’70s Pink Floyd Songs That We Will Always Remember
Their Glory Years
The 1970s was a glorious era in rock but Pink Floyd rose up and became one of prog-rock’s titans with a string of classic hits that reaffirmed their status as rockstars. Founder and frontman Syd Barrett left in 1968 due to his deteriorating mental health and his unreliability during live performances. Roger Waters stepped up and took on the role of primary lyricist. He was also mostly responsible for coming up with their iconic concept albums.
Here are five songs from the ’70s that will always stay with us.
5. Echoes (Meddle, 1971)
The highlight of their sixth album Meddle, the song takes up the entire side two and clocks in at 23 minutes & 31 seconds. From the structure and texture to Gilmour’s stunning solo, Echoes evolved from some of their live performances. Its working title was Return To The Sun Of Nothing and if you think the song seems deep, that’s because it is. Waters wanted to describe “The potential that human beings have for recognizing each other’s humanity and responding to it, with empathy rather than antipathy.”
4. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Wish You Were Here, 1975)
A tribute to Syd Barrett, it’s slow and dramatic. And it perfectly conveyed Waters’ distress at seeing Barrett’s state when he wandered into their recording studio. Separated in two parts, the epic track bookends their ninth album Wish You Were Here. It’s one of the most arresting and emotive pieces in Pink Floyd’s catalog. Not surprisingly, this was also difficult to record.
3. Money (The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973)
In the early ’70s, Pink Floyd were at their creative peak and Money is one of the proofs. From the unusual time signature to the guitar riffs and bass line, it’s as glorious as it can get. Throw in some extended guitar solos by Gilmour and we just couldn’t ask for more. In an interview with Guitar World, Gilmour revealed: “I just wanted to make a dramatic effect with the three solos. The first solo is ADT’d – Artificially Double Tracked. I think I did the first two solos on a Fender Stratocaster, but the last one was done on a different guitar – a Lewis, which was made by some guy in Vancouver. It had a whole two octaves on the neck, which meant I could get up to notes that I couldn’t play on a Stratocaster.”
2. Wish You Were Here (Wish You Were Here, 1975)
Pink Floyd can go from dreamy to fiery but for one of their most hauntingly beautiful pieces, it’s both emotive and poignant. According to Waters, this is another song inspired by Barrett whose battle with his mental health was well-known. Even with plenty of masterpieces on their catalog, this is actually one of the few times when both Waters and Gilmour wrote a song together. Gilmour called it one of their best songs “because of its resonance and the emotional weight it carries.”
1. Comfortably Numb (The Wall, 1979)
This rock anthem perfectly defines Pink Floyd’s sound. It’s one of their most popular and enduring songs. A lot of people mistakenly believed it’s about drugs but Waters has repeatedly denied that and even explained what it’s about. Speaking to Guitar World about his iconic solo, Gilmour said: “I just went out into the studio and banged out 5 or 6 solos. From there I just followed my usual procedure, which is to listen back to each solo and mark out bar lines, saying which bits are good.”