Why I love Pink Floyd


I live by a rule. It’s a very simple rule, but I have never failed to meet it. The rule is this: if you are going to wear a band shirt, know more about the band then their three biggest hits. If I see you walking around in a Led Zeppelin shirt, I expect you to be able to talk about the masterful drumming of John Bonham, to express your opinion about the guitar god that is Jimmy Page, or to name songs that aren’t played on every rock radio station in the midwest. Oddly enough, it is because of my strong belief that if you were the shirt, you have to know the band that I became a fan of the legendary psychedelic/progressive rock band that is Pink Floyd.  

It all started my first year in middle school. I had just recently started getting into rock music and my tastes were varied with me jumping from Aerosmith to Billy Joel, and being at the age where kids grow two inches overnight, my mom had decided that it was time for me to get out of the same clothes I had been wearing in elementary school. One Saturday morning, she comes home with a couple of bags from Target and tosses a shirt to me. I thought. “Oh wow,” I thought to myself, “Another plain grey shirt.” I was dead wrong. Unfolding it revealed the words ‘Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973.’ Across the chest was a prism showing light being reflected into a rainbow. 

I was stumped. Why would my mom think I liked Pink Floyd? Of course, I did know about Pink Floyd, I mean, who doesn’t know about them, but I could not name any song of theirs. I looked over at my mom, shaking my head. 

“What’s the deal? I don’t even listen to Pink Floyd, why would I wear their shirt?” I asked. 

She gave me this sort of confused look. 

“I know you like those older rock bands that my brother used to listen to. I am sure that you will like this shirt. Isn’t the design cool?,” she said. 

Was this some sort of bad prank? Was I just not in on it yet? I took another look at the shirt. I swore that I would never wear it. Ever. How naive I was. 

Later that same year, I had delegated a section of my dresser to clothes I did not want to wear. If a clothes drive came up, then I would randomly grab one or two shirts to donate. In the far back was that Pink Floyd shirt. Looking back on it now, I suppose I am really lucky it was in the back and never got donated. I continued to dive deeper into rock music and fell in love with the classics: Dire Straits, Scorpions, Tom Petty and so much more. Then came the day that would change my life forever. 

It was early winter during my seventh grade year when I did something I was not proud of. My team for a competition was supposed to miss a day of school to compete against other students and schools for the Knowledge Bowl. The Knowledge Bowl was a competition that brought talented and gifted students across Iowa together to test their knowledge. It was something I had participated in before, and I did not want to go. When all of the students who were to compete met up at the front doors to leave, I was sitting in the gym. By skipping out on this competition, I felt disappointed in myself. I was depressed and angry at myself, but I did not know how to sort out all of my emotions. Finally, I decided to mess around in Apple Music. My Apple Music account was connected to my Familys, so I had all of the songs my father had purchased. I was scrolling through artists when one caught my attention: Pink Floyd. I clicked on it. There were three songs: Hey You, Us and Them and Comfortably Numb. Seeing as I was upset at myself, I decided to play Comfortably Numb. It was the best decision of my life.

Comfortably Numb is six and a half minutes of pure genius. Roger Water’s lyrics tell the story of a rock star overcome with emotions he can’t understand and falls into a spiral of drug use and recounts his youth. Soulfully, David Gilmour singing the lines, “I can’t explain, you would not understand/ This is not how I am/ I have become Comfortably Numb.” These words hit me like a freight train, all the while guitars and keyboards weep around me. Pink Floyd understood what I was feeling. Only one other band has ever managed to do to me what Pink Floyd managed to do in six minutes. Pink Floyd was understanding. They said it was okay to feel emotion. It was ok to be sad. After that, I listened to pretty much every Pink Floyd song, from the Syd Barrett era to the post-Waters albums. 

I was cleaning out my dresser when I found it again. The Shirt. I laughed. Of course my mom would be right. These days, I own several Pink Floyd shirts and I wear that first one I got every week. Every. Single. Week. I fell in love with a band because of one day and one shirt. My only regret is that I will probably never get to see any member of Pink Floyd ever play live. Oh well, I have 15 albums worth of music to listen to. So, to wrap this up, thank you for listening to me and go out and listen to something even if you don’t think you will like it. I think it may surprise you

Pink Floyd Shirts and Dark Side of the Moon pants