Pink Floyd were an English rock band formed in London in 1965. Gaining a following as a psychedelic band, 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. They are one of the most commercially successful and influential groups in popular music history.
Pink Floyd were founded by students Syd Barrett (guitar and lead vocals), Nick Mason (drums), Roger Waters (bass and vocals), and Richard Wright (keyboards and vocals). Under Barrett's leadership, they released two charting singles and a successful debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). Guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour joined in December 1967; Barrett left in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health. Waters became their primary lyricist and thematic leader, devising the concepts behind the albums The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983). The band also composed several film scores.
Pink Floyd were among the first bands to use a dedicated traveling light show in conjunction with their performances. During the Barrett era, dynamic liquid light shows were projected onto enormous screens behind the band while they played, and the band also incorporated large numbers of strobe lights, which were controlled manually by an engineer. This had the effect of totally obscuring the band itself, except for their shadows, which Barrett took advantage of: he would hold his arms up during parts where he was not required to play, making his shadow grow, shrink and undulate, adding to the visual spectacle.
Pink Floyd was supposed to hit the US for their first tour in late October 1967. Unfortunately, their manager screwed up the band’s visas and they were not able to fly to the U.S. until November 1 missing several shows in San Francisco [the posters live on though!] and also missing their initial shows scheduled for the Cheetah Club in Los Angeles. They finally got to play at Winterland on November 4, opening for Big Brother and the Holding Company. Pink Floyd had just released “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” two months earlier and were at the height of their Syd Barrett period in terms of songs but Barrett was well into the bizarre behavior that led to his replacement by David Gilmour by the end of the year.