Pink Floyd at the V&A August 14, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Curators are planning a celebration of another musical institution, Pink Floyd – in collaboration with surviving members of the band.
One of the defining forces behind 1960s psychedelia, Pink Floyd became one of the most influential and successful groups of all time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cites them “as the architects of two major music movements – psychedelic space-rock and blues-based progressive rock”. The band’s lyrics are described as offering “biting political, social and emotional commentary”.
I wonder though. Were Pink Floyd quite that influential? Musically where did their legacy go? Mention is made of their innovative light shows and performances, and while it is clear they were striking they weren’t in a vacuum. Warhol and others in the US were doing not dissimilar stuff at around the same time, albeit the excesses Floyd achieved later in terms of scale were admittedly sui generis.
And I’d also wonder whether they were quite as political as is being suggested. There was an anti-war streak running through them – given Roger Waters immediate family history that was perhaps inevitable. But it always seemed to me that theirs was a view very rooted in the personal (and perhaps a middle-class English view at that too). No harm there but it always struck me that Money was a lot more equivocal than some might have thought.
Anyhow, I’ve got to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Floyd. Thinking about them at this remove they seem to me to have occupied a similar niche to that U2 had in the mid 1980s and onwards. Too pervasive. That said if there’s one album I can say I genuinely like by them it is Wish You Were Here. For the rest there’s a level of bombast, bar their earlier output, that I’m not fond of (though some of Dave Gilmour’s solo work I enjoy – perhaps for nostalgic reasons).
All of those caveats aside it should be an interesting exhibition.