Pink Floyd had heaviness in its DNA from day one – but not always the head-banging kind.
In their early days, psych-rock classics like “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” offered visceral power maxed out via amps pushed. And after the 1968 release of original mastermind Syd Barrett, as they moved from small clubs to stadiums, the band naturally approached the shine and muscle of hard rock. Although they were never virtuosos, some of their signature songs, including excerpts from The wall and the The dark side of the moon – were carried by the bluesy and lyrical solo guitar of David Gilmour. When the vibe kicked in (and the concept supported it), they were able to rip the best of them.
Although we have not necessarily rounded their better tunes, this list indicates a fascinating intersection of intensity and quality. Here are Pink Floyd’s 10 heaviest songs.
the The dark side of the moon is the definitive psychedelic album, but its most famous track is Earthbound, not drifting through space. “Money,” a seething review of unquenchable greed in part 7/4 time, is jackhammer blues rock from start to finish – even the quiet bits, like the descending chromatic riff in the instrumental section, inspired decades of battery driving. Gilmour’s smoldering guitar solo, full of lightly pinched harmonics and curving flourishes, sounds like it’s actually on fire.
9. “Have a cigar”
Have you ever listened to the stilted alternative version of the hard-funk heavyweight “Have a Cigar”? The one that Gilmour and Roger Waters sang in unison then, dissatisfied with the results, brought in folk-rock buddy Roy Harper to finish? If not, do yourself a favor and stay away. Harper’s cheerfully messy delivery rocks this song – from her falsetto break on the line”everyone is fair green” to the belt full of “ride the sauce train. It’s the perfect frenzy they needed, channeling slimy suits and executives looking for roast dollars in Waters’ lyrics.
8. “When You’re In”
Gilmour’s grating blues riff pairs well with Wright’s Hammond organ on this two-minute instrumental. Like many of Obscured by cloudsthe group’s soundtrack for the mysterious French film The valley, it looks half done – the early fade here is a total buzzkill. But “When You’re In” made more sense on stage: Floyd played it 47 times, during their Parisian concerts with the Roland Petit Ballet, and associated it with “Obscured By Clouds” during the Dark side to visit.
7. “Pigs (Three Different)”
Waters lashed out with just fury at the smartest and most hypocritical elite in society. And the arrangement matches that spirit, with its crunchy rhythm guitar ricocheting over Gilmour’s funky fretless bass. (It’s a unique instrumental role reversal – one they should have tried more often.) The latter seals the jackpot with a murky, slimy talk-box solo.
6. “In the flesh?”
Pink Floyd kicks off its sprawling psychodrama with dizzying stadium-sized hard rock punctuated by bursts of waltzing chorus. Waters presents the first look at her Pink character, a jaded rock star performing to an arena of stoned fans lounging in “that space cadet glow.” Towards the end, with the Hammond organ purring through the stratosphere, our protagonist asks the crew to “roll the sound effects” and “drop on it”, blurring fantasy and reality amid the sounds of airplanes. .
5. “One of These Days”
No one has made rock music more headphone friendly. “One of These Days” Opens 1971 mingle with dimensions of effects fans are still decoding decades later: resonant bass guitars that evoke helicopter propellers, slide guitars that rev like motorcycle engines, organs that stab like sonars . Suddenly, we hear a quirky Nick Mason shouting a menacing warning: “One of these days, I’m going to cut you into small pieces!” And then the dam breaks.
4. “Careful with that axe, Eugene”
This buzzing, silent psychic epic has a longer history than Richard Wright’s whirling organ solo: Pink Floyd first recorded it as the B-side of 1968’s single “Point Me at the Sky,” and this version later appeared on the 1971 compilation LP. Relics; they also re-recorded the piece for Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 drama Zabriskie Point, using the new title “Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up”. But the best, heaviest version is an extended live render featured on the years 1969 Ummagumma – Waters’ horror movie scream at 3:08 is one of the scariest moments in rock history.
3. “Not Now John”
It’s no coincidence that 1983’s “Not Now John”, the only final cut piece largely led by Gilmour, is also the heaviest: no one sings a raspy rock voice like him. As the only single from the album, it was a bit of a misnomer – its thick distortion and stacked choruses contrasting with the densely crafted atmospheres of the other tracks. “Damn it all! How naughty!
2. “The Song of the Nile”
Gilmour shared a few vocals during his debut with Pink Floyd, A saucer of secrets – but he only showed his full singing potential in 1969 After, their soundtrack to Barbet Schroeder’s drug addiction drama of the same name. While the folky “Green Is the Colour” emphasized her softness and warmth, the maniacally heavy “Nile Song” had her screaming at the top of her lungs. It’s not really a song: a handful of distorted guitar chords, explosive drum fills, lyrics so stupid they’re not worth writing (“I was standing by the Nile / When I saw the lady smiling / I was taking her out for a while”). But the aggressiveness, which somehow spills into the “Ibiza Bar”, is nonetheless intoxicating.
1. “Young Lust”
The most overtly hard rock moment of Floyd’s latest masterpiece, “Young Lust,” is one of three Wall pieces co-written by Gilmour. His presence carries the entire track, from squeaky leads and distorted riffs to a full-throated howl that rivals “The Nile Song” in physical terms. Waters made the same comparison in 1979, telling the BBC: “It reminds me a lot of a song we recorded years and years ago called ‘The Nile Song’. It’s very similar. Dave sings it d in a very similar way. I think he sings ‘Young Lust’ in a terrific way – I love the vocals. The song’s exciting lyrics add to the intensity, but as Waters noted in the same interview, this casual sex story was intended as a “pastiche of any young rock ‘n’ roll band on the road”.
Solo albums by David Gilmour and Roger Waters ranked
They both claimed the legacy of Pink Floyd, while only rarely releasing solo works.