Pink Floyd History 1971

Home / Pink Floyd Timeline / Pink Floyd History 1971

Following on from the previous chapter, Covering Atom Heart Mother and Syd Barrett’s solo album Barrett and only solo concert, this chapter covered Meddle and Live at Pompeii.

4th January 1971

1971 Pink Floyd at Air Studios Recording Meddle
1971 Pink Floyd at Air Studios Recording Meddle

Pink Floyd recording ideas for Meddle at Abbey Road Studios

Pink Floyd began a week-long recording session at Abbey Road studios between Monday 4th January to Monday 11th January. They were supported by engineers John Leckie and Peter Bown and recorded to 16 track tape. They were recording demos for their next album, Meddle.

John Leckie told Tape Op, ” It was just little ideas that they put together. They were all called “Nothing”. “Nothing 1”, “Nothing 2”, I think the guys went up to “Nothing 26” or something. They came in a few weeks later and I think we had one or two songs. I don’t think we used much of the “Nothings”. There were one or two things, which might have been, called “Fearless”, “San Tropez”. But the main track, “Echoes”, was played all the way though. They’d obviously rehearsed it, and they found the piano-through-the-Leslie sound…”

“Nothing Part 14” became the epic Echoes. It can be heard on The Early Years Boxset 1971 REVERB/ERATION CD1.

Links – John Leckie interview with Tape Op,

1971 Pivotal Year for Development

1971 was a pivotal year in Pink Floyd’s history, marked by significant musical developments and the creation of one of their most celebrated albums. Here’s a detailed look at their activities throughout that year:

Continued Experimentation and Development

  • Early 1971: The band continued their trend of musical experimentation, exploring new sounds and recording techniques.
  • Live Performances: Pink Floyd maintained a busy touring schedule, performing in various locations across Europe and North America.

‘Relics’ Compilation Album

  • May 1971: Pink Floyd released ‘Relics’, a compilation album. It featured a selection of previously released singles, B-sides, and other non-album tracks. The album was significant in providing newer fans with access to their earlier work.

Creation of ‘Meddle’

  • Studio Sessions: Much of 1971 was spent in the studio working on what would become the album ‘Meddle’, a project that saw the band further refining their sound.
  • Sound Exploration: During these sessions, the band experimented with a variety of innovative techniques, including using household objects to create unique sounds and extensive use of studio effects.

Release of ‘Meddle’

  • October 1971: ‘Meddle’ was released, showcasing a more cohesive sound and style compared to their previous works.
  • Key Tracks: The album featured the track “Echoes”, which took up the entire second side of the album and was a significant step in the development of their music, hinting at the style they would perfect in ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.
  • Reception: ‘Meddle’ was critically acclaimed and is often regarded as the point where Pink Floyd started to find their definitive sound.

Live at Pompeii

  • Concert Film: In 1971, Pink Floyd filmed ‘Live at Pompeii’, a concert film set in the ancient Roman amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. This performance, without an audience, showcased the band’s music and live performance style in a unique setting.
  • Innovative Filmmaking: The film combined live performances with studio footage, offering a rare glimpse into the band’s creative process.

Internal Dynamics and Growth

  • Creative Contributions: The band members were contributing more evenly to the songwriting and production processes.
  • Roger Waters’ Emerging Role: Roger Waters began to emerge as a dominant creative force, a trend that would continue in subsequent albums.

Cultural and Musical Impact

  • Influence on Progressive Rock: Pink Floyd’s work in 1971, especially with ‘Meddle’, had a profound impact on the progressive rock genre.
  • Expanding Fan Base: Their evolving sound and successful albums continued to attract a wider audience.

End of 1971: Setting the Stage for Future Achievements

  • Foundation for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’: The developments in 1971 laid the groundwork for their next project, ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, which would become one of the most iconic albums in rock history.

In 1971, Pink Floyd solidified their place in the music world, with ‘Meddle’ marking a significant step in their musical evolution and setting the stage for their future successes.

The year 1972 was a significant period in Pink Floyd’s history, characterized by their continued evolution as a band and the development of one of their most iconic works. Here’s an overview of their activities and achievements during that year:

Early 1972: Touring and Live Performances

  • Concert Tours: Pink Floyd spent much of early 1972 touring, performing in various locations across Europe, Japan, Australia, and the United States.
  • Live Sound Innovations: Their live shows continued to feature innovative use of sound and visual effects, including quadraphonic sound systems and elaborate light shows.

Development of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’

  • Initial Work: Throughout 1972, the band worked on the album that would become ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.
  • Creative Process: This period was marked by intense creative collaboration among the band members. They experimented with new recording techniques and musical ideas, pushing the boundaries of studio technology at the time.
  • Conceptual Themes: The album began to take shape around a unified theme exploring various aspects of human experience, such as conflict, greed, time, death, and mental illness.

Live Debut of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’

  • First Performance: A version of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ was first performed live in January 1972, several months before the album was completed and released. This early version was known as ‘Eclipse: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics’.
  • Audience Reception: The live performances of the new material received positive responses, generating anticipation for the album’s release.

Other Projects and Collaborations

  • Soundtrack Work: The band worked on music for various projects, including the soundtrack for the film ‘La Vallée’, which was released as the album ‘Obscured by Clouds’ in June 1972.
  • ‘Obscured by Clouds’: This album, while overshadowed by ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, was well-received and included several songs that became part of the band’s concert repertoire.

Internal Dynamics and Growth

  • Collaborative Synergy: The band’s members were working together with a high degree of synergy, with each member contributing significantly to the creative process.
  • Roger Waters as a Primary Lyricist: Waters was becoming the band’s primary lyricist, a role he would continue in subsequent albums.

Cultural Impact

  • Influence on Progressive Rock: Pink Floyd’s work in 1972, especially their live performances of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, solidified their position at the forefront of the progressive rock movement.
  • Building a Global Fan Base: Their innovative music and captivating live shows continued to attract a growing international audience.

End of 1972: On the Brink of Major Success

  • Anticipation for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’: By the end of 1972, anticipation for the release of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ was high, setting the stage for one of the most significant moments in the band’s history.

1972 was a year of creativity and innovation for Pink Floyd, with the band focusing on developing ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, an album that would become a milestone in their career and in the history of rock music.