good writer of bittersweet acoustic ballads, a master of atmospherics and an aggressive user of sound effects to help drive home his points and make the overall sound more powerful.Given the fact that the band has its own wing in the R&R Hall of Fame (run by Rolling Stone), you'd think that would mean that RS loves their catalogue, throwing out stars to them in a way reserved only for the Beatles and the Stones. A look at the shows that DSOTM and WYWH get 5 stars, Piper at the Gates of Dawn and The Wall get 4 a piece, and all the rest 2 or 3.Given that the guide makes it a point to denounce the remainder of the band's catalogue as experimental garbage, it confuses me how a set of four albums can somehow merit this much praise.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.