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The Dark Side of Pink Floyd

The Illustrated History of the Band’s Last Days and Bittersweet Reunions

Pink Floyd

The Dark Side of Pink Floyd

Still/Redferns

Pink Floyd finish their massive The Wall tour at London's Earls Court, marking the final time David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright played a full concert together. Tensions among the members were toxic as Waters attempted to control every aspect of the band, from rehearsals to stage presentation. "There wasn't any room for anyone else to be writing," Waters told Rolling Stone in 1987. "There was no point in Gilmour, Mason or Wright trying to write lyrics. Because they'll never be as good as mine. Gilmour's lyrics are very third-rate. They always will be. And in comparison with what I do, I'm sure he'd agree."

Pink Floyd

12/1/1985

Verhorst

December 1, 1985

Waters announces he is officially leaving Pink Floyd in a letter to the band's record company. "We'd been having these meetings in which Roger said, 'I'm not working with you guys again,' Gilmour says. "He'd say to me, 'Are you going to carry on?' And I'd say, quite honestly, 'I don't know. But when we're good and ready, I'll tell everyone what the plan is. And we'll get on with it.' I think partly his letter was to gear us up into doing something.'"

Pink Floyd

6/1/1986

Dent

June 1, 1986

Longtime manager Steve O'Rourke prepares to sue Waters over issues including back royalties and Waters tries to convince Gilmour, Wright and Mason to fire their manager. He told the other Floyd members, "Listen, guys, if those papers come through my door, we all go to court. I am not going to be hung to dry in court for years and years while you guys are calling yourselves Pink Floyd."

Pink Floyd

10/31/1986

Dent

October 31, 1986

Waters files suit in London against Gilmour and Mason to prevent them from using the Pink Floyd moniker, claiming the group was "a spent force creatively."

Pink Floyd

1987

Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives

1987

Gilmour, Mason and Wright hit the road as Pink Floyd for the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour, resurrecting iconic touring staples like the flying pig. The setlist consists of new tunes and classics. "We tried to avoid as much stuff Roger had written completely," Gilmour told Rolling Stone. Meanwhile, Waters toured to promote his Radio K.A.O.S. album and he wasn't amused with his ex-bandmates' touring production. "That's my pig up there," he complained.

Pink Floyd

1994

Hutson

1994

Floyd's massive Division Bell tour grosses $250 million. For a fourteen-night stand at London's Earls Court, which features a performance of the entire Dark Side of the Moon, Gilmour, Mason and Wright invite Waters to perform with them. He declines. "I thought it would be a good thing for the fans," Gilmour said. "But also with the safety cushion of knowing that he wouldn't do it. It was a genuine offer, though."

Pink Floyd

1/1/1996

Mark Lennihan

1996

Pink Floyd are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Gilmour, Wright and Billy Corgan play a stripped-down take on "Wish You Were Here."

Pink Floyd

1/1/2002

Kim

2002

Mason comes face-to-face with Waters at a beach picnic on the Caribbean island of Mustique. "During the party, I suddenly felt a forceful pair of hands grasp my shoulders, and then my neck," Mason later wrote. "It was Roger." Mason would go on to collaborate with Waters for a string of live shows, starting with a 2002 gig at London's Wembley Arena.

Pink Floyd

July 2nd, 2005

Still

July 2, 2005

Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright take the stage for the first time together in 24 years at Live 8 in London. The five-song set features "Speak to Me," "Breathe," "Money," "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb." Before the gig, the band planned out the setlist at London's Connaught Hotel. "Roger wanted to do 'Another Brick in the Wall,' but I didn't think it was appropriate," Gilmour said. "This was a thing for Africa and I didn't really think that little children in Africa should be singing, 'We don't need no education.' There was no argument about it. I was absolutely right."

Pink Floyd

2006

Lupin

2006

All four members divide into two separate camps for tours. Gilmour teams up with Wright for a trek that's heavy on Floyd classics; Waters takes Mason on the road to perform Dark Side of the Moon. Gilmour and Waters have a chance encounter at Bray Studios in England, where they are preparing separate tours. Gilmour's touring film crew videotapes the encounter. Gilmour gazes at the ground as he tells Waters, "We've been on tour already, so it's just getting the rust off." "Was it fun?" Waters asks. "It was fun."

Pink Floyd

5/10/2007

McKenzie

May 10, 2007

The surviving members of Pink Floyd perform at a tribute concert in London for original member Syd Barrett, who passed away in July 2006. Gilmour, Mason and Wright revisit "Arnold Layne" while Waters performs a solo version of his own song "Flickering Flame." For the show's finale, Gilmour, Mason and Wright performed with other guests Chrissie Hynde and Damon Albarn. Waters doesn't participate.

Pink Floyd

2010

Courtesy of DavidGilmourBlog.com

June 10, 2010

Waters and Gilmour reunite in England to play a benefit for young Palestinian refugees. The duo's four-song set included Phil Spector's "To Know Him Is To Love Him" — a one-time Floyd sound-check staple — and the classics "Wish You Were Here," "Comfortably Numb" and "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2."

pink floyd london 02

Reuters/Sean Evans/HO/LANDOV

May 12, 2011

David Gilmour lived up to his promise and joined Roger Waters onstage to perform "Comfortably Numb" at the 02 Arena stop of Waters' ongoing Wall tour. For the finale of "Outside The Wall," Gilmour returned to the stage with Nick Mason – who banged on a tambourine. The question on everyone's lips: Might this be the final time the surviving members of Pink Floyd share the stage?

pink floyd animal battersea power plant pig inflatable

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

September 26, 2011

To advertise the re-release of Pink Floyd's entire catalog, an inflatable pig once again flew over Battersea Power Station in a recreation of the Animals cover. The pig is meant to symbolize capitalism, though, ironically, these re-releases are sure to make a bucketful of money for the band and their record label. 

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