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All 165 Pink Floyd Songs Have Been Ranked From Best to Worst

David Gilmour performing onstage with Pink Floyd in Hyde Park in July 1970. © Tony Collins

Whether you came to Pink Floyd as a teenager in the 60, 70s, 80s, or 90s or whether you got to them later in life after wilfully ignoring them for years and then finally succumbing. You’ll no doubt have a favourite album. Be it Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, their earlier psychedelic 60s work or perhaps it’s Division Bell. And on your favourite album you’ll no doubt have a favourite song.

As with all matters relating to popular culture and the arts, and as The Dude from The Big Lebowski once said, “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” But sometimes opinions matter, or at least they can matter enough for you to want to open up friendly–or heated—debate.

And so it goes that rock critic and journalist Bill Wyman (not the Rolling Stones one) has ranked every single Pink Floyd song—their “officially released studio work”—from worst to best in his opinion, compiling them in a list, starting all the way down at 165 and working his way up towards number 1.

Pink Floyd in their dressing room at the The Dome, Brighton, UK in 1967. © Jill Furmanovsky

And it’s not a list that’s just been thrown together, you can tell careful thought has gone into it. It’s impressive as it is extensive. Although Wyman does also joke about the fickleness that always accompanies compiling such a thing.

“In its massive confusion, this accounting — which, whether we like it or not, hangs above our cultural world, as the band itself might have put it, motionless upon the air, like an albatross is a testament to the good humor of the gods of rock, which now and again smile upon otherwise unemployable, gangly British nitwits.

In the list each track comes with a paragraph of text, detailing a potted history of the track and Wyman’s thoughts on it. Of course, being such an extensive list songs that weren’t on any albums at the time of their release are also are included. One such song is “Julia Dream”, a single from 1968 which later appeared on compilation album Relics in 1971. Wyman isn’t shy about his thoughts on it. “This single” begins Wyman. “Written by Roger Waters, has the distinction of being one of the worst singles by a major band ever released.” Harsh.

But that isn’t even the worst song according to Wyman, “Julia Dream” is at No. 158. At No. 165 is “Round and Around” from A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

One of Pink Floyd's earliest photo shoots taken in 1967 using the lighting they used in their gigs. © Andrew Whittuck

But what of the top ten? Well, obviously people will be torn by some of Wyman’s choices. But the standard classics do feature. No.1 is “Wish You Were Here” then comes “Comfortably Numb” at No. 2 but earlier songs like “Bike” the Syd Barrett penned song from Piper at the Gates of Dawn also make the cut.

The full top ten runs:

9 - 10 “Brain Damage”/ “Eclipse” - Dark Side of the Moon
8. “Astronomy Dominé” - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
7. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” - The Wall
6. “Echoes” - Meddle
5. “Bike” - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
4. “Welcome to the Machine” - Wish You Were Here
3. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-5,” - Wish You Were Here
2.“Comfortably Numb” - The Wall
1. “Wish You Were Here” - Wish You Were Here

Writing about the No.1 track, which as an ode to lost band member Syd Barrett is poignant and deserving, Wyman writes, “You see a good but troubled band put aside the fights, collaborate on a good song, and then record it in a way that makes the sound of it still timeless, more than 40 years on. ‘Wish You Were Here’ is of course a funerary for Barrett...but it’s also a love song, and it’s also a meditation on life and ambition and a quest, and also finally about what we don’t know, which is everything.”

Pink Floyd onstage during their UK Dark Side of the Moon Tour in 1974. © Jill Furmanovsky

Going further—into the top 20—it breaks down to featuring six songs from Dark Side of the Moon, five from The Wall, four from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (if you include “See Emily Play” which was originally released separately as single in the UK), three from Wish You Were Here, and two from Meddle.

The top 50 meanwhile expands bit more into their back catalogue pulling in tracks from Atom Heart Mother, A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, The Final Cut, and even including a few songs from their first soundtrack album, for the film More.

Check out the full exhaustive list over on Vulture. And let the reasoned, or not so reasoned, debating begin.

Nick Mason, David Gilmour & Roger Waters during a sound-check for the Dark Side of the Moon UK tour. © Jill Furmanovsky

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer these iconic Pink Floyd images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.

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