Pink Floyd’s 30 best songs

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

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The 4th Uncut New Music Playlist Of 2020

Apologies for what feels like a massive delay since the last Playlist; crazy deadlines plus, you know, real world...

21 One Of These Days
From Meddle
Hypnotic, bass-driven LP opener. An instrumental, save the distorted warning: “One of these days, I’m going to cut you into little pieces!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRPCrWPAtEQ

Jeff Dexter, UFO DJ and promoter: A real acid freakout. It’s got a thundering bass intro. And it’s got that wonderful sweeping slide of Dave’s. That was the song the Floyd did for the Roland Petit Ballet [Paris, 1973]. Being involved with that was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being an old ballet dancer myself, to go to France with Floyd and see it being performed was just fantastic. I was at the front of the stage with a camera, filming it all.

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I used to put Pink Floyd on at the Roundhouse a lot in the early days. And on June 2, 1967, my wedding day, they played for us. I always loved “Money”, too. In fact, it was me who convinced them to put “Money” out as a single. They had no faith in it because it had such strange timing. But when I got the first version of it, I played it at the Roundhouse, then called Steve [O’Rourke, Floyd’s manager from 1968-2003] and told him to get over there. Whenever I played it, people went ape-shit. It was the best idiot dancing I’d ever seen. I said, “That is a big hit.” Steve wasn’t sure, but I told him: “Don’t worry about it. It’ll be the Floyd’s calling card for the rest of their lives.” And nobody’s ever written that up before, because they were so out of it at the time!

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20 See Saw
From A Saucerful Of Secrets (June 1968)
Keyboards man Rick Wright shuffles to the forefront with a glorious piece of soft-focus psych.

Robert Wyatt: I think Rick Wright’s contribution is underestimated. He created a landscape on organ, an atmosphere around which things could happen. In the early days, the two star guitarists are the ones who are the most spectacular, obviously, but Rick is so modest. “See Saw” is such a beautiful tune. If you listen to that, then listen to stuff I’ve done ever since, you can hear the modest but crucial role keyboards have.

The Floyd are such gentlemen. I was upset at the split between the bass player [Waters] and the guitarist [Gilmour], because I owe them both so much as friends. It’s like when you know a couple who get divorced and you like both of them. I think David’s a giant. To the extent that David has asserted himself, I think that saved the Pink Floyd. When Syd left, David recomposed the band. Had he not done that, they would just be another cult band from the ’60s. But David took a moment out of that fleeting adolescent ethic, held onto it and made it into something the group could grow up with.

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19 HAVE A CIGAR
From Wish You Were Here (Sept 1975)
Cricketing chum Roy Harper sings this waspish satire of an unctuous record company big-cheese (“Oh, by the way, which one’s Pink?”)

Bob Harris, DJ and presenter: I was there back at Middle Earth and UFO in 1967 – and I’ve been a friend and observer ever since then. “Have A Cigar” is certainly the one song that jumps out. Partly it’s the presence of Roy Harper on lead vocals – one of the great mavericks of British music. His voice gives Floyd a real edge. The grinding, syncopated opening guitar riff establishes a really funky groove, and the lyrics are cynical but very funny. Even though they had moved away from making singles , “Have A Cigar” proved that they could still write strong pop songs less than five minutes long. There’s no long solos or anything that detracts from the strength of the melody and the chord changes. A superb piece of music.

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