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Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd Paperback – March 10, 2005
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Here, for the first time, is the story of Pink Floydfrom the inside out. With 116 million albums sold worldwide and 25 years on the pop charts to their credit, Pink Floyd is one of the most successful rock groups in history, yet their storyuntil nowis one of the least known. The only continuous member of the band through its entire 40-year history, Nick Mason has witnessed every twist, turn, and sommersault from behind his drum kit. The journey begins with the band's origins as the darlings of London's late 1960s underground and the creation of the classic Pink Floyd sound, all the way through to The Wall and those legendary stadium shows. Here are the players who shaped the band's history and the story behind the storythe inside perspective on, for example, the deterioration and departure of Syd Barrett; the overwhelming success of The Dark Side of the Moon and the resulting pressures and conflicts within the band, including the rift with Roger Waters; and Nick and David Gilmour's decision to put their reputations on the line and continue as Pink Floyd. Packed with rare photographs and vintage Floyd graphics from Nick Mason's extensive private archive, Inside Out is an eye-opener for both veteran fans and those just discovering the group. And, in keeping with the classic Floyd style, the book's cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson, creator of such iconic images as the Dark Side pyramid. Always candid, by turns poignant and funny, Nick's own memories are augmented with extensive research and interviews, making Inside Out a comprehensive history of one of the most brilliant and imaginative bands the world has knownand a masterly memoir of rock and roll.
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First, I will make this simple: if you really like Pink Floyd, this is an indispensable book to have and an absolute must-read. If you are not, then it is probably way too much information. But, oh my, what a brilliant book this is! Nick Mason is a witty, slightly dark-humored, self-deprecating,detailed wordsmith. I did not want this book to end. It is a wonderful recollection and reflection back into the history of the iconic band Pink Floyd. If you are looking for sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, this is NOT it. Just a look back and look through a band and its music. The bumps and bruises along the way (read: Syd and Roger) are handled forthrightly, with dignity and without backstabbing. We are given the basic facts with Mr. Mason's subtle observations and subjective thoughts, but not delivered with rancor or over-emotionalism. Mason does not take himself very seriously and time and time again we are delighted to read his thoughts about himself and others with what I can only imagine were delivered with a wry smile. The book is offered with intelligence and love and I came away feeling as if I had sat across the table from him as he expounded on his life with this magnificent group of musicians who became terribly dear to his heart. Mason comes across as being grateful for the opportunity and wants the reader to understand how it all came to be. A fabulous bonus for the reader is the inclusion of dozens and dozens of terrific photographs. The book was released just after the Floyd reunion at Live8 and before the deaths of Syd Barrett and Richard Wright. Again, if you are a Pink Floyd fan, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
What is annoying is that Mason made several amendments and "updates" to the book after it was published, and what I didn't know at first was which "version" of the book I was getting. I got it at a discount because it was NOT an updated version, but I was unaware of this until after I purchased the book & it was sometime later. I'm not even sure of what content was added or if it's worth it to seek out the most recent version of the book or not, but once you publish a book, don't keep adding updates and afterthoughts. I just pisses people off. I can't even tell you what to look for if you want to buy the most recent version of the book, myself...only that if you find it considerably cheaper, it's likely the older version.
At any rate, if you're a Floyd fan who likes to know details about the band above and beyond the music, this books is not only a good read but it's coming from a practically indisputable source, one of the band members. Floyd is one of the most enigmatic bands of our time and catching more than a glimpse about the inner-workings is a thrill. Lots of good stuff in here, and more. It's a nice coffee table book for a softcover and quite heavy, large, and stuffed full of photos you may not have seen before.
The photographs are incredible and well-worth the purchase on its own, but Mason's recollections of the Floyd's history is the deal sealer.