What are some good books about Pink Floyd
There have been many books published relating to Pink Floyd. Here’s a list of all the English language ones (plus a few others) that we know of, with comments…
“Pink Floyd: The Official History” by Nick Mason To be published by Simon and Schuster ISBN 0-684-81600-8 250 page book of the history of Pink Floyd, told by the only member of the band to be with it throughout its history. Designed by Storm Thorgerson, with hundreds of rare photos and illustrations.
It was scheduled for release in November 1995, but pulled at the last minute, apparently because Dave Gilmour did not agree with it. A few promotional copies of the book — which contained only a few pages of text — had already been sent out. People who have read these few pages say that the pages are not as accurate as they hoped they were; Nick Mason gets some of the dates wrong. Rumor has it that Pink Floyd are looking for a ghost writer to write the book for them, but it may never be released at all.
“Saucerful Of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey” by Nicholas Schaffner published by Harmony Books ISBN 0-3853-0684-9 A superb book, detailing Floyd from the very very early days to the AMLoR tour/Berlin Wall show. Often called “The Book” by Echoes, and generally regarded as a must-have. The UK edition has only 18 pictures, compared to 34 in the US edition — which was also a later manuscript, and apparently had some errors corrected.
If you can only read one book about Pink Floyd, this is the one to choose.
“The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia” by Vernon Fitch — The Pink Floyd Archives An excellent book, giving you everything you always wanted to know about Pink Floyd, and much, much more. If you cannot find something in the FAQ, chances are Vernon has listed it in his encyclopedia. The book has used a previous version of this FAQ as one of the many sources of information.
“In The Flesh” by Glenn Povey and Ian Russell An (almost) complete listing of all concerts ever played by Pink Floyd, with set lists.
“Lost In The Woods” by Julian Palacios An excellent description of The Early Days of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett and the London Underground.
Essential reading for everyone who has an interest in the Floyd’s early days.
“Pink Floyd: A Visual Documentary” by Miles and Andy Mabbett published by Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-4109-2 An excellent reference. A day-by-day account of what the Floyd did, with commentary. Lots of pictures. A 21st Anniversary addition was released in 1988; another update was recently released covering ATD and the TDB tour.
“Learning to Fly” by Chris Welch published by Castle Communications Plc. ISBN 1-898141-3 160 pages, with lots of pictures, most in b/w. It’s very up-to-date, including information from the beginning of the TDB tour. Contains many errors and inaccuracies.
“Pink Floyd: Bricks In The Wall” by Karl Dallas published by Shaposky Publishers (USA), Baton Press (UK) ISBN 0-85936- 139-X Notable for its interviews with Roger Waters, and giving his side of the split. Contains a fair number of errors, though.
“Pink Floyd” by William Ruhlmann published by Smithmark Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-8317-6912-2 Largely a picture book, this is notable for its discography, its pictures of various album and single covers and other assorted tour paraphernalia, and for its balanced assessment of the Waters/Floyd split. Not a lot of detail. Goes through 1992; notes _Amused to Death_ in its discography but does not discuss it in the text.
“Pink Floyd” by Jason Rich Small, CD-sized book with a basic biography, photos, etc. Not bad, but nothing you can’t get in better form in an more extensive book.
“Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett and the Dawn of Pink Floyd” by Mike Watkinson and Pete Anderson published by Omnibus Press ISBN 0-7119-2397-3 A good book focusing on Syd’s early life, his work with the Floyd, solo career, and ever since. Revised edition came out in 1993. About 150 pages; some good B&W pictures.
“A Fish Out of Water” by Luca Ferrari Book about Syd Barrett. Includes two recent (Feb 1994 and Aug 1995) interviews with Barrett’s sister, Rosemary Breen, and insights from psychiatrist Annie Marie Roulin.
“Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd” by Andy Mabbett published by Omnibus Press ISBN: 0-7119-4301-X Taken in part from the A-Z song lists of “The Amazing Pudding,” this CD-size book features interesting notes and trivia about every Pink Floyd song. This book is part of the Complete Guide To The Music Of XXXX series, so Andy Mabbett can not be held responsible for the title. The book contains a few errors, and is far from complete. However considering its price it is excellent value for money.
“1966-1971 Embryo, A Pink Floyd Chronology” Compiled by Rick Hodges and Ian Priston published by Cherry Red Books, 1997. ISBN 1-901447-07-3 The ‘compilers’ of this book seem to have taken existing material from other Pink Floyd books and rearranged it. The book ends with December 1971. Presumably another book will continue from 1972 forward.
“Pink Floyd Back-Stage — Another Lapse from the Inside” by Bob Hassall published independently, 1991; limited edition of 1000. Fascinating document of one fan’s odyssey following the AMLoR tour around Europe in 1989, and including Knebworth 1990, often as a member of the event crew. Many great color photos and interesting reproductions of tour documents. Enquiries concerning present availability should be directed to:
Backstage Workshop PO Box 1017 1440 BA Purmerend Netherlands
“Collectors Guide to Pink Floyd videos” by Vernon Fitch published by the Pink Floyd Archives A list of all known Pink Floyd video recordings; such as concerts, movies, promo films, interviews, etc. With track listing, timings and a quality indication. Essential for any video collector
“Collectors Guide to Pink Floyd live recordings” by Vernon Fitch published by the Pink Floyd Archives Lists all audio tapes, with track listing and timings. An essential book for tape collectors. Also lists mislabeled and bogus tapes Covers 1966 through 1983, and solo albums.
“Mind Over Matter” by Storm Thorgerson An excellent book, according to those who have read it.
“Pink Floyd Lyric Book” published by Chappel Music Ltd ISBN 0- 71371-280-5 Contains two interviews with Roger Waters, from 1975 & 1982
“Syd Barrett Lyric Book” by Luca Ferrari Biography (in Italian), with lyrics to Syd’s PF and solo songs in both English and Italian, and some rare photos. Also includes the Barrett poem “A Rooftop in a Thunderstorm Row Missing the Point,” and a 3″ CD single.
“Le Livre du Pink Floyd” by Alain Dister, Jacques Leblanc, and Udo Woehrle published by Albin Michel In French. Lots of pictures, many of them unique to this book. Covers Pink Floyd up to 1977, with a lot of details about the French tours. A German translation, which also covers the The Wall shows is also available.
“Rock Sets – The Astonishing Art Of Concert Design” Thames And Hudson, 30 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QP ISBN 0-500- 27697-8 A picture book of concerts that Fisher Park has designed. Includes lots of information & photos from the Berlin concert, plus some coverage of the Animals, Wall, P&C and KAOS tours. 145 color photos & 3 8-page fold-outs
“In Session Tonight” by Ken Garner published by BBC Books ISBN 0-563-36452-1 Not a Pink Floyd book as such, but a good reference for all the BBC shows. Includes a limited edition CD of BBC session material, including one track by Syd Barrett.
“Radio Waves: Life and Revolution on the FM Dial” by Jim Ladd published by St. Martin’s Press ISBN 031207786 Story of Jim’s career as a radio broadcaster, including a section on his association with Pink Floyd and Roger Waters.
“Rock Lives” by Timothy White published by Holt Includes a section on Roger Waters, arguing his side of the Floyd split.
“Abbey Road” by Brian Southall published by P. Stephens A history of the famous recording studio and those who have used it.
“At The Limit: Twenty-One Classic Cars That Shaped A Century of Motor Sport” by Nick Mason and Mark Hales published by Motorbooks International, August 1998, 176 pp. ISBN 0760305706 Although it has no Floyd content to speak of, the fact that the book was written by Nick Mason and that he did some publicity events for it means the book is discussed occasionally. The book contains a great number of excellent pictures of Nick’s personal car collection, and is an outstanding coffee table book for fans of motorsport. The UK edition contains a CD of car sounds (but no music) which the US edition lacks. The U.S. edition of the book was retitled “Into the Red.”
Some others that are now out of print:
“Pink Floyd: The Wall” published by Avon, August 1982, 144 pp, softcover ISBN O-380-81521-4 Gorgeous, rare book published to accompany the film. The only text in the book is the lyrics to the album — including both “When the Tigers Broke Free” and “Hey You.” The bulk of the book consists of an extensive collection of stills from the film. A very desirable collector’s piece, and hard to find.
“A Journey Through Time and Space with Pink Floyd” Independently published. Another great book, includes set lists for pretty much every concert the Floyd have ever done. includes full page reproductions of tour posters etc on the opposite pages. While the In The Flesh book supersedes this book, it’s still a very nice item in my collection.
“The Work Of Hipgnosis – Walk Away Rene” published by Paper Tiger (UK) ISBN 0-905895088 Out of print, this book details the work of the graphics team who did many of Pink Floyd’s covers.
“Syd Barrett: The Making of the Madcap Laughs” by Malcolm Jones Fascinating account of the making of Syd’s first solo album, from the man who produced much of it. Also a great list of Floyd studio and concert dates. A privately printed limited edition. Brain Damage magazine was trying to get permission to republish this book, but given that Brain Damage is currently in Limbo nothing is known about this project.
“Pink Floyd ‘Another Brick’ – An Illustrated Discography” by Miles, published by Omnibus Press (1981) ISBN 0-7119-0521- 5 Brief biography, extensive illustrated discography (official and otherwise). Out of print; superseded by “A Visual Documentary”.
“The Pink Floyd” by Rick Sanders published by Futura ISBN 0- 8600-7264-9 The first PF biography, covering the earliest days up to the WYWH era. Also contained a brief RoIO discography. Long out of print.
“The Records” by Andreas Kraska published by Buchverlag Michael Schwinn German book comprising an extensive discography of all (or nearly all) Pink Floyd releases on vinyl — including singles, promos, and RoIOs.
Many music books are available, mostly exclusively through Music Sales Corporation. Here’s info on most of them:
“Pink Floyd: Early Classics” published by Hal Leonard Publishing Corp. ISBN 0-88188-767-6 A simple guitar tabulature book, good for guitar beginners, but not for more advanced players. Transcripts include Astronomy Domine, Bike, Echoes, Eclipse, Fat Old Sun, The Gnome, If, Money, OoTD, ASoS (the song), Set the Controls, Time, and Us & Them. Transcripts contain some errors, the most glaring being that Echoes is transcribed down a whole step to B-minor. (It’s actually in C#-minor.)
“Pink Floyd – Anthology” published by Warner Bros. Publication INC, VF0790. Contains Highlights from DSotM, OBC, Meddle, Relics, AHM, Ummagumma, More, ASoS, and PatGoD. 128 pages, including a 2-page article about the early years of PF. No pictures. One big plus: contains lyrics for many early PF songs, and sheet music for some early songs which are not published elsewhere. (Matilda Mother, Jugband Blues, Summer ’68, Corporal Clegg, Paint Box, etc.) The cover is a black-and-white electron microscope photograph with the title in red lettering.
“Pink Floyd: Anthology” published by Hal Leonard Publishing Corp. ISBN 0-88188-445-6
“Dark Side of the Moon” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-8256-1078- 8 (US); ISBN 0-7119-1028-6 (UK) Includes a bunch of (rather small) pictures of the Floyd as well as an interview with road manager Peter Watts. Entire album is transcribed for keyboards, voice and guitar, including chord names. Oddly, the book also includes a transcript of “Wot’s… Uh the Deal.”
“Dark Side of the Moon” guitar tabulature edition ISBN 0-8256- 2595-5 (US); ISBN 0-7119-1987-9 (UK) Same pictures and Peter Watts interview as the “Dark Side of the Moon” song book (above). The entire album is transcribed (in excellent detail) for guitar and voice, including chord names. This version does *NOT* include the transcript of “Wot’s… Uh the Deal” which is in the keyboard/guitar/voice book. (The general rule is, btw, that the guitar tab books are transcribed with much more care than the keyboard/vocal books.)
“Wish You Were Here” piano/vocal songbook Pink Floyd Music Publishers Limited, Order no. AM 64189, ISBN 0-8256-1079-6 (US); ISBN 0-7119-1029-4 (UK) 88 pages, 40 sheet music pages, includes many b/w & color photographs from the DSotM tour, book designed by Hipgnosis. Contains two interviews: “A Rambling Conversation with Roger Waters concerning all this and that” by Nick Sedgewick, and “An Interview with David Gilmour” by Gary Cooper. An excellent guitar tab edition of this book is also available.
“Wish You Were Here” guitar tabulature edition ISBN 0-8256- 1287-X (US) The excellent guitar tabulature edition of the songbook.
“Animals” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-8256-1077-X (US) 90pp, 45 of which are sheet music. Remainder is filled with newspaper clippings, photographs, pictures, and two pages of the “Equipment and Technical” portion of Floyd’s touring contract. Relatively rare.
“The Wall” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-8256-1076-1 (US) Features about 20 pages of Scarfe illustrations and photos of the Floyd playing.
“The Wall” guitar tabulature edition ISBN 0-8256-1267-5 (US) The excellent guitar tabulature edition of the songbook.
“The Final Cut” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-8256-1080-X (US) Last published in 1994, currently out of print.
“The Pros & Cons of Hitch Hiking” piano/vocal songbook Published by Chappell Music Ltd, 129 Park Street, London W1Y 3FA. ISBN 0-7119-1959-3 Book has 64 pages, plus eight pages of color photos — still from the videos and concert projections, and some live concert photos. Sheet music for all songs on the album takes up 60 pages, and 4 of those pages are full-page B&W pictures. The lyrics are reproduced both with the sheet music, and seperately on the color photo pages. The cover is the (uncensored) hitch hiker, with a slightly different (but nearly identical) layout from the album. Oddly enough, there’s not a single picture of the trademark cartoon dog “Reg” anywhere in the book.
“Original David Gilmour” ISBN 0-8256-1062-1 Money, Echoes, Any Colour You Like, Shine On (p2), Shine On (p4), WYWH, Dogs, There’s No Way Out of Here, Another Brick (p2), Mother, Young Lust, Comfortably Numb, Hey You, Murder, All Lovers are Deranged, You Know I’m Right, Lets Get Metaphysical. This book is no longer in print.
“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” piano/vocal songbook Pink Floyd Music Publishers Limited, Order no. AM 68834, ISBN 0-7119- 1340-4 72 pages, including b&w & color photograps, excerpts from some AMLOR videos. Stylish design by Storm Thorgerson, Nexus.
“A Momentary Lapse of Reason” guitar tabulature edition ISBN 0-8256-1265-9 The excellent guitar tabulature edition of the songbook.
“Radio KAOS” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-8256-1158-X
“Amused to Death” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-7119-3220-4
“The Division Bell” piano/vocal songbook ISBN 0-7119-4208-0 (UK); ISBN 0-8256-1410-4 (US) Heavily-illustrated, and truly outstanding design make this particular songbook a keeper. Besides the music for the entire album, the book features live photos, extra unpublished art from Storm Thorgerson created for the album, and generally exceptional design. The transcript omits the keyboard intro to “What Do You Want From Me”, but it does include the basic keyboard parts under the sound effects interlude of “Poles Apart.”
“The Division Bell” guitar tabulature edition ISBN 0-7119- 4339-7 (UK); ISBN 0-8256-1409-0 (US) The guitar tab book features the same excellent design as the piano/vocal edition, including all the same illustrations and photos. The music transcriptions are more detailed. Inexplicably, the keboard intro to “What Do You Want From Me” is included here in full detail, but arranged for guitar!
Exclusive distributors for most Pink Floyd sheet music books:
Music Sales Corporation Music Sales Limited 225 Park Avenue South 8/9 Frith Street NY, NY 10003 USA London W1V 5TZ England
Music Sales PTY. Limited Pink Floyd Music Publishers LTD 120 Rothschild Street, Rosebery 27 Noel Street Sydney, NSW 2018 Australia London W1V 3RD
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