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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2005
I bought this book from amazon 2 months ago and read it in the space of 3 days. I am a huge Floyd fan and there are not many books out there of any significance about the band. The book looks large but not as big as it looks (ie. lots of photos including 2 page photos and large spaced writing).
The reason i give it 4 stars instead of 5 is that it doesnt really tell you anything about the inspiration for any of the songs (one or two maybe) or what they are about and this is the kind of thing i love to read about. In fairness, Nick wasn't the song writer as such so maybe he isnt as aware of these bits as Roger or the other guys. Also I thought he glossed over certain albums and didnt give a huge amount of info on them. Finally, as i suspect Nick was trying to keep everybody happy he didnt really go into any great detail about the differences the band had (mainly Dave & Roger) when they were coming apart, which i think was a very difficult time for the band (from about 1978 till 1981).
All in all though its an excellent read and really gives a feel for the band, especially in the early days with Syd and the early 70's when the band developed in to the band we know today. He is quite witty and it is very well written. What we need now is a Pink Floyd anthology similar to the Beatles one where they all put their spoke in and we get the full Floyd story.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2006
The story of Pink Floyd as seen through the eyes of Nick Mason (the drummer of Pink Floyd). This is really good stuff. Starting of with his birth, Mason records his entire musical career and that of Pink Floyd right up to the Live 8 Concert in 2005. That means everything, including the rather difficult separation of Roger Waters from the band. If you are looking for one of these gossipy books then this is not for you. On the other hand if you are into dry humour and witty observation then this book is definitely for you. I read in one go – largely because I had the time to do it – but also I just love the way Mason tells the story. At times it struck me a touch too technical but that’s probably because I know nothing about that side of things. But apart from that, I found it to be a real page turner.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2007
Nick Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd to have played on every album they recorded, so gives him a unique insight into every period and aspect of the band. He's also the first band member to put pen to paper and write about their time together - and it isn't likely any of the others are in a hurry to do so soon. It's wonderfully written, with Nick showing a great amount of humour (something that was often absent within the fantastic music they made) when describing their exploits. The hardback version of the book has some fantastic photos, many from his personal archive, and previously unreleased and includes a haunting picture of long lost ex-bandmate Syd when he unexpectedly turned up at the studio when they were recording 'Shine On...'

If you are a fan of Pink Floyd, I have no hesitation in recommending this book, and even though bandmate Roger Waters grumbled that 'there's not enough sex in it' there's plenty of meat on the bones of what it was to be part of one of the most successful British rock bands in the world.

Absolutely top stuff.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
In theory, Nick Mason is the person best-placed to write the story of Pink Floyd, as he is the only person who has been in the band from beginning to end. In reality, maybe he is just too nice to tell the real truth, whatever that is.
What is in the book is well-enough written, with humour and humility, but what is left out is probably much more interesting, and I am sure that a lot has been left out. My first impression of the book when I unwrapped it at Christmas was that it was huge - large pages and very thick - so must be an exhaustive and comprehensive work. However, the paper is high-quality (ie thick) and a lot of the space is given over to photographs and wide margins, so there was not as much content as it first appeared.
One thing that comes across in the book is the difficulty the members of the band have in communicating with each other, and expressing what they feel. This means that anything written about what Roger, Rick, Dave or even Syd thought about any particular event is largely guesswork - even from someone who has known them for decades. The only band member Nick Mason can really understand is himself, but I had the feeling he was trying to avoid making the book into a personal autobiography and thus held back on the material that would be 100% accurate.
In spite of all that, it is still a decent read, with some interesting anecdotes, and certainly essential for any fan of the band. Obviously the biggest disappointment was that it did not give some clue at the end about what future plans, if any, there are for the band, but that would have been asking a bit too much.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2004
If anyone is going to tell the mammoth story of the legendary Pink Floyd then who better than their best spectator Nick Mason, the man who has sat in on the drums on all their albums. Mason actually does a good job at adding lots of wit to this book which may come as a surprise to some Pink Floyd fans who probably assumed wit was not in their vocabulary. He comes across as both charming and down to earth telling he's story on the last 30 odd years of Floyd. The book actually starts at a suitable place telling of the time when he first spoke to Roger Waters some 6 months after they started the same Uni and Waters asked to borrow he's car. Anecdotes are applenty and are all very assuming or informative giving a real feel for how some of the days in Floyd must have really unfolded.
All other members of the band have read the script beforehand with Waters being "very liberal" in he's use of the green highlighter pen as was Gilmour by all means who blocked the book 10 years ago from being fully finished. That however has been a blessing as it has meant that in the time Mason and Waters have made friends again and sorted their differences, making the story less harsh on anyone as it may have been had the two not been on speaking terms.
Finally this book is a must have for fans of Pink Floyd and also general rock fans as Floyd's is one of the biggest that had been left untold by a band member. There are many pictures which makes this different from other Floyd books although does show one distressing picture of Syd in 1975 after he had put on weight and had shaved he's eyebrows. It wasn't something that I think any real fan of the man needs to see although it shows just how bad things had got for him and told more about he's situation to me then the whole book that was written on him did.
Buy this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2006
This book exudes personality from every page. It is witty, dry, well paced and humble, but what it lacks is information - there are some gems here of course that come from first hand experience but again and again I found myself wanting to know more about the production of some of the finest music put to vinyl. That aside I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Upon buying this book I was eagerly anticipating the inside story on the highs and lows of one of history's most influential bands. Mason's style is witty and easy to read but it left me feeling as if nothing substantial or revealing was said.
Instead of shedding any light on the enigmatic powerbrokers of the (post-Syd) band, Gilmour and Waters, it treads a frustratingly conservative line through the history and is careful not to upset anyone. Mason was always the peacekeeper of the band, one to sit on the fence, and he reveals himself in the book that the other members (apart from Barratt) had read the initial drafts and given their suggesstions as to their version of events. He seems to have listened to everyone and diluted all the really interesting bits down.
This is a real shame because Roger Waters is a notoriously difficult and excating individual who would make for a great chapter all of his own. Syd's departure, Rick Wrights virtual 'sacking' and Gilmour's alienation following Waters' self proclaimed leadership following The Wall are all dealt with in meer paragraphs when I believe this would make great reading in more detail.
A missed opportunity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Nick Mason has been with Pink Floyd from the beginning - through all the band's incarnations and troubles. He makes a genial host in his biography of the band, yet he proves too easygoing and unconfrontational to give us much analysis of the internal politics (and problems with Syd) that have periodically torn the relationships between the four/five-some apart. Added to that, Syd apart, the Floyd appear to have been about the only band that didn't turn up, tune in and drop out in the late 60s and 70s, continuing their studies and gigging hard until it became impossible to maintain both when their musical success started to take off.

My real exposure to Pink Floyd started off with Dark Side - I had the posters on my wall and the stickers on my school binder. It was lovely to imagine them tinkering around to produce all the sound effects, and funny to hear that they rejected Paul McCartney's recorded comments for the background. The four albums starting with Dark Side, running through to the Wall were hugely influential to me - I discovered the charms of Meddle later. There is a theatricality about these four - from a band determined to create coherent albums and give the audience a good show. Of course by the time of Wall, the show was everything - I was so jealous of my brother who went to see it at Earls Court.

What does come through is that Mason although not a flashy drummer was, like Ringo, incredibly important to the music, and also in the studio and outside kept the peace. Being a non-songwriter, it helps that Mason has another obsession in motorsport, but this is mostly mentioned in passing, letting Pink Floyd rightfully star.

Given the sad passing of Syd and now Rick, we may never hear their side of the story and how they were forced out. The Live8 reunion was a fitting coda to the Pink Floyd story and is added as an afterword in the latest edition. So this remains an entertaining and light read of the history of one of the greatest rock bands in the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2007
I found this book to be compulsive reading. So compulsive, in fact, that I read the 340 odd pages in a weekend. Nick Mason has a real gift for telling the story of the Pink Floyd, from the very beginning up until the present day. But despite the completeness of the work, you feel that to do the subject justice, he would need almost twice as many pages. This is because although the book is very strong chronologically on who did what when and the sequence of events over some 40 years (a remarkable feat of memory), what it is missing are some of the more interesting human elements. We learn nothing about the private lives of the members, for example. They seem to get married and divorced only in passing. Mason doesn't give us any information on his own marriage or what might have caused it to break up - only hinting that the rigorous touring schedule no doubt put it under pressure. The individual band members remain pretty much as shadowy as they have conspired to be in their professional existence. Like secret agents who must never betray their true identities, they are almost impossible to pin down. We learn almost nothing about Rick Wright for example, who is completely transparent, and who appears to acquiesce to his own sacking during the recording of The Wall without a murmur. We never get to find out what he thought about it. Mason is a little more forthcoming about what he imagined Waters or Gilmour felt about things, but only a little. What we do find out of course, is how Mason felt about things as the band's history unfolded. In this respect, the book does not open too many dark cupboard doors. It is unsurprising really. Mason submitted the book to his erstwhile (there seems little likelihood that they will ever play together again) colleagues for their approval and input and quite clearly didn't want to upset any of them. Nor should he. There is nothing upsetting in the book as a consequence, but that only makes it a little more frustrating for the interested reader. He is not in the business of spilling beans, or causing rifts.

So although this is a book written from the inside, that is both its strength and its weakness. An outside journalist might not be privy to as much real information as Mason can supply, but he doesn't have to worry quite so much about how much to reveal. But if you are interested in the Pink Floyd (and you don't have to be a dyed-in-the-wool fan to find the story interesting) you should definitely read this as it is most entertaining.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
This is the best and most comprehensive book on the Floyd I've read to date (and I've read a few).... OK you'd expect that, as its written by one of the band. But Hey! this book has everything:... quality layout with great pics; witty, insiteful and extremely well written text; fantastic detail (eg "by the way the guy in the back of the picture is the guy who built the aeroplane that the naked girl is holding on the cover of Blind Faith's album"); best of all though it confirms and/or squashes most, if not all, the myths and rumours that circulate about Pink Floyd's long and celebrated musical journey.
It was so absorbing I read it in a day...... Almost, but not quite, as thrilling as a new Pink Floyd album.
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