Our Top 25 Pink Floyd Songs list originally attempted to somehow chooses only ten Pink Floyd songs that we believed truly represented the best songs of the band. That turned out to be an impossible task to complete for a band such as Pink Floyd. Even using the word songs seems somehow not justifiable on labeling their music. Many of their pieces run over ten minutes long, some close to twenty minutes. Its always troubling with progressive rock bands to label their music as songs. Do you call the great piece “Close To The Edge,” by Yes which runs over twenty minutes a song. How about Pink Floyd’s seventeen minute epic “Dogs?” Or the entire “Shine On You Crazy Diamond Suite?” The members of Pink Floyd liked to compose a piece of music and place it on albums in parts often interrupted by other songs. So how do you choose one particular part or the entire suite?
In the end, after multiple tormenting sessions we decided to pick twenty five great Pink Floyd songs and list them in order of our favorites and simply what we think are the best ones. We figured with having access to twenty five we would be able to make sure that none of the classics were left out. However, after going through the bands catalog of over two hundred songs, once again twenty five did not seem to be a big enough list. There are so many great ones. But, we had to draw the line.
The main focus of the article is to serve as a great introduction to the music of Pink Floyd for younger fans just beginning to learn about the band. It was important to cover all of the bands time periods. However, because their string of albums released in the 1970s were so legendary, we were not able to select a song from every Pink Floyd album. There were just too many great tracks from Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall that we could not leave of this list.
The origins of Pink Floyd began as a rhythm and blues cover band. In fact, Syd Barrett chose the bands name by combing the names of two blues musicians named Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The group’s live performances however stretched the boundaries of R&B and began to flourish into long experimental jams and psychedelic performances. The group had actually named themselves the Pink Floyd Sound based on the groups originality. Those performances began to attract attention paid to them by record companies. The band signed a deal with EMI Records in 1967 and released their first single entitled “Arnold Layne.” A few months later Columbia Records released the groups second single titled “See Emily Play.”
In August of 1967, Pink Floyd released their first album entitled The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The albums lineup included Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright. Later in the year, Pink Floyd added guitarist David Gilmour to the band. Eventually, there were problems between Syd Barrett and other members of the group that were defined by Syd Barrett’s personal issues. Those issues would result in Syd Barrett being kicked out of Pink Floyd while they were recording their second album. Their sophomore release was issued in 1968 entitled A Saucerful of Secrets.
In 1969, Pink Floyd released a two record set entitled Ummagumma. The two record set was split between a live and studio album. The following year in 1970 saw the release of two new Pink Floyd studio albums entitled Atom Heart Mother, and Meddle. There are many long time PPink Floyd fans that love the early albums and singles up unto the Meddle album. There are many great moment on all those records. However, honestly if the bands career ended after Meddle , we would not be talking about a band called Pink Floyd in 2020. The legend of Pink Floyd was cemented in 1973 with the release of the album Dark Side of the Moon. An album that easily stands in the top five of the greatest albums of all time.
Pink Floyd followed up the album Dark Side of the Moon with three more classic records. In 1975 the band released the album Wish You Were Here. That album was followed up with the Animals record in 1977. Pink Floyd finished their remarkable 1970’s run of classic albums with the release of the two record set The Wall in 1979.
The classic Pink Floyd era ended with The Wall album. Roger Waters and David Gilmour were disagreeing with the band’s musical direction. The feud resulted in the band’s next album being a mixed bag of leftover songs from The Wall album with some new material. Richard Wright had been fired from the band, so Pink Floyd’s twelfth album entitled The Final Cut was only represented by David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Roger Waters. After releasing four masterpiece albums in a row, the album The Final Cut was a huge disappointment. The Final Cut would also prove to be the last Pink Floyd album that Roger Waters would ever appear on.
David Gilmour continued on with the Pink Floyd name releasing three more studio albums. David Gilmour and Nick Mason would release the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987. Seven years later David Gilmour and Nick Mason and Richard Wright would return as Pink Floyd with the album The Division Bell.
David Gilmour and Nick Mason would release one more album under the Pink Floyd name. Syd Barrett had passed away in 2006 and Richard Wright had died in 2008. Both former Pink Floyd legends had lost their lives to cancer. David Gilmour and Nick Masons 2014 Pink Floyd album The Endless River was a tribute to Richard Wright in which the two utilized old recordings that Wright had played on. As of this writing in 2020, The Endless River is the last studio album released to bear The Pink Floyd name.
Below is a list of our favorite Pink Floyd songs in order of preferences. While we firmly believe Pink Floyd’s most important work was released between the years 1973 and 1979, we have attempted to include the other time periods for historic purposes and simply for the fact that there was still great materiel releasing during those other periods. Every song placed on this Pink Floyd songs lists is defined also by the year it was released and the album it was issued on. The songwriter and lead vocals on each track will also be listed. We will reserve commentary on these songs because of the grand scale of the music, The songs speak for themselves.
# 25 – Hey You
We open up our Top 25 Pink Floyd songs with this great track from the 1979 album The Wall. Most of the entire album was written by Roger Waters with a few exceptions. The song “Hey You,” was written by Roger Waters. The lead vocals were performed by David Gilmour and Roger Waters.
# 24 – What Do You Want from Me
This great track “What Do You Want from Me,” was released on the 1994 Pink Floyd album The Division Bell. It is the only track from the album represented on this Top 25 Pink Floyd songs list. The song was written by David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Polly Samson.
# 23 – Pigs (Three Different Ones)
# 22 – Careful With That Axe, Eugene
This song was originally released as the B Side to the single “Point Me at the Sky” in 1968. It has been issued on various Pink Floyd compilation albums. Songwriting credit for the songs went to David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason.
# 21 – Goodbye Blue Sky (The Wall, 1979)
# 20 – Free Four
This great song was released n the Obscured By Clouds album. The song was written by Roger Waters who also performed the lead vocal on the track.
# 19 – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
The great song Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun was released on the A Saucerful of Secrets album. The album was released in 1968. The song was written by Roger Waters. The lead vocal was performed also by Roger Waters.
# 18 – Mother
# 17 – Have A Cigar
# 16 – Astronomy Domine
This old time Pink Floyd song “Astronomy Domine” was written Syd Barrett. The song original appeared on Pink Floyd’s debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The album was released in 1967. Syd Barrett and Richard Wright performed the vocals on the track.
# 15 – Lucifer Sam
Lucifer Sam was written Syd Barrett. The song original appeared on Pink Floyd’s debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The album was released in 1967. Syd Barrett performed the vocals on the track.
# 14 – Welcome to The Machine
# 13 – The Great Gig In The Sky
Released on the 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. The song was written by Richard Wright The lead vocal was performed by Clare Torry who was incredible.
# 12 – See Emily Play
“See Emily Play,” was a non-album single released in 1967. The song was written by Syd Barrett who also performed the lead vocal on the track.
# 11 – Echoes
The track “Echoes,” was released on the Meddle album in 1971. The song was written by Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. The lead vocals were performed by David Gilmour and Richard Wright.
# 10 -Time
Released on the 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon. The song was written by Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. The lead vocals were performed by David Gilmour and Richard Wright.
# 9 – Breath
# 8 – Sheep
# 7 – Wish You Were Here
# 6 – One Of These Days
This classic Pink Floyd song was released on the Meddle album. This one defined the essences of what Pink Floyd was becoming and where there were headed for the rest of the 1970s. A very pivotal song in their career.
# 5 – Money
# 4 – Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
# 3 – Comfortably Numb
# 2 – Dogs
# 1 – Us and Them