In addition to monumental songs, filled with poetic gorgeousness that leaves you breathless, Pink Floyd can definitely brag about their haunting, but equally exciting progressive rock instrumentals. Sometimes, people definitely need to take a little break from the heavy, quite absurd even lyrics, which despite being an essential part of their music, can leave a very dismal and gloomy aftertaste. Not that it’s bad thing – on the contrary, I’d pick complex, well-thought of lyrics that deal with philosophical or other profound topics (such as isolation, greed, time, human nature, the universe) over lyrics about love and sex any day! Usually, I first connect with the words and then I connect with the melody or the different elements that make up the composition. I was never a person who listens to instrumentals – I need lyrics and that’s that. Till, of course, Pink Floyd came into my life and completely changed the way I think about rock instrumentals. The band was never deeply acknowledged for such types of songs, because when you have brilliant lyricists like David Gilmour and Roger Waters, you always expect to hear words that can make you shiver. However, they do deserve to be praised for their instrumentals and I am here to remind you of some of their most groundbreaking wordless creations that can and for sure will blow you away. These five beautiful pieces of art have always been an inseparable part of my playlist – all of them somehow manage to give me comfort, a much needed isolation and a long array of emotions that leave me questioning my entire existence. Do you have favorite ones?
Obscured By Clouds (1972)
The title track of Pink Floyd’s 1972 soundtrack album “Obscured by Clouds” has always been one of their greatest instrumentals in my book. Highly experimental, adopting new analog synthesizers and recording techniques, the track can easily haunt you for days.
Any Color You Like (1973)
“The Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the wonders of our world and nothing can change that. Among the timeless classics such as “Time” and “Money”, this groundbreaking instrumental, titled “Any Color You Like” somehow manages to stand out on its own ground. A sensational keyboard solo, accompanied by state of the art studio technologies, all mixed up to create the perfect trance experience. A genius instrumental!
Terminal Frost (1987)
With Roger Waters gone, it was up to David Gilmour to keep the spirit of the band and produce groundbreaking music. “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” is a glorious album and probably one of my favorite Pink Floyd records of all time. “Terminal Frost” is the thrilling instrumental, featuring a complex combination of mind-blowing guitars, piano and saxophone. This tune was crafted by an alien, I swear…
“The Division Bell” has to be my favorite Pink Floyd album of all time and nothing or no one can take that away from me. “Marooned” is the most creative, imaginative and rousing instrumental on this list, at least for me that is. It gets me every time…What a genius David is!
It’s What We Do (2014)
Pink Floyd’s farewell album offered a lot of pleasing compositions and this is one of them. It was somehow difficult for me to decide which instrumental to pick, since almost the entire album is instrumental-centered, but I settled on “It’s What We Do” because of the mesmerizing intro! This instrumental brought me back to their glory days, despite being released in 2014.
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Nothing better to do on a hot Saturday afternoon than going through the music catalog of Pink Floyd (at least to me). “Wish You Were Here” (1975) is definitely one of their most outstanding records and song such as “Wish You Were Here”, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” and “Welcome to the Machine” are absolute classics that will never become too old to listen. Not to mention “Have a Cigar” which actually made me fall in love with the album itself and quickly became a personal favorite. The track impresses not only with its memorable opening riffs and exciting synthesizer sound effects, but with its intense lyrics, dealing with the hypocrisy and greed in the music business.
– The lead vocals are provided by folk singer Roy Harper. Here’s what David Gilmour said about that:
“Roger had a go at singing it and one or two people were unkind about his singing. One or two people then asked me to have a go at it. I did, but I wasn’t comfortable. I had nothing against the lyrics. Maybe the range and intensity wasn’t right for my voice. I can distinctly remember Roy leaning on the wall outside Abbey Road, while we were nattering away and (growls) ‘Go on, lemme have a go, lemme have a go.’ We all went, ‘Shut up Roy.’ But eventually we said, ‘Go on then, Roy, have your bloody go.’ Most of us enjoyed his version, though I don’t think Roger ever liked it.”
– This is one of the two songs of Pink Floyd, not sung by one of the members of the band. The other one is “The Great Gig in the Sky”, performed by Clare Torry.
– The song’s music and lyrics were written by Roger Waters. The track, much like “Welcome to the Machine” is about all the lies music industry corporations tell and the control they exercise over their musicians. Cliché lines such as “You’re gonna go far,” “I’ll tell you the name of the game,” “You’re going to make it,” are all written to illustrate the empty promises music businessmen make, especially to the new bands when in fact they only think of how to squeeze money out of them. The line “We call it riding the gravy train” has been commonly used to refer to the exploitative nature of the music corporations.
– The line, “By the way, which one’s Pink?” is a question many people in the music world kept on asking Pink Floyd.
“We did have people who would say to us “Which one’s Pink” and stuff like that. There were an awful lot of people who thought Pink Floyd was the name of the lead singer and that was Pink himself and the band. That’s how it all came about, it was quite genuine,” said David Gilmour in 1992.
(Roger Waters was always quite bitter and cynical with his lyrics, but that’s why we love his works so much. The song is one huge satirical take on the music industry – probably the best of its kind. I guess after “The Dark Side of the Moon” the industry was pretty harsh on them and expected a huge follow-up album. “Have a Cigar” was simply their answer to the soulless record companies.)
– The track begins with a very memorable swirling riff, played on electric guitar and bass. Throughout the song, we can hear a mixture of electric piano, synthesizer parts, concluding with the sound of a radio being dialed off-station. The effect is used to the following title-track “Wish You Were Here”.
“Have a Cigar” was a whole track on which I used the guitar and keyboards at once. There are some extra guitars which I dubbed on later, but I did the basic guitar tracks at one time,” said David Gilmour in 1975.
And this is why you should not have cigars!!! (I’m kiddin, of course) Roger Waters apparently was too sick and the tech guy made a mess with the backing vocals…
“Have a Cigar” Lyrics
Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar. You’re gonna go far, you’re gonna fly high, You’re never gonna die, you’re gonna make it if you try; they’re gonna love you.
Well, I’ve always had a deep respect, and I mean that most sincerely. The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think. Oh by the way, which one’s Pink?
And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it Riding the Gravy Train.
We’re just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, You owe it to the people. We’re so happy we can hardly count.
Everybody else is just green, have you seen the chart? It’s a helluva start, it could be made into a monster If we all pull together as a team.
And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it Riding the Gravy Train.
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers. Cheers~ The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
“The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd is one of those records that not only changed the face of the industry but became a synonym of brilliance in music-writing by combining together art, progressive sound and abstract lyrics. The two singles from the album – “Money” and “Time” will always be epitomized as two of the greatest masterpieces in rock music, being loved by fans and critics all over the world. It’s difficult to measure the legacy of the album, as its uniqueness and conceptualism influenced so many aspects of modern music and encouraged countless artists. Indeed, the album is an absolute “pivotal point” in rock music history. Going back to the two singles of the album, I thought that it’s high time I explored the history of a song by Pink Floyd. As I said before, I really enjoy digging up some background information and facts about the songs I love and appreciate so much. Naturally, when I think of Pink Floyd, the first song that comes to my mind is “Money” because it’s probably my favorite PF song. So for today’s “The Story of…” publication, we are going to learn more about “Money” and enjoy its absolute excellence. Here we go…
– “Money” was written by Roger Waters and was released in 1973 as a single from Pink Floyd’s album “The Dark Side of the Moon”. ( It’s essential to say that the album was engineered by the mastermind Alan Parsons at Abbey Road Studios. You might know him as the leader of his own band called The Alan Parsons Project. He remains as one of the most notable music engineers and producers in the music industry.)
– The lead vocals are performed by David Gilmour who is also responsible for the acclaimed guitar solo.
– The song became the band’s first USA hit – it peaked at #13 on USBillboardHot 100 In France, the song was able to climb up to #6 and in Austria, it got to #10. (P.S. – The song was released as a single only in the USA – in the UK, singles were not as common, due to people perceiving them as a sellout.)
– “Money” is noted for the tape loop of a cash register which plays throughout the whole song. Roger Waters was the one who put together all the money-related sounds, cutting the tape in a rhythmic pattern so that we can get the “cash register” loop effect.
– Various studio effects were used on this song. At that time – 1973, there weren’t any digital recorders or samplers, or computers – so the layering of sounds was indeed very complicated. Pink Floyd used a new 16-track recorder but still – in the 70s, if you want to copy and paste something, the only way to do it is with a razor blade and splicing tape.
– “Money”, along with another song from the album – “Us and Them”, are the only two songs from “The Dark Side of the Moon” to use saxophone, played by Dick Parry. At that time, the band was experimenting with different sound combinations. (The results were pretty awesome, though!)
– The song has very unusual time signatures. It begins with 7/4, then it changes to 4/4, then it returns to 7/4 and it ends in 4/4. In 1993, David Gilmour said, “It’s Roger’s riff. Roger came in with the verses and lyrics for ‘Money’ more or less completed. And we just made up middle sections, guitar solos and all that stuff. We also invented some new riffs – we created a 4/4 progression for the guitar solo and made the poor saxophone player play in 7/4. It was my idea to break down and become dry and empty for the second chorus of the solo.”
– The song had to be re-recorded for the 1981 Pink Floyd release – A Collection of Great Dance Songs, because Capitol Records was refusing to license the track to Columbia Records in the United States.
– Lyrically, the song is about all the bad things money can bring to you. Ironic, isn’t it? – The record made Pink Floyd tons of cash as it sold over 34 million copies.
– People might often misinterpret the song as a tribute to money. The famous line “Money, it’s a gas,” made people believe that they sing about money being a good thing.
– The lyrics were written as a reflection of British economy back in the 70s. However, I believe that the words are applicable nowadays more than ever.
– “Share it fairly, but don’t take a slice of my pie,” is also one of the most famous lines of the song. I think it really represents people’s selfishness when it comes to fighting for equality.
– “Money, it’s a hit,” – a line referring to money as being like a drug. People can become addicted and can’t really get enough of it. We simply spend our lives trying to get more and more…
– “Money, so they say, is a root of all evil today” is a paraphrased line, taken from the New Testament – 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
– The lyrics of “Money” are briefly referenced in the film “Pink Floyd – The Wall”, when Pink – the main protagonist is being caught writing poems in his class. The teacher reads some lines from the poem book out loud – those lines are the verse of “Money”.
– Pink Floyd are trying to show how greedy the world has become…A theme that will always be relevant, especially since nowadays we live in a materialistic society, which only cares about possessions and status.
– Personally, I think the song fits perfectly to the album and its concept. Also I really admire how the lyrics bring together insanity, addiction, greed and money. When you feel the smell of money, people instantly change and are willing to do whatever it takes for more money. Throughout the years, Pink Floyd were labelled as hypocrites, because they sing about money being evil, when in fact they earned millions of dollars. I don’t necessarily agree with this statement but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Let me here what you guys think?
Money, get away Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay Money, it’s a gas Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash New car, caviar, four star daydream Think I’ll buy me a football team
Money, get back I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack Money, it’s a hit Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit I’m in the high-fidelity first class traveling set And I think I need a Lear jet
Money, it’s a crime Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie Money, so they say Is the root of all evil today But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise That they’re giving none away Away, away, way (Away, away, away, away)
– The Music Video for “Money” features numerous scenes, showing how people make and spend their money. In addition, there are many scenes, including coins spinning, money being count, etc. It just makes you think – what a huge mess can this little thing cause.
– In 2015, Roger Waters was asked by Uncut whether there’s a song that reminds him of Roger Waters. He replied, “Money.’ I’m not talking about the lyric. Just the quirky 7/8 time reminds me of Roger. It’s not a song I would have written. It points itself at Roger.”
– “Money” has always been a “must-play” song for any of Pink Floyd’s live concerts. David Gilmour even played it last year, during the first date of Rattle That Lock Tour.
(Notice the difference in the “live experience”…Is it just me or nowadays the audiences are too stiff….)
I would like to finish by saying that it’s been more than 30 years since the song was released, but fans still can’t get the “cash register sound” or the guitar riff out of their heads – the song is just that good. Every time I think of the 70s, this is the first song that comes to my mind. It’s not like I was born in the 70s, but to me, this song represents the era and the direction many musicians started taking at that time – more progressive, art-driven and experimenting by combining various instruments. The lyrics of the song are very essential and I really appreciate it when musicians are so skillfully conveying a message with just so few words… Furthermore, can we talk about the guitar solo of the song? I mean, we all know that Dave is a guitar virtuoso, but this right here gets things to a whole new level… I do hope you guys love the song as much as I do and you learned a thing or two from this publication. Stay tuned for more “The Story of…” publications to find out more about our most favorite classic rock tunes. Cheers.