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Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,286 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Mark Blake’s history of Pink Floyd – the first for fifteen years – has already been acknowledged as the final word on this remarkable band’s life. Lucidly written, incorporating over a hundred new and exclusive interviews, it covers Pink Floyd from their Cambridge beginnings in the early sixties to their triumphant re-formation at Live 8 in 2005 24 years after their last ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 25th 2008 by Aurum Press Ltd (first published 2007)
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Karl
Aug 08, 2016 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With "Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd, author Mark Blake gives the reader an intelligent biography of the band. Blake, a former editor with Britain’s Q Magazine and longtime contributor to Mojo.

This Biography is being marketed as “published to coincide with [Pink Floyd’s] 40th anniversary"

Lots of good stuff here, some nice Syd stuff, though leaning a bit towards the Roger Waters side of the story.



Sam
Mar 11, 2009 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, is this one going fast. I've neglected books I was reading just to zip through this one. I'll even be in bed, barely awake, and CANNOT put the fucker down.

I think I've read just about every book on PINK FLOYD, learning little bits of information along the way, filling in the gaps, sometimes even getting most of the same stuff with every book I read. First it was Miles' PINK FLOYD datebook from the 80's, then Nicholas Schaefer's A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS, then the recent Nick Mason autobio/unmi
...more
Sean Wilson
Sep 22, 2016 Sean Wilson rated it it was amazing
If you're a huge Pink Floyd fan, like me, then this will be one of the most interesting books you'll ever read. Mark Blake's well-researched account of rock music's most innovative and timeless band is riveting, poignant and quite sad at moments, especially when recounting the mental deterioration of Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett.
Edmole
Feb 29, 2016 Edmole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alright, why do you read a biography about a band? To learn more about them? To get the historical context? To work out where you want to go upwards and sideways in the back catalogue? To see if the voice matches the actions and the lyrics match the life? To have a little more in the nerd armoury next time you get out to Pop Quiz? Because there's nothing better than the comfort of the satisfying rock bio arc; Young Blossoming/ Mass Market-Art Mastering/Coke Collapse and Crotchety Crack Up? To ...more
Scott Holstad
Jul 21, 2015 Scott Holstad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! After reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that Roger Waters was one of the biggest assholes who has ever lived. He was/is a freakin' monster! A bully. A grouch. Never happy. Always has to be right. Always has to win. Always has to have the last word. Confrontational. Critical as hell. A royal dick. To everyone. Especially to David Gilmour. And Richard Wright. He generally spared Nick Mason.

This is one of the most comprehensive rock bios I've ever read, starting out with the group
...more
Erik Eckel
Mar 09, 2013 Erik Eckel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pink Floyd’s contributions to music, songwriting, motion picture scoring, motion picture authoring, arena rock productions, musicianship, engineering, production, lyricism and infighting are unsurpassed. Regardless your position or opinion debating the greatest band of all time, the greatest arena show performer ever or the greatest guitarist of all time, the facts remain: 250 million albums sold, Grammies, a BAFTA, Hall of Fame inductions, record-setting tours and a 14-year Billboard listing ...more
Matthew
Oct 02, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as nerdy as I would have liked (would have liked to have more on the actual recording process) but an entertaining (and quick) read nonetheless.
Dave
Dec 19, 2008 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of me just likes to read about songs or albums that I like--the more mundane the details the better: my favorite book on the Beatles is "The Beatles: Recording Sessions," which is a day-to-day account of what went on while they were recording all of their records (who played what when and so on).

But another part of me is fascinated to read about the personalities that go into making the songs or albums I like--it's like a family saga, reading about John Lennon & Paul McCartney trying to
...more
Paul
Aug 03, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Mark Blake covers a lot of ground in the span of 448 pages. The members of Pink Floyd have always been notoriously private which makes writing anything about the band difficult. Add to this the dual loss of Syd Barrett, mentally so many years ago and physically just a few years ago, and one wonders how Blake was able to pull off this project in the first place.

Despite these challenges, Blake has done solid work. His insights into the creative process of the three Pink Floyd's explain why it too
...more
Lois
Jun 17, 2013 Lois rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding! This book had me riveted from start to finish, much to my surprise (I'd anticipated that it'd be okay, at best). The author does a commendable job of balancing the story of the Floyd's fame and the group's personal lives including, most poignantly, Syd Barrett's. I now have even greater appreciation for their music, but I don't think one has to love Pink Floyd to find this an excellent read.
Rory
Dec 20, 2009 Rory rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Floyd die-hards
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
This book did two things to me: 1. made me realize that the members of Pink Floyd aren't really that interesting, amusing or awesome (especially when compared to, say, the Beatles) and 2. make me miss my ex-husband. This book was not fun.
Peter Josephs
Oct 18, 2016 Peter Josephs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an incredible experience to read. The depth of the analysis is hard to imagine since the events occurred about half a century prior to the current date. Nevertheless, this revealing text about the inner workings of the band is something definitely worth reading, especially if one is a fan of the band. I had no idea of the troubles that the members had gone through in the band before reading this, so this book was eye opening to me in multiple ways. The fact that these musicians, who ...more
Stew
Oct 23, 2016 Stew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very comprehensive

This is definitely the most comprehensive of the Pink Floyd biographies I have seen. Lots of insights on what may have happened to Syd (and Rick Wright for that matter), and a lot on the ego war that eventually tore the band apart. Unlike a lot of the bands that came out of London at the time, these guys came from the intelligentsia and artisans of Cambridge and London, and were not from the working classes at all.
Gary
Nov 30, 2016 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, well told. With some facts I knew little or nothing about. This book really pulls back the curtain on one of the most enigmatic groups of 70s to reveal what corporate rock looks like--not as corporate and professional as one might think. This is a story of the pitfalls of fame and fortune as much as it is a story about the iconic group.
The Book Hermit
Nov 23, 2016 The Book Hermit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
Great background info of the band and it's early years.
Bruce
May 28, 2008 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys a great, real-live soap opera (and Pink Floyd fans, too)
I'd have given this book 4.5 stars if GoodReads provided that option. While not foolproof, Mark Blake's latest is pretty terrific. This is true whether you're a dyed-in-the-wool Floyd fan (early, Dark Side of the Moon Waters period, or 80s Gilmour period?), just slightly curious what all the hubbub was about, or fancy a well-told story that happens to span 40 productive, slightly psychedelic years in the lives of famous British rock stars. Still doubt the relevance of this book? Well, consider t ...more
Dave Schwensen
Jul 15, 2013 Dave Schwensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been a long time fan of Pink Floyd, but admittedly not a hard core fan. This book is well researched and serves as a decent historical account of one of the most popular and innovative bands in rock. But I feel the author had an uphill battle with this one.

One of the mysteries about Pink Floyd were the members themselves. Their photos rarely if ever appeared on album covers – and stage effects and props were the actual stars, relegating the members to the roles of background musicians at th
...more
Serge Pierro
Jul 30, 2016 Serge Pierro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I think that it is safe to say that this is the definitive biography of Pink Floyd. Mark Blake does an excellent job in taking all of the available information from multiple sources, including interviews with the band itself, and presenting it in a gripping manner.

Of course the sad life of Syd Barrett is covered and throughout the book we are kept informed of what he was doing during Pink Floyd's rise in the music world. Not surprisingly we get to see just how much of a jerk Roger Waters was,
...more
Caeser Pink
Very in depth. Very well researched. Sometimes even a bit too much background info on irrelevant characters who appear only for a second. Although the story is interesting, it is not really an uplifting one.

The Syd Barret story is fascinating, because much of his 'mad' behavior seems to have an irreverent, contrarian logic to it. Refusing to move his mouth to lip-synch on the Perry Como show is right up there with John Lydon's performance on American Bandstand. Playing one note all night, or de
...more
Mason Jones
Being a bit of a Pink Floyd fanatic (up to a point in history), I came across a notice of this book that was pretty complementary so I thought I'd grab it from the library and give it a try. I enjoyed it, but as might be expected, there are some frustrations. The group has always been extremely closed to the press, and while they all apparently spoke to Blake during the writing of this book, they were clearly not overly forthcoming. The most interesting part of the book is the early days, ...more
Jimmy
Aug 29, 2015 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're interested in Pink Floyd, I'd highly recommend this book; it offers a wide history of the exploits of Waters, Gilmour and the rest of the Floyd.

However, though, it is not written well. In fact, that's an understatement. I don't wish to discredit Mr. Blake, as he is obviously successful as a journalist (you don't get that high up in the ranks of Q Magazine for nothing, after all), but I was personally astounded by the laziness and general shoddiness of the way the book was written. Mr.
...more
Calebmcarr
May 16, 2013 Calebmcarr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We don't need no education", Pink Floyd famously sang. And while that may be proof enough that we actually need one, it struck it's point. Yes, I'm doing another band book, and this time it's over Pink Floyd.
I have recently gotten into them and enjoy their music a lot. This book(like all band books)gave a lot of page-turning information about how they started, how they got famous and so on. David Gilmour is also one of my guitar aspirations, so it was fun reading about him.
I would definitely
...more
Efrén Ayón
Apr 30, 2016 Efrén Ayón rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a Pink Floyd fan, and even if you aren't sometimes, you know the basics. Roger was a self-centered prick, Dave was an english gentleman with some ego, Nick was (to put it in his own words) the band's cook, Rick was an introverted sweetheart and Syd was backcrap crazy.

But this gives you the details you always wanted to know and more. From each album's conception and reception, to the imagery of the shows, to the crew and groupies, and of course the harsh relationship between the old cla
...more
Leon
Jan 25, 2016 Leon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autos-and-bios, music
This is one of the best musical biographies that I have read. It provides a detailed, balanced and fascinating account of one of the most iconic groups of our time. Even for someone who is not particularly fond of Pink Floyd (There must be such misguided souls out there), the book has enough detail of the cultural background at the time to provide an interesting read . The members of the band always took care to remain somewhat anonymous, which considering the often dark content of their music ...more
Ian
Jul 25, 2014 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Nick Mason's personal biography of Pink Floyd is something of a sanitised account. Blake offers a more no-holds-barred history and it's certainly comprehensive, charting the life of the band and its members from the 1960s through to 2012.

Some familiarity with Floyd's music is must even if you're not a die hard fan and it helps to have Spotify on standby too. After the early stages the book basically devotes a chapter to each album.

Two things are notable, one is the long shadow cast by Syd Barret
...more
James Kennedy
Aug 21, 2014 James Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic rock biog. Makes me want to re-visit areas of the discography I've always been a bit ambivalent about rather than worship fervently (basically anything from DSOTM onwards). Yes, even the solo albums. Found a copy of 'The Division Bell' in the attic at my house which must have belonged to one of my partner's family.

Greatest thing about it is the absolute attention to detail. This is particularly exceptional with the descriptions of where members of the band and their friends used to ha
...more
David Grapka
Jan 30, 2011 David Grapka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best "band" biographies I've read. It doubles as a history book as well, giving an inside view of 1967's "Summer of Love" from across the pond. I have a greater in-depth understanding of the personal dynamics of highly creative group of people who have to respond authentically to enormous external pressures, tragedy (watching the demise of their bandmate's mental stability). Knowing more of the details of their production values and processes for each of their mega million selling ...more
Mike
Nov 07, 2009 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I suppose I knew most of the broad outlines of Pink Floyd's history, but this book laid it out with clarity and detail. It's well-written, an interesting topic and an interesting book. There is a good mix of objective fact with personal recollections occasionally, but not always of opposite views, and perspective.

The band lurches (or is yanked) from one controlling/dominate personality to another. Sid Barrett, David Gilmour, and Roger Waters. Each moulded (as the Brits would write it) the band i
...more
Anish Majumdar
May 22, 2013 Anish Majumdar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Just amazing. It felt like I was there with this group where everyone was talking to me and telling me about these folks from Cambridge and how they became Pink Floyd.
From the very first sentence it didn't feel like a book but a window through time, cruising through time, pausing to meet people and hear their stories featuring Syd, David, Roger, Richard and Nick.
Every chapter is a treasure trove for the millions of Pink Floyd fans. I do not have enough words to thank Mark Blake for th
...more
Alan Taylor
Jun 09, 2014 Alan Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good overview of all things Pink Floyd. Blake is particularly good on the early days and Syd Barrett's decline and he doesn't forget Syd as he tells the band's story, Floyd and Syd's stories being inseparable. He also remains fairly neutral on who is the bigger prick, Waters or Gilmour. Very different men, they both come across as very intelligent, incredibly talented, stubborn, self-important, insufferable - especially when it comes to each other. The latter stages of the book demonstrate ...more
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“There’s a bit in “Echoes” we call “the wind section” where it all falls apart, and then comes back in,’ explains Guy Pratt. ‘Some of the younger players, mentioning no names, couldn’t get their heads around it not being a set number of bars. It was like, “You have to feel it and know instinctively when to come back in.” David’s great line about that was, “The trouble with modern musicians is that they don’t know how to disintegrate.” 2 likes
“On the original tour, Pink Floyd had only 35mm cine-projectors with which to beam an image a maximum of 80ft wide in the middle of the wall. Waters now had twenty-three projectors beaming images across the full width of the 240ft wall, and on to a circular screen behind the stage. It was a visual feast, with Gerald Scarfe’s ghoulish animations now brought to life in eye-watering” 0 likes
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