Pink Floyd wouldn't have been a good bet to survive the 1960s, let alone the century. Original defining songwriter Syd Barrett was a sidelined acid casualty by 1968, when guitarist David Gilmour arrived. The group played to a cult audience until capturing the zeitgeist with 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon, an album about alienation and paranoia that sold millions and charted for over a decade. "Money," the album's surprise hit, opens with ringing cash registers the most famous example of Pink Floyd's fondness for sound effects. Indeed, the rhythms of commerce establish the rigid beat for a song that is paradoxically one of the more soulful in the band's repertoire, with a saxophone wailing above jazzy keyboard and wahwah guitar. A rave-up guitar solo leads into a rocky jam that winds back into a final verse and fades amid chattering voices. With its musical change-ups and tricky production, "Money" became a career-defining single. Money itself was the issue in the 1980s after co-founder Roger Waters departed: he fought his ex-band mates over the rights to the lucrative name "Pink Floyd."
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Based on a drawing by Keith Breeden and sculpted by Aden Hynes and John Robertson, the Division Bell sculptures appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd's last studio album, The Division Bell, in 1994. It was the fourth album of the band's career to reach Number One on the Billboard charts, helping make the two figures gracing the cover among Pink Floyd's most recognizable contributions to the iconography of rock and roll. Since 2001, they've also made quite an impression on visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, towering atop the entrance to the Hall of Fame on the Museum's third floor.
In 2001, the Rock Hall's VP of Exhibitions and Curatorial Jim Henke connected with Pink Floyd's management to discuss adding the famous Division Bell "heads" to the Rock Hall's collection. At the time, both sculptures were being stored in a warehouse in Bedford, England, and transporting them to Cleveland presented a number of logistical issues. Despite their imposing presence – standing approximately 20 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep – the base of each is a simple wooden frame, surrounded by lightweight ...
John Covach’s December 29th column in The Plain Dealer, “Why no Yes in the Rock Hall?” offers a provocative view on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction process. Covach correctly pointed out that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not yet inducted many prog rockers. Only Genesis and Pink Floyd have made the cut, while bands like Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer have not. But Covach uses this fact as evidence that the induction process is “rigged” and that the Rock Hall is “not primarily a historical institution.” Those charges are unfair.
Prog rock’s status in the Rock Hall is less about bias and corruption than it is a reflection of the changing history of the definition of rock and roll itself. From its inception, prog rock got a mixed reception. As Covach himself has shown in his book What’s That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History, many critics originally saw the music as pretentious and some rock fans were turned off by prog’s lofty subject matter.
By drawing from classical elements, prog rock implied to some that rock itself wasn’t artistically interesting or important enough to ...