Pink Floyd’s Entire Studio Discography is Now on YouTube: Stream the Studio & Live Albums

Approached with lit­tle pri­or knowl­edge, Pink Floyd is an enig­ma. A sta­di­um rock band renowned for mas­sive laser light shows and a pio­neer­ing use of quadra­phon­ic and holo­phon­ic sound, they are also best appre­ci­at­ed at home — alone or with a few true fans — on a pair of high fideli­ty stereo speak­ers or head­phones, under the hazy pur­plish-green­ish glow of a black­light poster. The expe­ri­ence of their clas­sic albums is para­dox­i­cal­ly one of “shared soli­tary con­tem­pla­tion”; their live shows are an expan­sion of the home lis­ten­ing envi­ron­ment, where fans first received an “edu­ca­tion from cousins and old­er broth­ers of friends as to the seri­ous­ness (and ston­er sacra­ment) of The Dark Side of the Moon,” as Mar­tin Popoff writes in Pink Floyd: Album by Album. Both enor­mous­ly pop­u­lar and dar­ing­ly exper­i­men­tal, it’s hard to place them com­fort­ably in one camp or anoth­er.

Lis­ten­ers who came to the band dur­ing their 1970s hey­day, “in the years between The Dark Side of the Moon and The Final Cut,” Bill Kopp writes, “were large­ly unaware of what the band had done before the peri­od….. The fact high­lights a remark­able fea­ture of Pink Floyd’s pop­u­lar­i­ty: casu­al fans knew of the band’s work from The Dark Side of the Moon onward; more seri­ous stu­dents of the group were famil­iar with the band’s 1967 debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, made when Pink Floyd was led by its founder, Roger Kei­th ‘Syd’ Bar­rett.”

The split is curi­ous because the 70s space rock ver­sion of the band who made the third best-sell­ing album of all time owed so much to its psy­che­del­ic founder, who slipped com­plete­ly from view as he slipped away from the music indus­try.

As Andy Mab­bett writes in his book Pink Floyd: The Music and the Mys­tery:

Barrett’s with­draw­al from music had long ago become a source of intrigue, one of the most mys­ti­fy­ing sagas in rock, but his con­tri­bu­tion to the group as their first singer, gui­tarist and song­writer was cru­cial to there ever being a Pink Floyd in the first place. Syd might not have played much of a role in the clas­sic record­ings Pink Floyd pro­duced in the Sev­en­ties, but every­one — not least the group them­selves — long ago real­ized that all this might nev­er have hap­pened were it not for Syd’s ini­tial inspi­ra­tion.

At their best, dur­ing the gold­en years of Dark Side and Wish You Were Here, the band remem­bered their his­to­ry while expand­ing their ear­ly avant-blues rock into the out­er reach­es of space. Dark Side con­tained their first hit sin­gles since their 1967 debut and intro­duced new fans to Bar­rett indi­rect­ly via the lyrics of “Brain Dam­age” (orig­i­nal­ly called “Lunatic”) and the “Shine on You Crazy Dia­mond” suite. The cyn­i­cism and sense of doom that seemed to take over as Roger Waters became the band’s pri­ma­ry song­writer found its foil in Bar­ret­t’s con­tin­ued influ­ence — in his absence — on the band dur­ing the ear­ly 70s.

But in the 70s one had to work par­tic­u­lar­ly hard to get caught up on the ear­ly mythos of Pink Floyd, track­ing down LPs of albums like Med­dleAtom Heart Moth­er, and Ummagum­ma. As ear­ly albums were reis­sued on tape and CD, it became a lit­tle eas­i­er to famil­iar­ize one­self with Pink Floy­d’s many his­tor­i­cal phas­es — from exper­i­men­tal psych-rock pio­neers to sta­di­um-fill­ing prog-rock super­stars. These days, that expe­ri­ence can be had in an after­noon on YouTube. The band has put their stu­dio discog­ra­phy and three live per­for­mances online and you can find links below (with a few choice cuts above).


The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

A Saucer­ful of Secrets



Atom Heart Moth­er


Obscured by Clouds

The Dark Side of the Moon

Wish You Were Here


The Wall

The Final Cut

A Momen­tary Lapse of Rea­son

The Divi­sion Bell

The End­less Riv­er


Del­i­cate Sound of Thun­der


Is There Any­body Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81 

Does the ridicu­lous ease of find­ing this music now clear up the enig­ma of Pink Floyd? Maybe. Or maybe no amount of stream­ing con­ve­nience will dis­pel “the mys­tery,” Mab­bett writes, “that grew around their reluc­tance to be pho­tographed or inter­viewed for much of the Sev­en­ties, the lack of sin­gles dur­ing the same cru­cial peri­od, the imag­i­na­tive album pack­ag­ing, the crisp live sound, the spec­tac­u­lar the­atri­cal shows — and, of course, a spe­cial mag­ic that can­not be copied no mat­ter how much mon­ey or equip­ment is avail­able.”

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

“The Dark Side of the Moon” and Oth­er Pink Floyd Songs Glo­ri­ous­ly Per­formed by Irish & Ger­man Orches­tras

Pink Floyd’s First Mas­ter­piece: An Audio/Video Explo­ration of the 23-Minute Track, “Echoes” (1971)

A Live Stu­dio Cov­er of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Played from Start to Fin­ish

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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