Go Backstage with Titan’s Pink Floyd and The Who
If you’re a classic rock super-fan or just a music aficionado, Titan Books has recently re-released two hardcovers that will look great on your coffee table. Titled simply after the bands they’re about, Pink Floyd and The Who, are assembled by go-to Titan historian Marcus Hearn. The books trace the careers of Pink Floyd and The Who from their humble beginnings in the early 1960s through their reunion appearances in 2005.
Hearn sets the stage with brief introductions that outline each band’s trajectory and establish the sources he draws upon for each book. After that he primarily uses rare photographs to provide readers with a backstage pass into the worlds of Pink Floyd and The Who.
These largely black and white photos chronicle album publicity shots, television appearances, iconic concert performances, rehearsals, and snapshots from the road. Color pictures don’t really start to become prominent until the late 70s and 80s portraits, but most of the time those photos aren’t nearly as compelling. Regardless of color, image layout in Pink Floyd and The Who is skillfully designed by Peri Godbold and James King respectively.
While Hearn provides short back story on each band’s members and talks about how the groups formed, he assumes that you’re at least somewhat familiar with Floyd and The Who. So his books aren’t for newbies to the rock scene. Although in Pink Floyd, Hearn gives more biographical details about the band’s founding members for some reason, through small paragraphs on each person and individual portraits.
He largely sets up his captions for several pages of photographs at a time, allowing the pictures to tell the story. In these sections however, Hearn supplies readers with entertaining album and performance reviews from music critics of the era, interview snippets from band members, and other interesting anecdotes.
The most captivating portions of his books deal with the drama between band members. Disagreements are recounted through a combination of Hearn’s descriptions and actual quotes from outspoken musicians like Roger Waters and Pete Townshend. Hearn impressively remains reverent to both bands throughout, but he’s especially respectful in the sections that address the deaths of various members of Pink Floyd and The Who.
Let’s be honest, Pink Floyd and The Who won’t pass for exhaustive biographical books. However they are filled with plenty of delicious eye candy to keep fans of these groundbreaking rock groups satiated. In accordance with the uncertain future of each band, Hearn’s books end rather abruptly in the late 2000s. Like Hearn, I myself am hopeful that we still haven’t seen the last of either group.
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