Recognized as one of the most popular rock bands in the world, it might surprise the casual listener to know Pink Floyd had a slow climb to fame. In the mid-‘60s they were led by singer and main songwriter Syd Barrett, who crafted a heavy, psychedelic sound and hallucinatory lyrics for the band’s early singles and debut record, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. As Barrett’s mental state and drug use became more and more debilitating, both personally and for the band, the other members decided to add guitarist and singer David Gilmour. Barrett would quit the band shortly afterward.
Pink Floyd released several more albums, eventually finding their unique progressive rock voice on 1971’s Meddle, which featured a polished and atmospheric sound that would become even more textured on their 1973 opus, The Dark Side of the Moon. Between those two albums, the band recorded Obscured by Clouds. Conceived as a soundtrack to the French film La Vallée, it was recorded in a matter of weeks and represents one of the last times the band would work so collaboratively on tracks and bring their individual ideas to songs. Bassist Roger Waters would write all the lyrics after this record until his departure from the band in 1985.
Jason discusses how “Childhood’s End,” a track with music and lyrics by Gilmour, finds Pink Floyd more seriously exploring themes of life and death, topics they would revisit throughout their career and most explicitly on Dark Side. The song in many ways is similar to the quintessential track “Time” from that record, with the band reusing the opening section of “Childhood’s End.” While Scott is not a Pink Floyd fan, he does like this song, and that says a lot!