Here Are List Of Songs That Showcase Pink Floyd's Heavier Side
13 Nov 2015
In the world of Rock and Metal, there are two kinds of heavy. One is, well, the metal-kind-of-heavy and the other punches you hard- like heavy. In the case of Pink Floyd, we can count both, but for the case of this article, we will be focusing more on the latter aspect of heavy! This is because for a band that converges more on soundscape and atmospheric ambience, they do have some strikingly heavy music. Do check some of them out below:
Interstellar Overdrive (1967)
One of the two long songs from the band's debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the song dawned when Syd Barrett, then-band leader, heard the manager Peter Jenner trying to whisper a song that he could not remember. Labeled variously as one of “the very first psychedelic instrumental improvisations by a rock band” and “an abstract piece”, when the band move from the Frank Zappa/AMM inspired free-form section back to the main pounding riff, the outcome is quite startling.
The Nile Song (1969)
Composed by Waters and sung by David Gilmour, The Nile Song is one of the heaviest songs by Pink Floyd. It was released as single in France, Japan and New Zealand, and was covered by Floyd fans Voivod on their 1993 album The Outer Limits.
One Of These Days (1971)
The first track from the band's 1971 album Meddle, the album that saw Floyd starting to shift away from the space rock of their earlier albums, working in a more defined way and beginning to bend towards conceptuality. But the bass-heavy instrumental opener, with Nick Mason's heavily affected “One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces” spoken interlude the only singing. In the 80s, when performed live, the legendary Pink Floyd pig, Algie, would hover menacingly over the audience.
The Gold, It's In The... (1972)
Floyd returned to work with Iranian film director Barbet Schroeder on his new voyage of self-discovery La Vallee, set in the forests of Papua New Guinea, identifying their soundtrack Obscured By Clouds. One of the very few Pink Floyd songs that don't feature any keyboards whatsoever, this tune ranks alongside The Nile Song and Not Now John as Floyd at their most resounding. Seizing the soul of the free-spirited 70s, this was also the B-side of the single from the album, Free Four, an added up-tempo rocker.
Often described by Gilmour as the band's “punk album”. If Animals, Waters' exposition on society in a manner akin to George Orwell's Animal Farm, was heavy working, then the 10 minutes of Sheep was the heaviest song on the album, building to a burning Gilmour guitar attack, with Waters equally destructive in his lyrical performance.
In The Flesh? (1979)
The opening track from the epic double concept album The Wall, and named after the 1977 Animals tour on which, at the final show in Montreal Waters legendarily spat at a member of the audience, an event that sparked the alienated rock star concept. It's certainly an explosive start to the album, all crashing keyboard power chords and blazing guitars. The original riff was taken from what would become Waters' solo album The Pros And Cons Of HitchHiking, which he had written concurrently with The Wall. When played live, backing musicians made to look like Floyd performed the song, as the “surrogate band” mentioned in the lyrics.
The Thin Ice (1979)
The second track from The Wall is almost a segue of the opener, telling the story of the central Pink character growing up. All runs relatively smoothly, lyrically and musically, until Waters takes over from Gilmour on vocals, warning of “the thin ice of modern life...”, and soon all hell breaks loose with a huge heavy rolling riff reminiscent of In The Flesh.
Not Now John (1983)
A storming hard rocker from Floyd's 1983 offering The Final Cut, Waters' anti-war concept album some have suggested was more a solo album than a Floyd one. However, Not Now John features David Gilmour's only vocal on the album and some of the most provocative guitar playing ever recorded. Released as a single, it had the main refrain of “Fuck all that...” replaced with “Stuff all that...” as the lyrics railed against corporate greed and corruption.
The closing track from 1987's A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, the band's first release since the bitter split with Roger Waters and the court case that followed. It's pretty much a Gilmour tour de force, written and largely recorded over the period of a weekend at the guitarists' Astoria house-boat. Given he tells that lyrics is not his strong point, Sorrow, inspired by Steinbeck's novel The Grapes Of Wrath, began as a poem to which Gilmour set music (normally he works the other way round), and in the live arena, serves as the ideal vehicle for his remarkable guitar playing.