Although many of these songs don’t compare in popularity to the success of the music from the golden era of Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals and The Wall, they should command more attention beyond the shadows of the more popular Pink Floyd material. The list below is a presentation of some of the most interesting, well written, and lesser known Pink Floyd songs that deserve to creep into the various internet Top 10 Pink Floyd song lists. Fans might not agree with all of them, but at least a few of the songs should open the eyes and change the minds of those picking the best of Pink Floyd.
The Top 10 Most Underrated Pink Floyd Songs
# 10 – See Emily Play
Starting out the list of the Top 10 best Pink Floyd songs that never make top 10 lists is the great 1960’s single, “See Emily Play.” The song was released as a stand-alone single on June 16th, 1967. The song would eventually appear on the U.S. edition of Pink Floyd’s debut album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”The song was written by Syd Barrett. The music is pure 1960s psychedelia laced with the original sound of a band developing a style unlike the other psychedelic bands of the era. The opening organ line was reminiscent of the signature sound of The Doors’ Ray Manzarek. However, the vocal line and melody were distinctively original as was the arrangement. Check out the old Pink Floyd promotional video for the song as it is rather creepy, and yet cool at the same time.
# 9 – It’s What We Do
“It’s What We Do,” is the most recent Pink Floyd song to appear on this list. The song is from what appears to be their final album,The Endless River. David Gilmour has been quoted as saying he believes The Endless River will serve as the final Pink Floyd album. The music to “It’s What We Do,” is very reminiscent of the Wish You Were Here sessions, and specifically the music of “Welcome to the Machine.” However, most of the music from The Endless River album had been recorded in 1994 during the Division Bell sessions. David Gilmour has said that the music on The Endless River pays tribute to the late Richard Wright. The piano playing of Richard Wright graces the ambient textures of the beautiful track, “It’s What We Do.”
Although the album is indeed reminiscent of the Wish You Were Here album, the music of “It’s What We Do,” travels toward the genres of new age music, while Gilmour’s guitar interludes bear resemblance to late 1980s soundtracks such as Against All Odds. “It’s What We Do,” may have been lost amidst some of the negative reviews the most recent Pink Floyd Album received from critics, but it’s a brilliant piece of music that deserves to be recognized.
# 8 – One Of These Days
“One of these Days” is one of those songs that has actually charted onto some of the Top 10 Pink Floyd songs lists. However, it is usually the live versions that are chosen for the lists. As the opening track to the Meddle album, the original version has always stood out as one of Pink Floyd’s earliest and heaviest instrumentals.
# 7 – Sorrow
The great song Pink Floyd song “Sorrow,” was released on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason LP in 1987. Many Top Ten Pink Floyd song collections list “Learning to Fly,” or “Dogs of War,” from the A Momentary Lapse of Reason LP, but “Sorrow,” is the far more interesting song. David Gilmour’s opening guitar solo alone qualifies the song as one of the band’s best. Released during the late 80s in an era of drum machines and synthesizers, the song has a certain Miami Vice feel to it. Nonetheless, Gilmour’s lyrics were outstanding, the guitar playing extraordinary, and the production top notch.
# 6 – Paint Box
Pink Floyd’s “Paint Box,” was another one of the great B sides that became more popular than the A-side. The song was released in 1967 as the B side to the single “Apples and Oranges.” Listen to the interplay between Roger Waters’ bass and Syd Barrett’s guitar at the song’s opening. Nick Mason’s great drum fills explode above the opening verse while Richard Wright’s piano carries the listener away on another great 1960’s psychedelic pop groove experience.
# 5 – Cymbaline
The Pink Floyd song“Cymbaline,” was released during the summer of 1969 on the Pink Floyd album, Soundtrack From the film More. The song was written and song by Roger Waters. There were two versions of the song in which the one featured in the film was sung by Roger Waters. The studio version of the song released on the vinyl LP was sung by David Gilmour.
In retrospect, Cymbaline should be viewed as one of Pink Floyd’s most beautiful, yet dark and moody ballads. The Pink Floyd album Soundtrack From the film More has often been overlooked as one of the gems in the band’s catalog. “Cymbaline,” is the standout track on the LP and very deserving of making the Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs that should, but never make the top 10 list.
# 4 – Fat Old Sun
Pink Floyd’s “Fat Old Son,” was released in 1970 on the Atom Heart Mother LP. Gone is the 1960’s psychedelic sound, as the dawn of the 1970’s unleashed a new genre of music centered around a softer folk rock sound made popular by artists like James Taylor, and Crosby Stills and Nash. The songs “Fat Old Son,” is one of Pink Floyd’s most tender ballads from another often overlooked Pink Floyd album.
# 3 – Sheep
Just about every Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs lists includes the song “Dogs,” from the Animals LP on their lists. Occasionally you will see “Pigs on the Wing,” but it’s rare to see the great “Animals,” track “Sheep,” listed. On their 1977 tour, the band opened their concerts often with their song “Sheep.” The slow electric piano intro to the song set the stage perfectly for Roger Waters.bass to slowly creep into play ahead of David Gilmour’s iconic guitar sounds. Gilmour’s guitar solo at the end of the song embraced by Wright’s keyboards and Waters’ pulsating bass line simply made “Sheep,” the best track on the LP.
# 2 – What Do You Want From Me
This great song was released on The Division Bell in 1994.This one came very close to being the number one pick, but lost out for historical reasoning and also the absence of Roger Waters.. Nonetheless, Pink Floyd’s “What Do You Want from Me,” is all killer. David Gilmour’s articulate Chicago blues infused guitar playing at the beginning of the track sets the tone for a song that borders between the genres of rock,soul, and blues. Classic Pink Floyd chord changes and a brilliant bridge with an ascending bass line brings the song home into the classic Pink Floyd songs universe. One of their best ever, and it should be included on every top 10 lists, but it rarely appears on any of them.
# 1 – Careful With That Axe, Eugene.
If there was ever a Pink Floyd song that would foreshadow the band’s eventual dominance in musical pop culture, look no farther than Pink Floyd’s, “Careful with That Axe, Eugene.” The song was the B side to the Pink Floyd song “Point Me at the Sky,” which was released on December 17 1968 as a stand-alone single. Most of Pink Floyd’s early singles were short three minute psychedelic pop gems. However, “Careful with that Axe, Eugene,” exhibited the haunting trance like jam setting that would become part of the classic Pink Floyd sound of the seventies. It became a far more popular song than the A side of the single, and eventually was released on multiple best of compilations.
The song “Careful with that Axe, Eugene,” also was recorded live for the Ummagumma vinyl album. The song was often performed at early 1970s Pink Floyd shows, but then faded into the shadows behind the success of the 1970’s classic Pink Floyd albums that have dominated the band’s legacy. Nonetheless, “Careful with that Axe Eugene,” stands as the Pink Floyd song that may have cemented the band’s eventual direction as one of the most successful and original sounding bands in classic rock history.
Top 10 Pink Floyd Songs: Deep Tracksarticle published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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