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Pink Floyd: a guide to their best albums

Pink Floyd in 1971
(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

There have been four distinct phases in Pink Floyd’s career. The first was the Syd-Barrett-led band, which came together in late 1965 and lasted for just three singles and one album before Barrett fell apart at the end of 1967 and was forced to leave the band. And for some people, Pink Floyd ended at this point.

Then there was the Pink Floyd that picked up the pieces and spent five years groping for a suitable direction, before The Dark Side Of The Moon went supernova and transformed their fortunes and replotted their future. After five hugely successful albums increasingly dominated by Roger Waters, the whole thing disintegrated with sullen rancour at the start of the ’80s.

And then there was what became phase three, after Pink Floyd was retrieved by guitarist David Gilmour (who had replaced Syd Barrett) and restored to their pre- eminent position in the rock hierarchy. 

A belated fourth phase came in 2015, 20 years after many had assumed that Gilmour had wound up the band, with the release of The Endless River, a record that the guitarist has said definitively marks the end of the Pink Floyd journey.

Throughout it all, Pink Floyd have maintained a ‘corporate’ identity while remaining anonymous individually; it’s doubtful whether you would recognise a member of the band on the street – something which has simply added to their enigma.

These are Pink Floyd's best albums. 


You bought the best? Here's the rest

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.