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Billy Corgan inducts Pink Floyd

"I know it’s a little late ... I’ll keep my remarks to the length of an average Pink Floyd song. I’d like to start with some personal reflections. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s ... I’m roughly 28 years old ... and when people would say Pink Floyd, before I even heard a note there was a certain reverence that surrounded this band. They were a strange anomaly in the 70’s filled with this horrible, awful music which some of you in this room are responsible for. And Pink Floyd was this mix of so many things. They were a mysterious band. You didn’t really know what they looked like most of the time. They had amazing artwork, with pyramids and prisms and crazy things. And the first album I heard was “Dark Side of the Moon” which, as we all know, is probably one of the best albums of all time.  It was probably their crowing achievement, as far as people knowing what it was that they did. I first heard this album in “The Wall” era, which to me, at my tender age of 14 was too creepy, too intense, too nihilistic, and of course these are all the things I believe in now. And to “Dark Side of the Moon”, I sought out their other albums and I became a fan and when I was 17 years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, and it was one of the most painful periods of my life, and the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” seemed to sum up everything that I was feeling. And when I couldn’t take what was going on in my life with her dying, I listened to that song over and over. And it still makes me cry ... it’s such a beautiful song. And you know, when you’re 17, heaven from hell, blues skies from pain, it means a lot. And so this is why I think I’m here at this particular moment ... to thank them for everything that they’ve ever done. Pink Floyd are the ultimate rock and roll anomaly. They sold massive amounts of records and have always been a popular live band, and they were never a singles-drive band ... a lesson forever that needs to be learned in this particular business, because they’ve always stood for and been about music ... and why, because it is the people who listen to music who drives the business, not the other way around. And they’ve always been a band who’s thought about the fan first, and I have a lot of respect for them about that. They’ve always been everything that’s great about rock, grandeur, pomposity, nihilism, humor and of course, space. So when I was asked to do this, I thought, “well, I can come out here and go on and on about the mystery and mythology of Pink Floyd”, but I thought I’d actually go back and listen to a lot of the records that I had impressions with, and had listened to. Go back as an adult, per se ... and really kind of delve into this band, so I started with the first record. Of course, with Pink Floyd it’s always ... the very root of Pink Floyd surrounds the genesis with Sid Barrett, and as we all know we’re still consistently amazed at rock and roll with tragedy and beauty, and Sid was both. And his original artistic vision that’s expressed on the first Pink Floyd record really defines what this band still continues to be ... an exploration into the outer terrains of whatever it is that makes music happen. And I’d just like to spotlight a couple of records that really, to me, defined what Pink Floyd’s all about. After Sid went wherever Sid went, I listened to some of the records after that and they really sounded like a band unsure of where to go. And I’ve even read things that they felt this way, so I don’t feel bad saying that. And it wasn’t until the record that they put out, called “Metal”, that suddenly had that sound ... galloping horses and astral planes and echoes ... and it’s really on that record that you hear a band fusing and synthesizing something that’s never been really recreated. Of course, “Dark Side of the Moon” ... the ultimate synthesis of sound and vision and lyrics and it stands as a great crowning achievement in music. And again, when you really think about what kind of band Pink Floyd has been, and when you think about that album being one of the most successful albums of all time, and you think of everything that surrounds it, it still surprises me to this day that we don’t look for more Pink Floyds and less whoever’s on top of the charts at this particular moment. So what did Pink Floyd do after “Dark Side of the Moon”? They made an album that was completely uncommercial. They wrote a 9-part ode to their former colleague that said “shine on you crazy diamond” and it’s a very poignant thing ... that they took the time to do this ... and it was a very, very brave record to make, because even as I’ve read things that they’ve said, they felt a lot of pressure to follow up the success of “Dark Side of the Moon”. The other thing I’d like to point out is the album “The Wall”, which as I said, when I was 14 years old, was beyond my conception. But at 28 years old, it’s one of the bravest records I’ve heard, and I really can’t point to anything else that’s ever summed up everything that’s fucked up about life, everything that’s fucked up about rock. It takes on politics, hero worship, rock and roll, and our desire to connect with the universe, all in one fell swoop. It really truly is an amazing testament to how far they were willing to go to reach the outer limits of what’s important. And listening to all this music, I came up with a simple question ... whose painting? And even by the band’s admission, the band Pink Floyd is really bigger than any particular individual, and we are here tonight inducting as much an institution ... if you’ll excuse the pun ... as the particular members of the band who have survived everything. And I don’t personally know all the politics between them all, but we have the music as a legacy. So I personally and I hope all of you will salute the legacy of their bravery, courage, spirit and ultimately their music. It’s a great legacy. Pink Floyd."

Pink Floyd