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Monday Morning Brief | Pink Floyd coming to stamps

June 27, 2016 06:00 AM

Watch as Scott catalog new-issues editor Marty Frankevicz discusses the rock band Pink Floyd and British stamps to be issued July 7 showing six of Pink Floyd album covers and four concert performances.

Full video transcript:

Good morning and welcome to the Monday Morning Brief for June 27, 2016.

The 1960s was a tumultuous decade in America. That’s perhaps the best way to describe a time where kids started the decade watching “Leave it to Beaver” on their black-and-white TV’s and ended the decade seeing psychedelic colors, whether drug-induced or not, at rock concerts. Consider the Beatles - the first of the “British Invasion” bands. When they came to America, the band was viewed as four well-mannered chaps with slightly longer hair than was usual for the time. But by 1967, they transformed from wholesome lads to Indian mystics. They experimented with their sound, combining their musical talents with hallucinogenic drugs, and their “Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs” were replaced with spacey sitar riffs. Because the Beatles were so famous, their rapid change was all the more prominent. But the Beatles weren’t the only band out there blending their musical talent with mushroom trips.

So, on July 7, Great Britain will commemorate, with a set of six stamps and a souvenir sheet of four stamps, this era of rock music by recognizing the contributions of Pink Floyd, a band that began to become popular in 1966 at London clubs that hosted the psychedelic music scene.

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The band, initially led by Syd Barrett, started out in this psychedelic era, playing a number of his trippy compositions. By 1968, however, Barrett had fried his brain from taking too many drugs, and the remaining members of the band, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, continued on without him.

In the early years, the band’s music was noted for long instrumental solos, sound effects and odd song titles like Careful With That Axe, Eugene, which featured a loud, long, blood-curdling scream befitting the title, performed by Roger Waters. 

In 1973, the band created one of the best-selling rock albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon, featuring their first big hit songs, Time and Money. They followed that with another classic album, Wish You Were Here, which featured lyrics in Shine on You Crazy Diamond, that reflected on Barrett’s mental problems and decline.

Pink Floyd continued to produce other great albums like Animals, The Wall, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason. The band became well-known for their concert performances because of their spectacular light shows and stage effects. Some of Pink Floyd’s concert scenes dating from 1966 to 1994 are captured on the four stamps in the souvenir sheet.

At the heart of all of the success of Pink Floyd is superb musicianship. But depicting music on a stamp is not something that is easy to do. For that, you need to hear the music to appreciate David Gilmour’s classic guitar riffs and the careful weaving of music and sound effects.

So instead, the six self-adhesive stamps in the set depict some of Pink Floyd’s album covers, which are about as iconic as the music. Hipgnosis, a graphic design group led by Storm Thorgerson, a school classmate of Barrett and Waters and close friend of Gilmour, created the covers for Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and Animals albums, which are depicted in this set. From 1968 to 1982 albums from dozens of other rock stars featured art created by Hipgnosis, so if anything, this set is as much a tribute to the art of Hipgnosis as to the music of Pink Floyd.

For Linn’s Stamp News and the Scott Catalogues, I’m Marty Frankevicz. Enjoy your week in stamps.