Pink Floyd in the 1970s
published: 29 /
Keith How finds Georg Purvis' account of Pink Floyd’s history through the 1970s not only fascinating but a compulsive read even for a know it all fan!
A new addition to the 'Decades' series finds (the) Pink Floyd’s output from the 1970s come under the microscope. I must admit I had my reservations about the contents of such an undertaking as the author first encountered Pink Floyd at the age of ten in 1994 on 'The Division Bell' tour and I purchased 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' on its release in 1967 at the age of seventeen.
I am very happy to recount that Purvis has produced a very readable account of the band's history from 1970 onwards. His introduction sets the late 1960’s scene nicely before plunging into the 1970s. The release of 'Atom Heart Mother' finds the Floyd discovering new ways to not only collaborate but allow new expressions of sound after the departure of the influential Syd Barrett. One of the pleasing aspects is the way the author manages to highlight important moments and relationships among the band members and various collaborators without glossing over potential problems and differences.
Unless you lived through those groundbreaking years in music, it can be difficult to paint a picture of a time before the internet, digital sounds and the creative process but Purvis does capture something of those years where your only access to information about your favourite bands was from music papers such as 'Sounds' or 'Melody Maker'. Purvis, however, pulls together the history and carefully dissects the character and the plots that weave through the Pink Floyd story.
1973 saw the release of 'Dark Side of the Moon'. Purvis leads the reader through the creation of this wonderful album and into the post 'Dark Side' era and the birth pangs of personal and creative differences between the group.
He is careful not to take sides in the conflicts that arise between Roger Waters and the rest of the band members. He weaves the various complications together to construct an excellent account of the breakdown of relationships as the cracks widen during the creation of 'The Wall'. He also details the various outside activities and solo outings of band members.
Purvis ties up all the loose ends in his postscript, unafraid to recount that Waters and guitarist Gilmour are still unable to resolve their differences.
At 128 pages long, the book is packed with facts and memories that provide an excellent overview of a turbulent ten years in the life of a great band.
P.S. For further reading on the UK progressive rock era of the 1970s I recommend 'A New Day Yesterday' by Mike Barnes.