Pink Floyd’s 30 best songs

David Gilmour, Nick Mason and famous fans pick the greatest Floyd tracks

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27 If
From Atom Heart Mother (October 1970)
A Waters tune from the ‘song’ side of the album, its references to “the moon” and insanity seem oddly prescient somehow…

Ron Geesin, orchestrator “Atom Heart Mother (Suite)”: “If” reveals something of what Roger Waters really was inside. At the time, I was very close to Roger. But then I fell out with him. I’d just had enough. The fella was paranoid and I’d had one bit of nonsense too many. “If” is a kind of therapy. Roger could not face closeness, yet he needed it. Everybody needs friends, male and female, but he couldn’t cope with it. His way of dealing with it was by either attacking people or hiding. Basically, “If” is Roger Waters saying I’d like to make an album, but haven’t got enough material. When Roger and I were close, playing golf together and socialising, he was always on about leaving the group. I told him the best thing to do was get up and do it, but he didn’t.

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When I came to do “Atom Heart Mother”, we were all young nutters in different ways, blasting out into the new world. Their original backing piece, called “Epic”, had chord sequences. So I put all the melodies on there. They’re all mine. [On the fact that Geesin is not credited on the album sleeve] …They could not face somebody having done so much on something of theirs. They couldn’t allow that for their image. And when I say “they”, I’m talking about four individuals, plus henchmen, and the giant commercial machine that is the Pink Floyd Industry. It’s a powerful operation. It can be manipulative, and it is.

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26 TIME
From The Dark Side Of The Moon
After a deafening barrage of alarm clocks comes a cynical indictment of the English middle classes’ miserable lives. Rise and shine!

Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers: The Dark Side Of The Moon was my favourite record. It came out when I was eight, and my dad [David Hood, Muscle Shoals bassist] had it. He had all the Pink Floyd records. Dark Side… was like hearing the most exotic thing in the world. For an eight-year-old in Alabama, it was like something from another planet. It made a huge impression on me. I remember saving up my allowance money so I could buy my own copy. “Time” was a really big deal when I was a kid. My stereo was down on my uncle’s farm and I’d go stay with him on weekends. Out on the farm, I could play it as loud as I wanted to. So when I went to bed at night, that was my ‘go-to-bed’ record. From eight through to 12 or 13, that was the record for me.

I liked how dream-like it was and especially liked the hypnotic quality of it. It was a very melodic record. I followed Pink Floyd through my teens, right up until punk rock started happening at junior high school. Listen to any of the Drive-By Truckers songs I play lead guitar on and Dave Gilmour is one of the bigger influences on my playing. I look forward to playing Dark Side… for my own daughter when she’s old enough. I think she’ll like the weirdness of it.

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25 Fat Old Sun
From Atom Heart Mother
A dreamy, woozy Gilmour tune that cheekily nicks a Jim Morrison line (“summer Sunday and a year”) from “Love Street”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKUfuS24O-I

Geoff Hoon, Parliamentary Secretary to The Treasury: “Fat Old Sun” captures for me that early period – it’s about Cambridge, about Grantchester, it’s very laid back, quite folky and pastoral and it’s got that fantastic guitar solo that builds up towards the end. I first saw them in Leicester in 1972. The first half of the show was one continuous piece of music, which was Dark Side… They were fantastic, but when they then made that leap into the stadium circuit, some of the excitement went out of it a bit. You have to remember that they were a really obscure band in those early days – if you were a fan you spent a lot of time explaining who they were to other people!

 

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