47 Best Pink Floyd Songs Ever

Best Pink Floyd Songs

Few bands have helped shape the history of music quite like Pink Floyd. They were pioneers of psychedelic, prog, and space rock, and created a massive catalog of masterpieces. So let's look at the best Pink Floyd songs ever recorded.


High Hopes by Pink Floyd

High Hopes is easily one of Pink Floyd's best songs. Fans have long debated the exact meaning of the lyrics, but even now there is no definitive answer. Have a look at the video and see what you get from it?

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1975

The title track from Pink Floyd’s ninth album, “Wish You Were Here,” is another song reflecting on the loss of friend and former bandmate Syd Barrett. Although he was still alive, Barrett was no longer “there.”

Gilmour and Barrett collaborated on this track, which is steeped with emotion. There is a certain sadness in the lyrics as they refer to themselves as ‘two lost souls’ wishing their friend could return.

Learning To Fly by Pink Floyd

Another top hit with Pink Floyd's trademark slow paced lyrics. The title pretty much sums of what this song is about, learning to fly! Both literally and metaphorically.

It's become popular in the aviation industry due to the reference to flying and a lot of flying happening in the video. It's also about flying high in life and overcoming obstacles.

“Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1975

Known for their long, elaborate songs, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a 26-minute track in nine parts as a tribute to former band member, Syd Barrett. Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968 due to mental health issues and was replaced permanently by David Gilmour.

The song recalls how Barrett was as bright as the sun, and sadly his eyes are now black and hollow. Although he wore out his welcome with his bandmates, “Shine On” is a beautiful homage to an original member of Pink Floyd, remembering the early days. 

“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

One of Pink Floyd’s greatest works is The Wall, a concept album featuring “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)”. It became one of the band’s signature songs and topped music charts all around the world.

The song is memorable for the London secondary school choir that sings the chorus. Rebelling against authority is a theme that runs throughout the record. The kids feel like they are just another brick and refuse to be thought-controlled.

“Time” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

Like “Money,” “Time” is notable for Pink Floyd’s signature use of sound effects. The ticking clocks and chiming bells awaken us to the fact that we are not getting any younger.

Time seems plentiful in our youth when we can afford to fritter it away. But before you know it, time has passed you by. Then you must struggle to find the time as you get closer and closer to death. 

“Money” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

With a ringing cash register, the clatter of coins, and a catchy bass riff, “Money” is the first song on the second side of one of the best-selling records of all time, Dark Side of the Moon. It was the only song from the album to crack the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #13.

The tune is a criticism of wealth, greed, and materialism. Money is the root of all evil. Ironically, the song and record made the members of Pink Floyd incredibly rich and susceptible to excesses of their own.

“Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd 

Song Year: 1979

Widely regarded as one of Pink Floyd’s greatest songs, “Comfortably Numb” features two hauntingly beautiful guitar solos from David Gilmour.

The song was written by Roger Waters after he was injected with a painkiller before a show. The trippy vocals take us into a dream-like state, comfortably numb.

“Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1975

Pink Floyd pulled no punches when it came to exposing the negative side of the music industry. If you wanted to succeed in the game, you had to succumb to being controlled by “the machine.”

You got told what to dream, like the ‘thought control’ in “Another Brick in the Wall.” By controlling your dreams, the machine can provide you with the material possessions you think you wanted.

“The Great Gig in the Sky” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

There have only been three Pink Floyd songs recorded featuring vocals other than the band members themselves. “The Great Gig in the Sky” features a wailing female voice over the track, and the song has become one of the band’s most recognizable.

Aside from a few spoken words, the song features the incredible vocals of singer Clare Torry. Without actual lyrics, her voice represents dying and death. The ‘great gig in the sky’ is the final show in Heaven.

“Echoes” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1971

True to their nature of experimenting with different formats and sounds, “Echoes” is a twenty-three-and-a-half minute song that takes up the entire second side of Pink Floyd’s sixth album, Meddle.

The song winds through several different sounds and styles, from experimental instrumentation to funky, guitar-driven riffs. Despite the fact it was too long to be radio-friendly, die-hard Pink Floyd fans consider the song one of the band’s best.

“Have a Cigar” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1975

“Have a Cigar” is one of only a few Pink Floyd songs featuring lead vocals from a non-band member. English singer Roy Harper sings on the rock track that appears on the album Wish You Were Here. 

Roger Waters wrote the song with a cynical look at the music industry, where record executives push bands to churn out hits so they can ride the gravy train. They are full of praise until they get what they want from you, then you are disposable. 

“Interstellar Overdrive” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

From their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, “Interstellar Overdrive” set the tone for what Pink Floyd was all about. The instrumental is a fusion of psychedelic, prog, and what would become known as space rock.

The track features the talents of Syd Barrett on guitar. It has jazz elements and features a nearly 10-minute freestyle of experimental instrumentation that takes you on a trip through the great unknown.

“Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

“Brain Damage” is a beautiful, soulful song about suffering in one’s madness. One cannot help but feel this is another track inspired by ex-bandmate Syd Barrett’s slip into dementia.

The “lunatic in my head” paints the picture of the mental and emotional suffering one goes through when things are not quite right. A lobotomy does not fix you; it changes you into somebody else. Then you are left behind, forgotten, while they throw away the key.

“Hey You” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“Hey You” is from Pink Floyd’s concept album, The Wall. It was one of two songs from the record to be cut from the accompanying film. The track was the B-side to the single release of “Comfortably Numb.”

When you put up a wall to isolate yourself from society, sometimes it is difficult to reconnect with people. The repeating ‘Hey you’ is a plea for someone to notice him, to reach out and touch him.

“Astronomy Dominé” by Pink Floyd 

Song Year: 1967

The opening track from Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, is a trippy voyage through space, complete with the chanting of the names of the planets.

The title and composition of the song helped coin the term ‘space rock.’ The early days of Pink Floyd, led by Syd Barrett, were steeped in psychedelia, which may have led to his ultimate unraveling. However, the importance of the band’s early music would shape the sound of the late 60s into the 70s.

“Us and Them” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

The longest track on Dark Side of the Moon is “Us and Them,” clocking in at over seven minutes long. But it is worth the trip! The way the music passes from one side of your headphones to the other makes it feel like Pink Floyd is inside your head.

Pink Floyd has a knack for creating beautiful melodic music over heavy lyrics. The song itself is about war, racism, and homelessness. There always seems to be an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ in constant friction.

“Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“Run Like Hell” has the distinction of being the final song recorded by all four original Pink Floyd band members. It is sung by Roger Waters on the band’s opus The Wall.

The lyrics are a nod to ‘Big Brother’ and a fascist government that looks to control you with violence. Even if you want a romantic moment with your girl, you better hide. If they catch you, you better run.

“See Emily Play” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

“See Emily Play” was the second release from Pink Floyd’s debut album. The poppy track became a Top 10 hit. Of course, this brush with mainstream commercialism made it one of Syd Barrett’s least favorite songs.

Barrett wrote the song following one of the band’s first important concerts, the Games for May, which marked the opening of Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1967. Despite the uplifting melody and lyrics, having to lip-synch the song on Top of the Pops seemed to mark the beginning of Barrett’s mental decline.

“Breathe” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

From the opening heartbeat, “Breathe” is a mellow song that reminds us of our mortality. David Gilmour’s vocals and guitar take us on a dream-like journey into our own existence.

In Dark Side of the Moon, the song reflects the record’s concept of time, insanity, and death. Life can be mundane, but how you live it is what matters. As Pink Floyd likes to point out, we will all end up in the same place one day.

“Young Lust” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

Not all of Pink Floyd’s music is psychedelic. “Young Lust” shows the band can lay down bluesy-rock with the best of them. The track is one of the few compositions that David Gilmour co-wrote for The Wall.

The song captures the essence of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. After having casual sex with groupies to break up the boredom of touring, the ‘rock-and-roll refugee’ calls his wife back home, only to find out that she is cheating on him.

“Dogs” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1977

Pink Floyd flexes their progressive rock muscles with the release of 1977’s Animals. Structured loosely on Orwell’s satire Animal Farm, songs like “Dogs” explore the similarities between animals and man.

The 17-minute track captures the predatory similarities between dogs and man, especially in the dog-eat-dog world of commercial materialism. There is also a comparison to the inevitable taming of man to obey his masters. All while you trip out to Floyd’s innovative instrumentation.

“Mother” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

In “Mother,” another song from The Wall, Roger Waters sings the perspective of Pink, the rockstar alone in his own world. He speaks with his mother, whose vocals are provided by David Gilmour.

As much as she loves her boy, there is a smothering darkness that comes from an overprotective mother who checks out his girlfriends and watches his every move. The psychological impact of having a mother who puts a wall up around her child trying to protect him from the world comes through.

“Bike” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

Some of the early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd is reminiscent of bands like The Hollies– poppy, innocent lyrics with a catchy melody. “Bike” is such a song from their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Barrett sings to a girl he likes, courting her with promises of things that might make her happy. His borrowed bike, his pet mouse, and a gingerbread cookie are all offered to the girl who fits in perfectly with his world.    

“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)” by Pink Floyd

“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1)” is from the perspective of Pink, whose father went off to war when he was a child, never to return. The trauma caused the rockstar to build a wall around himself.

Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall was almost entirely created by Roger Waters based on his own life experiences. His father was lost at war, so some of that emotion can be felt in Waters’  lyrics. Juxtaposed with Gilmour’s haunting guitar riffs and Waters’ bass lines, the effect is beautiful and terrifying.

 “Matilda Mother” by Pink Floyd 

Song Year: 1967

Syd Barrett wrote “Matilda Mother” from the perspective of a child being read fairy tales by his mother. The boy is taken to faraway lands of kings and castles and cannot wait for his mother to tell him more.

Barrett seemed to be nostalgic about his childhood and the lost innocence that can never be regained. The song was inspired by the satirical children’s collection “Cautionary Tales” by Hillaire Belloc. 

“Sheep” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1977

From the bleating of sheep in the opening of Pink Floyd’s “Sheep”, you know that things are not what they seem. The song is on the band’s album Animals, reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm.

“Sheep” was originally titled “Raving and Drooling,” a jam-based song that took different twists and turns, like the mind of someone going insane. Like sheep, mankind is meek and obedient and had better do as it’s told if it wants to survive.

“One of These Days” by Pink Floyd 

Song Year: 1971

“One of These Days” is an instrumental from Pink Floyd’s 1971 release. Meddle. Roger Waters and David Gilmour both play bass guitar on the track, creating a unique sound effect.

The lone lyric in the song is a promise of violence spoken by drummer Nick Mason. Despite the ominous threat, the song has many different segments that flow together seamlessly. 

“Goodbye Blue Sky” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

It is hard to listen to Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” without envisioning the scene from the film accompaniment to The Wall. Live action turns into animation as an ominous black eagle representing Nazi aggression morphs into a factory churning out warplanes.

The song captures the fear the British felt during The Blitz of World War II. The frightened ones in their gas masks hide for safety while the Union Jack gets torn apart, turning into blood-covered crosses.

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1977

Joining “Dogs” and “Sheep” from the band’s album Animals, Pink Floyd casts “Pigs” at the top of the social order, manipulating society to gain wealth and power for themselves. 

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” features Roger Waters’ scathing vocals calling out different pigs of excess, like businessmen and politicians. David Gilmour’s guitar solo on the track is considered one of his best of all time.

“Lucifer Sam” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

From their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, at first glance, “Lucifer Sam” appears to be a song penned by Syd Barrett about his Siamese cat. He also references his then-girlfriend Jennifer as a witch.

The song has a twangy guitar sound not typical of other Pink Floyd tracks. Just like his cat, this track is difficult to explain.

“The Happiest Days of Our Lives” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“The Happiest Days of Our Lives” is a lead-in to “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” from Pink Floyd’s album The Wall. The song seems to suggest that these weren’t happy days at all.

An overriding theme on the record is the oppressive nature of authoritative figures, in this case, schoolmasters. They will deride the children and expose their weaknesses at every turn, then show their weaknesses when they go home at night.

“Arnold Layne” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

“Arnold Layne” was the band’s first single, released in 1967 when they were still known as ‘The Pink Floyd.’ It was an early attempt to create a three-minute song that could get played on the radio.

Syd Barrett wrote the song about a transvestite with a habit of nicking women’s undergarments from his mother’s washing line. An early black & white promotional video got created for the track showing band members on a beach with a mannequin. 

“On the Run” by Pink Floyd 

Song Year: 1973

“On the Run” is an instrumental track from one of the best-selling albums of all time, Dark Side of the Moon. It is a prog-rock fusion of sound effects that became a signature of Pink Floyd.

The sound of an airport in the background, blended with chaotic noises, suggests the grind of traveling when a band is touring.

“Free Four” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1972

“Free Four” is a folk-rock song from Pink Floyd’s seventh studio album, Obscured By Clouds. It has an upbeatmelody despite the subject matter: death.

Written by Roger Waters, there are references to his father who was killed in World War II. Pink Floyd is quick to remind us of our mortality, and that life is brief while death is a ‘long cold rest.’

“Apples and Oranges” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

Not a band known for their love songs, Syd Barrett went off script when he penned the track “Apples and Oranges.” It was Pink Floyd’s third single ever released.

Barrett met a young woman at the supermarket and was inspired to write the psychedelic pop song. Unfortunately, the production value for the track was not the best quality, and it hindered the song from charting in the UK.

“Summer ‘68” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1970

A track from one of Pink Floyd’s more obscure albums, Atom Heart Mother, contains a catchy tune titled “Summer ‘68.” It is one of the few Floyd songs written and sung by keyboardist Richard Wright.

Wright sings about having a one-night stand, barely speaking to his lover. He knows that he will never see her again and that she will get replaced by another just like her in the next town. But before she leaves, he needs to know: how do you feel?

“A Saucerful of Secrets” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1968

“A Saucerful of Secrets” is the title track from Pink Floyd’s second studio album. The 12-minute progressive rock classic was a staple at their live performances until 1972.

Originally titled “The Massed Gadgets of Hercules,” the mysterious, haunting opening of Pink Floyd’s instrumental was on full display during their epic concert documentary filmed without an audience in Pompeii, Italy, in 1972.

“Pigs on the Wing, Part 1” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1977

The dark, satirical content of Pink Floyd’s album Animals gets offset with two lighter tracks, “Pigs on the Wing” (Parts 1 and 2). The mellow vocals, accompanied by acoustic guitar, set up the listener before unleashing the heavier tracks, “Dogs,” “Pigs,” and “Sheep.”

The track is a love song penned by Roger Waters for his wife, Carolyne. By all accounts, she was a strong-willed woman who did not back down from an argument. Perhaps Waters was inspired to write the song by hearing his wife say more than once– when pigs fly.

“The Nile Song” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1969

In 1969, Pink Floyd recorded the soundtrack for Barbet Schroeder’s directorial debut, More. The film is about heroin use and free love on the island of Ibiza, Spain.

“The Nile Song” is more heavy metal acid rock than the usual psychedelic progressive sounds Floyd was known for. The lyrics are about a woman, the temptation, and the inevitable destruction that she may bring.

“Any Colour You Like” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

“Any Colour You Like” is an instrumental from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It features the talents of Richard Wright on the Hammond organ and various synthesizers.

Roger Waters explained that the title is a reference to the traveling salespeople who would go from town to town selling items cheap from the back of a van. They would claim “any colour you like” even when you had no actual choice.

“The Trial” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

Both the album and the film for The Wall come to a climax with the final track, “The Trial.” The rockstar Pink gets accused of showing human emotion and must face all the antagonists he has encountered.

The track is one more commentary on the struggle to keep one’s sanity. Ultimately the sentence is to tear down the wall that has separated Pink from his demons his entire life. 

“Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1968

From 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets, Pink Floyd’s song “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” is an early sample of what would become known as space rock. Roger Waters wrote the song influenced by a Chinese poetry book.

The track is a rare example of all five members contributing to the same track. Syd Barrett would leave the band in 1968 before the release of the second album, leaving David Gilmour to replace his guitar and vocals.

“Chapter 24” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

“Chapter 24” was the second song to be recorded for Pink Floyd’s debut album. It is a psychedelic track that illustrates the band draws inspiration from all sorts of material.

Written by Syd Barrett, the song was inspired by the ancient Chinese volume, I Ching, which translates to the Book of Changes. Barrett works through the translation explaining through verse the significance of the hexagram.

“Nobody Home” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“Nobody Home” was the last track that Roger Waters wrote for The Wall. There are references to former bandmate Syd Barrett, as well as a line directed to Richard Wright’s love affair with cocaine.

The character Pink is singing about what few material possessions he has, for that’s all he’s got. He has built his mental wall and is now completely cut off from the world. There is an overwhelming sadness about the loneliness that he has created for himself.

“Goodbye Cruel World” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1979

“Goodbye Cruel World” is a short track from the rock opera The Wall that leads up to the next song, “Hey You.” In it, the singer is saying goodbye to the cruel world, and he is not about to change his mind.

During performances of The Wall, the song marked the halfway point of the concert as the final brick gets placed into the wall, closing off our protagonist from society completely. He then reconsiders his decision and tries to reach out for human contact with “Hey You.”

“Careful with That Axe, Eugene” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1968

“Careful with That Axe, Eugene” is a Pink Floyd instrumental apart from the eerie whispering from Roger Waters followed by his shrieking screams. Like many of the band’s songs throughout their extensive catalog, the track is a depiction of insanity.

Pink Floyd has always had the knack for transporting the listener to a dark place while mesmerizing instrumentation helps make you feel less afraid. This track was released as a single in 1968 and did not appear on an album until Relics in 1971. 

“Cymbaline” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1969

Another song from the soundtrack, “Cymbaline” is a cautionary tale about a woman wrought with anxiety. The film’s theme is drug addiction, so the “high time” throughout the lyrics is self-explanatory.

There is even a Doctor Strange reference in the song. If ever there was a track to feature the Supreme Sorcerer, this would be it.

“Flaming” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1967

“Flaming” is a Syd Barrett composition from Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Barrett was a master of fantasy, creating imagery that fit seamlessly with the trippy psychedelic music the band was creating at the time.

From lazing on an eiderdown to riding a unicorn, Barrett’s lyrics have an almost childlike innocence. When he left the band in 1968 to look after his mental exhaustion, David Gilmour and Roger Waters took Pink Floyd into an entirely different dimension.

Top Pink Floyd Songs Of All Time, Final Thoughts

Pink Floyd’s impact on rock music history is truly remarkable. From experimental psychedelic instrumentation to popular mainstream chart-toppers, their 30-plus-year career has produced some of the greatest songs and albums of all time. 

If you have enjoyed your deep dive into some of the best Pink Floyd songs – keep it going! The band has well over 100 more songs to explore. Shine On!

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