Pink Floyd are one of the most successful bands of all time with an estimated 200 million albums sold worldwide. The band originally consisted of university students Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Syd Barrett and was founded in 1965. They first became popular playing in London's underground music scene in the late 1960s with their progressive, psychedelic rock, being well received in a cultural climates eager to escape the pressures of the Vietnam war and government repression. Their stage performances were complemented by extravagant visual displays, philosophical, introspective lyrics and an experimental sound that would go on to become a trademark of the civil rights movement throughout the 70’s.
After the release of two charting singles in 1967, Pink Floyd were quickly snapped up by major label EMI. The same year they released a successful debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in 1967, which was well received in the UK and US alike. Unfortunately front man Syd Barret’s declining mental health saw him alienate himself from his role, and band members, over the ensuing touring schedule. Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, who was seen as a future replacement for Barret, joined the band in 1968 and after several more months Barret reluctantly agreed to leave the band. Bassist Roger Waters took up the helm as lead vocalist and creative influence but was strongly supported in this role by guitarist David Gilmour. Pink Floyds agents seeing Barret as the creative genius behind the band, chose to leave them and represent Barret in his solo endeavours. The rest of the band then decided to employ Steven O’Rourke as their new manager and went about establishing themselves as the new look Pink Floyd. From 1968 to 1989 Pink Floyd released a string of successful records most notably the iconic Dark Side of the Moon, Wish you Were Here and The Wall, with the latter topping the album charts for over 15 weeks and to date selling over 23 million copies in the US alone. By the time The Wall was released in 1979 relations between the band members, most notably principle contributors Waters and Gilmour, had deteriorated. Waters, of the opinion that he was the driving force behind Pink Floyd and the reason they were still going, was already trying to dictate proceedings and signified the beginning of the so called Waters lead era. From 1980-85 Waters had a strangle hold on the band which saw the release of The Final Cut of which had not one song credited to Glimour. The album was given five stars by many magazines with quotes such as "a superlative achievement on several levels …" and "rock art's crowning masterpiece".Loder viewed the album as "… essentially a Roger Waters solo album”. By 1985 Waters referred to Pink Floyd as a spent force and with the release of his second official solo album left the band. Gilmour, Mason and Wright however chose to stay on, much to Waters dismay, and went on to release two more albums in what is referred to as the Gilmour era.
The band today is officially finished, however there have been a few reconciliation performances, most notably at Live aid in 2005, where the classic line-up, post Barret, performed for the first time in 24 years. They were then to turn down a $250 million comeback tour, however have not gone as far to rule out collaborations in the future.