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Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs for Audiophiles

[ Photo: Pink Floyd ] The music of Pink Floyd is an audiophile’s wet dream. It is at once diverse, complex, intricate, rhythmic, mysterious, and downright heavy. The vastly inspiring soundscapes created by Pink Floyd are perfect for late nights spent working on the computer. Given a nice pair of high-quality headphones, the following hand-picked collection of Pink Floyd songs is sure to elevate your listening experience to the next level.

#10: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Over five minutes of pure sonic bliss. An excellent example of why Pink Floyd remains highly influential within experimental, electronic, and ambient music genres. Originally released on Saucerful of Secrets.
#09: Obscured by Clouds
The title track on Floyd’s second film score, Obscured by Clouds, is slow and heavy, like some murderous drama played backwards and in slow motion. Hard to believe they threw this down in 1972.
#08: The Narrow Way
This is a complex, deeply moving set of 3 songs from Ummagumma. The three tracks unfold in timeless mystery, invoking a mystical depression that is secretly explored and finally resolved in the final set. Even after listening to this song hundreds of times, I still cannot claim to fully comprehend its layered meanings. If you are familiar with this song, I would love to hear your interpretation.
#07: Astronomy Domine
There are several “official” recorded versions of Astronomy Domine (e.g., Ummagumma), each of them incredible in their own unique way. For me, the song’s brilliant intensity became all too real after hearing (and seeing) it played live by Pink Floyd in Vancouver, B.C. The arena was packed. After a long wait for the band to begin, the subtle sounds of a trickling stream slowly filled the atmosphere. Just as we began to trip out on the flowing waters, the stadium was ripped apart with the explosive opening sequence of Astronomy Domine. I almost crapped myself. Absolutely unforgettable.
#06: On the Run / Time
Many people have heard Dark Side of the Moon, but few know it well enough to discern the different songs, especially on the first half of the album. After opening with Speak to Me and Breathe, the musical voyage drifts into the surreal soundscape of On the Run, which suddenly bursts into the monumental track, Time. Although this entire four-song opening sequence is perhaps the Floyd’s finest offering, Time stands out as a highly profound, musically diverse meditation of perpetual relevance. Most essential.
#05: Shine on You Crazy Diamond
This song is broken up into two halves, each which is further divided into distinct segments (parts I – V and VI – IX). Taken in its entirety, Shine on is a timeless voyage that invites focus, inspires memory, and invokes emotion. To many, Shine on epitomizes the essence of the Pink Floyd sound. Originally released on Wish You Were Here.
#04: Another Brick in the Wall
Taken together, Pink Floyd’s three-piece set from The Wall is about as diverse and musically intense as it gets. The set opens with a quiet, subconscious contemplation, breaks into a chanting academic rock anthem (with a scorching, first-take Gilmour solo), and concludes with an existential resolution and transcendental momentum. As delivered, these songs provide context to The Wall while demonstrating the musical maturity of the band.
#03: Dogs / Pigs
If you are unfamiliar with Animals, you are missing out on some of Pink Floyd’s highest, heaviest, most intense music. On every level — musically, lyrically, emotionally — Animals will utterly peel your cap back. If you lack the time to sit through the entire recording, focus on either Pigs or Dogs (or both). You may not “get it” the first time (or three), but rest assured, it’s all there. Quality headphones absolutely mandatory.
#02: Unknown Song
A surprising number of Pink Floyd fans have never heard this brilliant song. Originally released on the relatively rare Zabriskie Point soundtrack, the Unknown Song is Pink Floyd flowing at their best, a timeless expression of instrumental bliss. Best if taken with zero stress, a relaxed mood, and an open mind.
#01: Fearless
This is my all-time favorite Pink Floyd song. I am moved to tears (in a good way) nearly every time I listen to it. The lyrics speak to me on many levels, and the music represents Floyd flowing together as one. I love the way the song ends with a chorus of “You’ll never walk alone.” — Very intense and inspiring. Originally released on Meddle.

Speak to me..

One of the great things about Pink Floyd is that they mean so many different things to so many different people. Everybody who listens to them does so for a different reason. And there are countless great Pink Floyd songs — some would even argue that they are all great. Still, highlighting a few favorites is a great way to help others discover some great music. So, for the Floyd heads out there, what are your favorites, and why? Top three? Top ten? Top ???

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Creative thinker. Passionate about free and open Web.
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85 responses
  1. Wow it is really good that fans like you still exist. I mean I am really hooked to Floyd for the past few days. There is nothing better than lying on your couch relaxing with your eyes closed and tripping on some Pink Floyd albums. Btw I haven’t yet bought the Pulse DVD and a lot of people have told me to. Even though I like Barett much more than Gilmore what do you suggest ?

  2. gerrard8dg April 6, 2010 @ 4:40 am

    abhishek, go and get pulse, its brilliant! the lasers and effects will blow your mind.. the only bad thing was that roger waters wasnt playing, but its one of their best performances.. while ur at it, check out pink floyd live at pompeii on youtube or smt.. thats some trippy stuf..

  3. Wow ! That was quite amazing. I mean I was almost lost hearing that. Thanks gerrard8dg. Btw has there been any more of such brilliant perfomances by this amazing band ? Any help will be really appreciated. Thanks.

  4. The thing you said (below the SPEAK TO ME link) was real and that’s why we love Pink Floyd, THAT is what you call poetry. BTW: Atom Heart Mother should be on the list. You should see my page, though you like different aspects of Pink Floyd, you might like it.
    Thanks

  5. There was a guy listening to pink Floyd here at work. Someone then said “Top ten things to say while listening to pink Floyd… Talk into the microphone”

    While i didn’t understand the punchline i stumbled upon this trying to find it. I know you all are Pink Floyd finatics, and gladly i can say I’m not. For one they’re old. and then Abhishek thinks the beatles and them are Gods.. you know what? When i just saw from google that John Lennon would’ve been 70 but didn’t realize he was dead til i researched it. I sure was glad to learn he was dead :)

  6. nobody like High Hopes?

  7. Jeff Starr

    @jasmine: I like the song, as many do, but it’s just not one of the Top Hits, which is the focus of this post.

  8. Hi there. I guess I should leave my list even though I’m only a beginner for Pink Floyd and will expand on it later.

    • 10. Dogs/Pigs/Sheep (must listen to Animals with quality headphones on to-do list).
    • 9. On the Turning Away
    • 8. Brain Damage/ Eclipse
    • 7. Money
    • 6. Great Gig in the Sky
    • 5. Us and Them
    • 4. Hey
  9. Sorry about that.

    • 4. Hey You and Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2/Happiest Days of Our Lives
    • 3. Time (alone)
    • 2. WYWH
    • 1. Probably my eternal favorite, Comfortably Numb

    Pink Floyd are the best.

  10. I’ve revised my views a bit in the last year and a half(ish). My top ten Pink Floyd songs are now:

    1. Comfortably Numb
    2. Dogs
    3. Echoes
    4. Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    5. Arnold Layne
    6. Time
    7. Sheep
    8. Pigs (Three Different Ones)
    9. Brain Damage
    10. Wish You Were Here

    My top ten Pink Floyd albums are now:

    1. Animals
    2. Dark Side of the Moon
    3. Wish You Were Here
    4. The Wall
    5. Meddle
    6. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
    7. Obscured By Clouds
    8. The Final Cut
    9. The Division Bell
    10. Soundtrack From the Film More
  11. Hey guys…

    1. Fat Old Sun (studio; live at Paris Cinema, London ’71; live at Emerson Gym, Cleveland, OH ’71
    2. Atom Heart Mother Suite
    3. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast

    4-10 in no specific order:

    • Echoes
    • Rain in the Country
    • Dogs
    • Comfortably Numb
    • Shine On (all parts)
    • High Hopes
    • Green is the Colour>Careful with that Axe Eugene (Live at the BBC)

    Of course it is impossible to make an adequate top 10 for the greatest band of all time ;-) I could list at least 25 more songs that represent what I think are “songs above the rest”

  12. Jeff Starr

    Hey NoahY,

    Thanks for your list! And I’ve got to ask, is Rain in the Country the same thing as the Unknown Song (or one of its many versions)? If not, are there multiple versions of Rain in the Country? How are they related? I would love to get my hands on some of the more obscure stuff, but difficult to find these days (even on the Web).

    Great mix of both old and new stuff in there – good balance :)

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