Five essays address what has made Pink Floyd unique, and contextualize their continued impact:
1. “Lift Off”: Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd and the London underground
Joe Boyd examines the character and musical legacy of Syd Barrett, as the mythologized founder of Pink Floyd and icon of late 1960s British counterculture, drawing on the author’s personal acquaintance with Syd Barrett.
2. “What Have We Done to England?” Pink Floyd and the lure of the pastoral
Rob Young places Pink Floyd in a wider visual tradition, exploring their “British” appeal.
3. A Long Term Prospect
Jon Savage on how Pink Floyd negotiated a transition from single releases to concept albums between 1967 and 1970.
4. “Painters, pipers, prisoners”: the musical legacy of Pink Floyd
Howard Goodall explains how Pink Floyd escaped the musical constraints of the three-minute single and exploited the potential of longer-form pieces in the mid-1970s, developing their signature sound and style in Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here and continuing to hone this over subsequent albums.
5. Great Gigs in the Sky: Pink Floyd on stage
Victoria Broackes and Anna Landreth-Strong chart the band’s live acts, from the psychedelic light shows in 60s London to huge stadium concerts, with particular reference to their successful collaboration with architect and set designer Mark Fisher (1947–2013).
Their Mortal Remains: The Studio Albums: A chronological, album-by-album history of the band, each album is introduced by Mark Blake and accompanied by insights from Aubrey “Po” Powell.