Pink Floyd in 1972, left to right: Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright
Last week Bob Boilen and I asked you to share your favorite memories of Pink Floyd and what the band's music has meant to you. It's one of those bands that stirs up powerful feelings. As Bob shares in his remembrance, Pink Floyd put on the best show he's ever seen — it was more than 40 years ago and Bob has seen A LOT of shows since then. For me it's largely a sonic experience. The mix of oblique poetry, mysterious sound effects and spacey jams just makes my ears stand at attention. And the band packed its songs with innumerable musical easter eggs — lyrical or audio clues to deeper narratives that beg to be discovered and mulled over. It's not really a band you dance to, or something you put on the background. Pink Floyd's music is a conversation with your brain.
Below you'll find a few of the listener stories we liked the most, from one fan who got to see a Pink Floyd concert for free after delivering "some combustibles" to the band, to one whose entire life took a different direction because of Pink Floyd's music. Not all of them mention drugs.
You can listen to each listener tell their story with the audio links, or read the transcripts.
On getting surprisingly close to the band
"I had a friend who had a few things he had to deliver to some people working for the band. You can probably guess what. But I [got] a little package to take up there. So they said, 'You know, drop this off with the boys and you'll get to see the show.' So that's what I did. Drove up there, walked around to the back, and said, 'I need to see so-and-so. I've got a little package for him.' They said, 'Okay, that sounds cool. Come in the back.' So I went in the back and I sat up right at the back of the auditorium with the pig. It was me and the pig and two guys who were supposed to be hauling him out at the right time. I delivered the combustibles and sat there and watched the whole thing with the pig. And the funny thing was from a distance that pig just looked like a great pig. But when you got up close to it, it was covered in patches all over the place." -- Anonymous listener, on seeing the band in the mid '70s.
A particularly creepy moment
"One of my favorite Pink Floyd memories is when I got Live At Pompei on vinyl and I'm playing 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene,' and I have these two ball pythons sitting in a tank next to me and they're about three feet long each. And as soon as they start whispering and saying, 'Careful with that axe, Eugene!' the snakes just start coming out of nowhere. And they just start slithering all around the cage to the song. They were definitely going to the beat of the song. It was one of the weirdest, craziest moments ever and I wasn't even on anything. And usually you are when you listen to Pink Floyd. But this moment was quite amazing because of that. And it was just wild. They were like snake charmers in the room... but they weren't. It was very cool. 'Careful with that axe, Eugene.'" -- Anonymous listener
On the healing power of the band's music
"Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' was the first song when it came on the radio I recognized and remembered. Especially the part that says 'We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl.' That part for some reason stuck out to me even at that age. And I have never forgotten that. Fast forward to when I'm in high school. I'd been dating this person for about four years and it ended up ending really badly. And it was a horrible experience. And music really helped me get out of this deep depression and sadness that I was felling at that time. Especially Pink Floyd's Momentary Lapse Of Reason. There's a song on there called 'On The Turning Away.' Every lyric resonated with me, especially the part that goes, (singing) 'And the words that they say, which we won't understand, don't accept that what's happening is just a case of other's suffering. Or you'll find that you're joining in the turning away.' It just fit perfectly with what I was going through and actually made room in my mind for hopefulness and brought me out of that place I was in." -- Corey B, Texas
On Roger Waters' 'Amused To Death'
"This was the early '90s, so this is the peak of when the band members were feuding. And if you were a true Pink Floyd fan you had to choose a side. Was Roger's Pink Floyd the best? Was Dave's Pink Floyd the best? Was Syd's Pink Floyd really the best? Well I agreed with most people and really thought Dave and Roger together were the best era of Pink Floyd. But I lean toward Roger and that had a lot to do with how much I loved The Final Cut. So I was still collecting tapes when [Roger's solo album] Amused To Death was scheduled to be released. So I went out and got myself a CD player and bought Amused To Death and unboxed it in the fancy long-box with the ominous picture of a monkey staring at a TV with that one big eye staring back.
"So all the lights went out in my room. I laid in my bed and popped the CD in. Turned the volume up and listened to that album for hours over an over again. I'll never forget lying there, absorbing all the tunes, guitar solos, spatial sounds and those lyrics that really changed my life and defined me to this day. I can truly say that that album changed my life and even though there may be better Pink Floyd albums out there, I will always remember that as the moment I really discovered, with a capitol 'D,' Pink Floyd ... and maybe who I was as a person, and understood how I felt about the world a little more. I still have that first CD to this day and I still get chills when I think of the slow build of the World War II veteran telling that heart-wrenching story at the beginning, building up to the religious fervor of what god wants. It really is a religious experience." -- Anonymous listener