Thursday, June 2, 2011

Top 20 Pink Floyd Songs

I'm in a musical mood today, so I picked one of my favorite bands, Pink Floyd, and wrote out all of my favorite songs. It's hard to put them in an exact order of favorites, since my mood changes all the time, but I'll see if I can get them into a generally good order. Perhaps you'll discover some hidden gems!

1. Comfortably Numb - There's a reason this one tops so many lists of Floyd songs. It's lovely, but also mixes the slightly crazy vocalizing of Roger Waters with the beautiful counterpoint of David Gilmour, and finishes off with one of the more gorgeous guitar solos ever done.

2. Time - Has my all-time favorite guitar solo, which zooms in with such power and then soars. I taught myself to play it, but even so I cannot come anywhere close to the tone and masterful touch Gilmour uses.

3. Dogs - It's so sad that this song almost never gets any airtime. Radio stations consider it way too long, at around 15 minutes, but this is easily one of the most fantastic of Floyd's songs. Gilmour's slightly sad vocals and terrific guitar build up slowly but surely, and then after a slightly overlong interlude with dogs barking, Waters finishes off the song with a scorching menace.

4. Goodbye Blue Sky - Most fans wouldn't have this one so high, but I just love it. It's probably the song I play most on my guitar, and what a lovely guitar piece it is.

5. Run Like Hell - Gilmour says this is their attempt at a disco song. Whatever. It is certainly an off-beat, rocking song, and the echoing guitars and dueling, frantic vocals between Gilmour and Waters make this a memorable tune.

6. Wish You Were Here - I tend to love the prettier of Floyd's songs the most, and this one certainly qualifies. It is also easy to play on guitar, so I enjoy sitting back and relaxing while playing it. Heck, even with my poor voice I can manage to sing along with this one.

7. Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Like the previous song, this one is a tribute to the lost founder of Pink Floyd Syd Barrett. It takes some getting used to, since it builds up so slowly and with such a long guitar solo before finally getting to the vocals, but this song amazes me. I am a guitar guy, so the long solo thrills me, and I taught myself to play it many years ago. I prefer the live version from Delicate Sound of Thunder to the studio version.

8. Brain Damage - Beautiful guitar. "The lunatic is on the grass..." How many pretty songs about insanity are there?

9. Money - You have to love the bass line. Gilmour is incredible, and can take a few simple notes and make them soar to amazing heights.

10. Hey You - Another song that I like playing on my guitar, though I do it the hard way since I don't like to re-tune it (this song uses a non-standard tuning).

11. One of These Days - Nearly all instrumental, this has a throbbing bass line and spectacular pedal steel guitar, especially in my favorite version from Delicate Sound of Thunder.

12. Empty Spaces/Young Lust - I always prefer to listen to these together as one song.

13. The Happiest Days of Our Lives/Another Brick in the Wall part II - Like the previous song, I consider these two to be one song.

14. Have a Cigar - A jazzy rocker with amazing guitar that I just wish I was good enough to do. It's not that it's hard to play it, but that it won't sound decent unless you can recreate the tone, and I can't.

15. Pigs on the Wing - It's tiny, but it's so pretty. I should probably just include all three pig songs from Animals here, and throw in Sheep as well.

16. The Nile Song - One no one ever plays, but I love it. It rocks.

17. Ibiza Bar - Another version of the Nile Song basically, using the same music with different vocals.

18. Echoes - Another song you never hear, because it's more than twenty minutes long. It really has some amazing guitar in it, though.

19. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun - The version I love is taken from the movie Live in Pompeii, as it's much better than the album version.

20. Astronomy Domine - The live version from Pulse. By the way, I saw that concert live in London in 1994.


  1. Great list! You can't get any better than PF :)

  2. Siv, except that I love Zeppelin and the Beatles just as much from that era, and The Who has some fantastic songs, too!

    I forgot to include the song 'Mother' on here...I guess it's number 21!

  3. Good choices. Comfortable Numb (Loved the Live version) and One Slip are my favourites.

    Hmmm...may just have to go listen now...

  4. DRC, there are so many other songs of theirs that I like very much, but couldn't list. I do love the live versions of most also, sometimes better than the original.

  5. I'm ashamed to say I've never been crazy about Pink Floyd ... :-/

  6. Jessica, how is this possible? You love guitar, and Gilmour is one of the true greats.

  7. I know! But you know who I was obsessed with? The Mahavishnu Orchestra :o)

  8. Not a great Floyd fan but I do like Money and 'The Wall'.

  9. I notice you don't have a single track from Piper at the Gates of Dawn. I'm not surprised. Syd Barret was a little too mad even for me.

  10. Matt, there are a few of their early albums that don't suit my tastes, such as that one and Ummagumma.

  11. I LOVE "Goodbye Blue Sky"! And I'm so glad to see "Set the Controls" and "Echoes" too.

    I notice you don't have anything from The Final Cut on here either -- title track always makes me stop and think about my darkest days... as a teenager listening to Pink Floyd ;) But I also listened to Yes, too, so it balanced out.

  12. L., I never was able to like The Final Cut. It just didn't work for me. I was about to say didn't 'cut it for me', but that just seemed too bad!

  13. You and my hubby could relate. I'll bet you love KISS. I do like Wish You Were Here, and I adore guitar, specially Spanish guitar.

  14. I've never really cared for Floyd, but I respect them as musicians. Some of their music is quite intricate and Gilmore is a great guitarist. I do like "On the Turning Away" though.
    (Sorry, noticed big typo in first comment!)

  15. Such an awesome band - even the re-union stuff. I would have loved to see the Pulse tours live.

    How cool that you play guitar, and some of my favorite songs too.


  16. I do like High Hopes, just not as much as the other songs on the list.