Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining an early following as one of the first British psychedelic groups, they were distinguished for their extended compositions, sonic experimentation, philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows, and became a leading band of the progressive rock genre, cited by some as the greatest progressive rock band of all time.
Pink Floyd grew out of a series of short-lived bands featuring musicians Syd Barrett (guitar, lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass guitar, vocals), Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals) and Bob Klose (guitars). Klose left in 1965, shortly before the erstwhile group of musicians began calling themselves "The Pink Floyd Sound", which was later shortened to just "Pink Floyd". Under Barrett's leadership, they released two charting singles and the successful debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Barrett's deteriorating mental health led his bandmates to invite guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour to join in December 1967, as the group were recording their follow-up album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968). Barret left the band in April 1968, shortly before the release of the album. The group recorded a number of experimental albums and film soundtracks in the early 1970s, including soundtracks to the films More and Zabriskie Point, the half-live, half-studio double album Ummagumma, and the experimental Atom Heart Mother. This period was marked by the band's heavy use of non-musical sounds and experimental studio techniques known as musique concrète. Their 1971 album Meddle represented an important transitional work as the band became more focused in their songwriting; it was the last album written by the band collaboratively, as Waters emerged as the primary lyricist and thematic leader.
Starting with The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), the band released a series of concept albums, each exploring a cohesive theme and narrative flow, that continued with Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979). The musical film based on The Wall, Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982), won two BAFTA Awards. Waters' increasingly dictatorial control over the group alienated his bandmates. Wright was fired during the production of The Wall, although he was contracted as a session musician for the subsequent tour, and the band continued as a three-piece for their next album, The Final Cut (1983).
Continued conflict led to Waters attempting to break up Pink Floyd in 1985, but he failed to dissolve the legal partnership. Gilmour and Mason continued on as a two-piece, recruiting several session musicians for touring and recording purposes. The band produced two more albums—A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), on which Wright played as a session musician, and The Division Bell (1994), by which Wright had rejoined the band full-time. They toured in support of both albums before entering a long period of inactivity. In 2005, all but Barrett reunited for a one-off performance at the global awareness event Live 8. Barrett died in 2006, and Wright in 2008. The last Pink Floyd studio album, The Endless River (2014), was based on unreleased material from the Division Bell recording sessions.
By 2013, Pink Floyd had sold more than 250 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling music artists of all time. The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall are among the best-selling albums of all time, and both have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Four of the band's albums topped the US Billboard 200, and five of their albums topped the UK Album Chart. Hit singles produced include "See Emily Play" (1967), "Money" (1973), the three-part composition "Another Brick in the Wall" (1979), "Not Now John" (1983), "On the Turning Away" (1987) and "High Hopes" (1994). The band also composed several film scores. They were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented Pink Floyd with the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to modern music.