Monday Music: Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney and Led Zeppelin

The Dark Side Of The MoonThe Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd

Do I really need to introduce this masterpiece, which just last week celebrated its 40th anniversary? Released in 1973, Pink Floyd’s 8th album is easily their most successful, remaining on the charts for nearly 15 years (no, that wasn’t a typo, it was about 740 weeks if my memory serves me correct), and selling around 50 million copies across the world. It explored a lot of universal themes, such as the passing of time, war, greed, and mental illness (influenced by the deteriorating mental state of Syd Barrett, who founded the band but left after two albums). Musically it is best enjoyed listening to the full suite from start to finish, although it did have singles including “Money” and “Time”, the latter of which also had “Us and Them”, my favourite track and a song which sneaks up on you and seeps under your skin, as the b-side, and it is this song which I’m including as the clip:

Chaos and Creation in the backyardChaos And Creation In The Backyard by Paul McCartney

Released in 2005, this album is considered by many to be one of McCartney’s finest solo works in a very long time, and I for one agree. Working with Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck) as his producer, McCartney was challenged during the writing of this album, often being told bluntly if his songs were not good enough, and being forced to play most of the instruments himself (much like on his albums McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980)). What results is some of the best material he has written, songs which have been honed continuously through the long process of making this album, and music which is also quite reflective and intimate for McCartney – while the album has plenty of upbeat moments, it is generally a more quiet affair. The track I’m including is the first single, “Fine Line”:

Physical Graffiti LedZepPhysical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin

This is one of my two favourite albums by this band (the other is Led Zeppelin III, and I cannot for the life of me pick between them). Their 6th record was released in 1975 as a double album, featuring 15 songs that are among the most varied ever collected on the one work by these guys – from long drawn out rock songs like Kashmir and In My Time Of Dying, to funky moments like Trampled Underfoot, to upbeat, almost silly songs such as Boogie With Stu, and then the simple classic rock songs such as Houses Of The Holy, The Rover, and more. I have often said that Led Zeppelin are a deeply misunderstood band, judged on the songs that appear on their “best of” collections which, to me, do not show the full range of their musicality. One listen of this album from start to finish and you’ll know what I mean. The song I’m featuring is a live rendition in the 1970s of “Kashmir”:

Are you a fan of any of these bands/artists or albums? What are your favourite moments on these albums, all of which are classics in their own ways?

10 thoughts on “Monday Music: Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney and Led Zeppelin

  1. Pink Floyd rocks. Their strangest album in my opinion: Ummugumma. Longest song title on that album: Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict. Love the swatting of the fly. Good times. 🙂

    • I must admit, I haven’t given Ummagumma enough attention, or any of the first five albums. I listened to the first two quite a bit I suppose because they were the two Syd Barrett ones (although the second one was far inferior and more bizarre), but mostly I am into the albums from Meddle onwards (and Meddle is one of my favourites, because of the song Echoes – it might be 20something minutes long, but it’s worth it every listen). I’ll have to give Ummagumma more of a listen, I think, instead of the usual 4 or 5 I keep listening to (which would be Meddle, Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell…yes, I have a tendency to lean towards more Dave Gilmour heavy albums over Waters :P).
      Anyway, as you say, Pink Floyd rocks! 🙂

  2. This post makes me happy, because I love Paul McCartney. Anyway. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is definitely one of my favorite of Paul’s solo work. Just out of curiosity, what’s your favorite track?

    • Ahh, always nice to find other Paul McCartney fans! My favourite track of this album is probably the last one, “Anyway” – it’s such a simple but touching song, the emotion evoked by the music just perfect. But honestly, I don’t think there’s a dud song on the album. I also really love “Too Much Rain” and “How Kind Of You”, and even “Vanity Fair” I love because it’s surprisingly dark for McCartney. What’s your favourite track on the album?

      • It’s really hard for me to decide on a favorite track, because I think the whole album is just fantastic. I’ll usually just listen to it straight through. I really love “Anyway” and “A Certain Softness”, and I also have a soft spot for “English Tea”.

  3. I’m showing my age by admitting I listened to PF and LZ in vinyl. My Pandora instrumental station has been playing several renditions of Kashmir. The original still holds.

    • Ohh that is awesome! My dad has a fair bit of Pink Floyd on vinyl, so I grew up listening to it that way. I agree about Kashmir – nothing beats the original verson. It’s funny how writing about some of these classic bands just evokes a much stronger response from my readers than bands from more recent years (and in the case of PF and LZ both have members still producing good music well into their old age, too).

  4. Yay, great bands! I have to admit, though, that I somehow don’t have the entire Dark Side of the Moon album — just a few songs — and that Pink Floyd really freaked me out when I was little; I HATED when my parents played Another Brick in the Wall, pt. 2 because it is so darn creepy, and WHY WON’T THE TEACHER JUST LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE?? I’ve since seen the light, though 🙂

    And Physical Graffiti is a great album! My favorite Led Zep is II, but it’s probably because I haven’t gotten to know the others well enough.

    • I thought you’d like some of the music this week! But wow, you HAVE to get the full Dark Side album, and listen to it from start to finish. It really is an experience. The best way to do it is lie down and close your eyes, and listen to it up loud, maybe with headphones to block out all either noise – you’ll lose yourself in it for sure! I could also say the same for the Wish You Were Here album, more than half of which is a single song (Shine On You Crazy Diamond). I can understand you get freaked out by their music when you were younger though, especially that whole album The Wall – it’s a bit of a strange album (I’m not much of a fan of it as an adult, to be honest, though it has some cool moments).
      Led Zep II is an awesome album, I’ll agree with that. It was such a huge progression from Led Zep I considering both albums were released the same year. But I often consider those albums together because they are easily Led Zep at their bluesiest, as well. But honestly, the only album by Led Zeppelin I’m a bit “meh” about is Presence – it’s an alright album, and it has some awesome songs (especially Nobody’s Fault But Mine), but it just feels a bit average compared to the others. And In Through The Out Door is so different I find myself liking it a lot – makes you wonder where the band would have gone next had Bonham not have died.
      Anyway, see what happens when you get me rambling about these bands? 😛

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