The transitional album between the Syd Barrett and superstar eras of the band, Meddle centers on two sprawling tracks that serve as its centerpieces: the opening “One of These Days” and the 23-minute “Echoes,” a prelude of sorts to The Dark Side of the Moon. From here on out, the psychedelic explorations from Floyd’s earlier period give way to more progressive tastes.
‘Obscured by Clouds’ (1972)
Like 1969’s More, Obscured by Clouds doubles as a soundtrack to a foreign-language film most of the band’s fans have never seen. This time, though, they build a concept album, sort of, around themes based on the movie. More important, Obscured by Clouds lays the foundation for the landmark The Dark Side of the Moon, which was one year away.
The Dark Side of the Moon’
The album that made Pink Floyd stars is also one of the most defining rock albums ever made. The band swept away its past in 43 glorious minutes of progressive space-rock and a loosely tied-together concept album about greed, the music industry, madness and Syd Barrett. It’s pretty much the Pink Floyd story told through some of their all-time best songs.
‘Wish You Were Here’ (1975)
Now one of the biggest bands on the planet, Pink Floyd reached into their past for an album (like its predecessor, the breakthrough Dark Side of the Moon ) about their one-time leader, Syd Barrett – whose mental illness, among other things, had forced his retirement. Wish You Were Here is their loving postcard to him, with the album’s centerpiece “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” one of rock’s biggest and most enduring tributes.
Another one of the many transitional albums in Pink Floyd’s career, Animals marks their first real political work as well as a reaction to the punk music then booming in the band’s U.K. homeland. The album’s five pieces weave together to form one of the group’s most complex and textured albums. The gargantuan tour, and its many problems, inspired several of The Wall‘s most nihilistic moments.