Honestly speaking, I never would have expected a former Background Magazine reviewer to be the author of a Pink Floyd book. Even more somebody who wrote, as far as I know, the first one in the Dutch language. But it's true, Wouter Bessels, who was responsible for Pink Floyd De Som Der Delen, was a well-respected colleague for several years when we were still a paper magazine. I still remember the day when I met him as a kind young man, who to my surprise knew a lot of other musical styles as well. Therefore it wasn't strange that he was one of our main editors for a certain time. Furthermore he wrote for magazines such as Platenblad, LiveXS and E-dition. Nowadays he works for Progwereld and writes liner notes for several record labels.
Strangely enough the book does not start with the first steps of our musical heroes, which is done most of the time. However it certainly makes a difference compared to other books about Pink Floyd. This time Wouter starts his journey through the history of this band by talking about their latest official release. Most people know that this is of course The Endless River (2014, see review). For the next chapter (Cambridge) Bessels even visited the birth place of the band and took pictures of the houses where several members spent their days before they were famous. The next chapter is about the band's psychedelic period, which was most of all about Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett and the way he went from a genius to a fallen rock star. In the next chapter we can read about the way the band developed a new musical style without Barrett and with guitarist David Gilmour as his replacement. This of course eventually led to the band's million selling The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973). The following chapter is about the way the musicians deal with their success, which most of all effected bassist Roger Waters in a negative way. He more and more hated the way some fans reacted during their concerts. He mentioned that they didn't care who was on stage, they might as well be playing behind a wall. This eventually led to the band's Magnum Opus, which is also the title of the next chapter. In this chapter the spotlight is mostly on The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983), the last two albums with Waters in the band and the man in control. The next chapter is about Pink Floyd without Roger Waters. The title Three Musketeers is certainly well chosen, because the band continued with David Gilmour at the helm and drummer Nick Mason and keyboard player Richard Wright next to him. The two albums A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994) are the main issues in this chapter. The legacy of the band is discussed in the following chapter. You can read about the compilation albums, the bootlegs, the remasters, Spotify, top 2000, covers, cover bands and who was influenced by the band. The last five chapters deal with the solo activities of the five members who were in the band. This section is rather up to date, because the 2015 releases of Water (Roger Waters: The Wall) and Gilmour (Rattle That Lock) are mentioned as well. For those who are interested in all the other releases of the band and solo albums of their members a good discography is included towards the end of the book.
Pink Floyd De Som Der Delen is without a doubt a must have for everyone who is a fan of Pink Floyd and can read the Dutch language. As for myself for being a fan of them since they released Meddle (1971) I still learned a lot about the band by reading this excellent book. By including great pictures, lyrics and quotes of the people who were in the band and worked with them, the book never appeared to be a story of only facts. As for the author of the book I can only say that he delivered a great work of art he can be very proud of.
**** Henri Strik (December 2015, edited by Astrid de Ronde)
Review Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Review Syd Barrett - An Introduction To Syd Barrett
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