Pink Floyd Timeline

Milestones in band history

When Pink Floyd reunited for a performance at Live 8 in 2005, dormant hopes for a more extensive reunion awoke with a vengeance. At various times since, band members have both encouraged and discouraged such hopes. Roger Waters and David Gilmour have expressed more interest in continuing their solo careers than in trying to re-create Floyd's past glory. With the death of keyboardist Rick Wright, reunion hopes are fading again. But if we've learned anything from the band's history, it is to refrain from taking anything for granted. Our timeline recaps memorable milestones in Pink Floyd history.

01
of 19

1965

Capitol/EMI Archive
The band forms, consisting of Bob Klose and Roger Waters on guitars, Nick Mason on drums, Rick Wright on keyboards and wind instruments, and Chris Dennis as lead vocalist. Dennis is quickly replaced by Syd Barrett. Klose, who was more interested in jazz and blues, left before the group's first single, "Arnold Layne" was recorded.
02
of 19

1967

'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' album cover courtesy Capitol Records

First album is released. The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn reaches #6 on the UK album chart, but makes it no higher than #131 in the US. The album gets special attention in Britain when the band goes on tour with the already popular Jimi Hendrix.

03
of 19

1968

'A Saucerful Of Secrets' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
With Syd Barrett's behavior becoming increasingly erratic, David Gilmour replaces Barrett and the band begins to move from psychedelic to progressive with the release of A Saucerful Of Secrets.
04
of 19

1969

'More' soundtrack album cover courtesy Capitol Records
Two albums were released this year. The soundtrack for the movie, More was a mixture of acoustic folk, hard rock, and avant-garde instrumentals. Ummagumma was a double album, one disc contained live performances, the other was divided into four sections containing compositions of each member of the band.
05
of 19

1970

'Atom Heart Mother' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
Atom Heart Mother is released. The band plays a free concert attended by 20,000 in London's Hyde Park. The band's gear is stolen at a tour stop in New Orleans.
06
of 19

1971

'Meddle' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
The band embarks on its first tour of Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Meddle is released. Both Gilmour and Mason would later say that this album served to define Pink Floyd from then on.
07
of 19

1972

'Obscured By Clouds' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
The first Pink Floyd single to get significant radio airplay in the U.S., "Free Fun" is first heard. It is from the album Obscured By Clouds, which was based on the band's soundtrack for the french film, La Vallee.
08
of 19

1973

'Dark Side Of The Moon' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
What would become the band's best known, and most commercially successful album is released. The Dark Side Of The Moon has sales of over 40-million. More than three decades later, the groundbreaking concept album continues to sell more copies each week than some of the albums on the Top 200 chart of current releases.
09
of 19

1975

'Wish You Were Here' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
Their performance at the Knebworth Festival set new standards for live shows. It included fireworks and an exploding airplane. Wish You Were Here, a combination of commentary on the music industry and tribute to Syd Barrett, was released.
10
of 19

1977

'Animals' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
Of Animals, Rick Wright said in a 1994 BBC interview, "I didn't really like a lot of the music on the album. I think it was the start of the whole ego thing in the band." Nonetheless, the concept album about the perils of capitalism proved to be a commercial success.
11
of 19

1979

'The Wall' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
The year of The Wall. The double album rock opera was Roger Waters' autobiography set to music. It was an immediate critical and commercial success, with a film version following in 1982. Tension within the band over Waters' increasing dominance grew during the recording of The Wall and resulted in Waters' banishment of Rick Wright to a minor role in the group for the next few years.
12
of 19

1983

'The Final Cut' album cover courtesy Capitol Records
Conflicts between Waters and Gilmour over the band's stylistic direction continue to grow during the recording of The Final Cut, which will turn out to be the final Pink Floyd album for Waters. So limited is the participation of other band members that Waters suggests releasing it as a solo album, but the idea doesn't fly.
13
of 19

1985

Roger Waters photo by MK Chan/Getty Images
Roger Waters leaves, proclaiming the end of the band. But when Gilmour, Mason and Wright continue to perform as Pink Floyd, Waters goes to court to try and stop them from using the name. In the end, he loses that fight, and Pink Floyd, minus Waters, forges ahead.
14
of 19

1987

'A Momentary Lapse Of Reason' album cover courtesy Sony / Columbia Records
What started as a David Gilmour solo project became Pink Floyd's first post-Waters album, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. Critics weren't kind, but the album quickly went to #3 on the US and UK album charts. A planned 11-week tour in support of the album ultimately lasted almost two years.
15
of 19

1994

'The Division Bell' album cover courtesy Sony / Columbia Records
The band's final studio album, The Division Bell is released. It results in Pink Floyd's one and only GRAMMY award, Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Marooned." A live album recorded during the Division Bell tour, P*U*L*S*E, is released the following year.
16
of 19

1996

l-r: Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, courtesy Electric Artists
Pink Floyd is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All except Waters and Barrett attend the induction ceremony. Mason accepts the award, but doesn't join Gilmour and Wright for their performance of "Wish You Were Here."
17
of 19

2005

l-r: Gilmour, Waters, Mason, Wright at Live 8. Photo by MJ Kim / Getty Images
The last Pink Floyd concert that included both Gilmour and Waters occurred in London in July 2005 at the Live 8 benefit. When reunion fever ensued, band members confided that there were enough of the old tensions apparent during rehearsals to cast doubt on the prospect of anything more than a one-off reunion. That seemed to be borne out in 2007 when Waters performed solo while Gilmour, Mason and Wright performed together at a benefit for their late bandmate, Syd Barrett.
18
of 19

2006

Syd Barrett photo courtesy Capitol Records
Syd Barrett died at the age of 60 of complications from diabetes in July 2006. It was Barrett who wrote most of Pink Floyd's groundbreaking debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, released in 1967. He left the band in 1968 as his increasing mental instability was made worse by heavy drug use. He recorded two solo albums before leaving the music business altogether. He died in Cambridge, England, where he was born and had lived quietly since dropping out of public view.
19
of 19

2008

Rick Wright photo by MJ Kim / Getty Images
Keyboardist Rick Wright died of cancer at the age of 65 in September 2008. Wright was a primary architect (along with Barrett) of the band's early experimental sound. In recent years, Wright had frequently toured and recorded with David Gilmour. On his website, Gilmour wrote, "Like Rick, I don't find it easy to express my feelings in words, but I loved him and will miss him enormously."