Rolling Stone Readers Pick Their 10 Favorite Pink Floyd Songs – Rolling Stone
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Rolling Stone Readers Pick Their 10 Favorite Pink Floyd Songs

Watch clips from the selections, including ‘Time,’ ‘Money’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’

Brian Aris/Live 8 via Getty Images

Earlier this month, the three surviving members of Pink Floyd – Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason – reunited at London's 02 Arena. It was only the second time they have shared a stage since Live 8 in 2005. That same week (what a coincidence!) they announced a reissue project for their entire catalog. To mark the occasion, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite Pink Floyd song. Here are the results.

By Andy Greene

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10. ‘Hey You’

In The Squid And The Whale, Jesse Eisenberg's character passes off "Hey You" as his own composition at a school talent show. "I felt I could've written it," he later tells a school psychologist. "The fact that it was already written was kind of a technicality." Roger Waters, who wrote the song that kicks off the second disc of The Wall, probably disagrees.

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9. ‘Dogs’

Pink Floyd's 1977 LP Animals is the group's most polarizing work. Some love the ambitious, super-long songs on the collection – while others find it bloated and lacking the charm of their previous work. "Dogs," which takes up nearly the entire first side of album, is a longtime favorite of Floyd super-fans. Recorded near the height of the Seventies prog-rock scene, the song lasts for over 17 minutes. It's the kind of song that made Johnny Rotten walk around England in an "I Hate Pink Floyd" t-shirt. The song is so long that members of Roger Waters touring band played a game of cards onstage during the middle section when they weren't needed at their instruments on the 1999/2000 In The Flesh tour.

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8. ‘Us & Them’

The longest song on Dark Side Of The Moon is also the most mellow track on the 1973 classic – and provides lots of ammo to that handful of people still clinging to the ludicrous theory that the album was meant to be synced up with The Wizard of Oz. They point to the fact that the Wicked Witch appears during the lines "black black," and when the camera shifts to Dorothy (in a blue dress), Gilmour sings "blue, blue, blue." Also, one of the munchkin ballerinas looks like she's lip-syncing the line "ordinary men." If you were a stoned college sophomore in 1997, this would have all sounded very profound.

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7. ‘Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)’

"Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" gave Pink Floyd something they haven't had before or since: a Number One single. Producer Bob Ezrin deserves much credit for this, because he talked the band into incorporating a disco beat into the song. He also thought about bringing in a children's choir, a trick he previously pulled on "School's Out" for Alice Cooper. Many years later, the grown-up children filed a lawsuit in a failed attempt to secure royalties for their work on the song.

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6. ‘Money’

"Money" was the first Pink Floyd song to enter the U.S. singles chart, and it's proved to be one of their most enduring songs. Classic rock radio plays it non-stop, and both Floyd and Roger Waters solo have played it countless times during their live shows. The Dark Side of the Rainbow cult love it because the cash register chimes right as the movie switches to color – so surely the only explanation that is the group secretly synced their album to The Wizard of Oz. Right?

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5. ‘Echoes’

Before Roger Waters took over as the main songwriter in the group, Pink Floyd operated like a band with four equal partners. The best example of that is the 1971 classic "Echoes," in which all four members of the band made huge contributions. The 23-minute track takes up the entire second half of 1971's Meddle. The definitive version may come from the band's concert film Live At Pompeii. It's helped many a college student get thoroughly, thoroughly baked.

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4. ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’

"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is a tribute to Pink Floyd's original leader Syd Barrett. By the time they wrote it, Barrett had been out of the band for about seven years – but his spirit still guided them. "Remember when you were young," Gilmour sings of his old friend. "You shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond." It goes on to address the madness that forced Barrett to leave the band: "Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky." The epic song has was a highlight of Floyd concerts for years, and David Gilmour did a stellar version of it on his 2006 solo tour.

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3. ‘Time’

Of all the great lines Roger Waters ever wrote, "hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way" could be his best. The lyric comes from the Dark Side Of The Moon track "Time." Waters wasn't even 30 when he wrote the song about how quickly life passes one by. Waters is now in his late sixties, and when he sings "Time" now, it takes on an added poignancy.

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2. ‘Comfortably Numb’

If this were a list of great guitar solos, "Comfortably Numb" would probably also be near the top of the list. It's one of the few tracks on The Wall that Gilmour and Waters actually wrote together, and many fans feel it's the best track on the album. During the original Wall tour, Gilmour performed his famous guitar solo on top of the Wall. Earlier this month, he fulfilled a promise to Waters by returning to his old spot onstage and shocking the crowd at London's 02 arena by performing the song with Waters and his touring band. It was also the last song performed during the band's Live 8 reunion set, making it the last song the classic line-up will ever play together due to Richard Wright's death in 2008.

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1. ‘Wish You Were Here’

Before Pink Floyd played "Wish You Were Here" at their emotional reunion set at Live 8 in 2005, Roger Waters addressed the audience. "It's actually quite emotional, standing up here with these three guys after all these years, standing to be counted with the rest of you," he said.  "Anyway, we're doing this for everyone who's not here, and particularly of course for Syd." About a year later, Barrett died of pancreatic cancer. No member of the band had seen him since he stumbled into the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here in the summer of 1975.

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