Musical adventurers, we’ve all heard about it. We have all dreamed of one day being able to read it. We have waited together, yearning, for the day it finally appears. But the wait is over! It is my very great honour to be able to announce that it is here. Yes, here, now. So with no further ado, I present for your reading pleasure my Top Five pieces of Pink Floyd related trivia for when you want to impress your friends with your knowledge of Pink Floyd related trivia. In no particular order:
1. Pink Floyd’s last two albums were recorded on a houseboat
In 1986 Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour bought the Astoria, a historic houseboat, and converted it into a recording studio. This unusual studio was where the band recorded parts of their final albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. Isn’t it fancy!
2. Don’t expect a straight answer from a Beatle
The snippets of voices on this week’s Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon were the answers given by various roadies and recording studio employees to a series of questions on flashcards. These questions began innocuously, asking about favourite colours and food, but moved on to darker topics in line with the themes of the album. Paul and Linda McCartney were also interviewed in this way, but the answers they gave were deemed too flippant to be used on the album.
3. Shaved eyebrows are so hot right now
Anyone who has seen Pink Floyd’s excellent concept film The Wall (highly recommended) will remember the drug fuelled mental breakdown of its star, and the subsequent bizarre eyebrowless look he adopted. This was inspired by the band’s real life encounter with Pink Floyd founder and original leader Syd Barrett many years after his departure from the band. Pink Floyd were recording their album Wish You Were Here when it transpired that the portly and dishevelled figure observing was in fact an ex-bandmate. The band was so moved by their former member’s downfall that they immortalised Barrett’s brow-free look in The Wall, and it has since become a fashion phenomenon.
4. Credit where credit’s due
Session singer Clare Torey was paid just £30 to improvise the wordless vocals on The Great Gig in the Sky, the closing track to side one of Dark Side of the Moon. These vocals are a fundamental part of the track, and in 2004 she quite rightly decided that she should have writing credit for it. Torey reached a successful out of court settlement with Pink Floyd and EMI for an undisclosed sum, and The Great Gig in the Sky is now attributed to Wright/Torey.
5. Publius Enigma
The internet is awash with conspiracy theories about hidden messages in rock albums, most of which are a load of nonsense. A notable exception is the clues peppered throughout the Beatles’ later work, describing Paul McCartney’s untimely death and replacement, but it turns out that Pink Floyd created a real enigma too. The exact details are shrouded in mystery, but in an early example of viral marketing some bright spark at the record label created a complicated puzzle around Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell album with a tantalising prize proffered for the solver. Conducted primarily on internet message boards and with confirmation of its legitimacy appearing at a Pink Floyd concert, this enigma has never been solved (or according to some theories, has been solved). It’s a mystery; if you’ve got some time on your hands, read all about it!
So there we have it. You are now equipped to impress your friends with your knowledge of Pink Floyd related trivia whenever the mood strikes you. What’s your favourite Pink Floyd factoid?