A Look Back At Pink Floyd's 'Animals' 40 Years Later

Pink Floyd

(Radio.com) Forty years ago Monday [January 23], Pink Floyd released its tenth album, and one of its most underrated: Animals. It came on the heels of two insanely successful albums--1973's The Dark Side of the Moon and 1975's Wish You Were Here. Even though the '70s was an era where FM radio would still play lengthy songs, Animals didn't make things easy on broadcasters. "Dogs," "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep" all break the ten minute mark. The remaining two songs--"Pigs on the Wing (Part 1)" and "Pigs on the Wing (Part 2)"--are essentially the same song. They both clock in at under the ninety second mark, a bit short for a radio hit.

Animals is the album where bass player and vocalist Roger Waters began his domination of Pink Floyd; he wrote four of the five songs on the album; "Dogs" was co-written with guitarist-singer David Gilmour (Gilmour claimed to have written "90%" of the song, which is essentially all of side 1). It was the first album where keyboardist Rick Wright didn't have any writing or co-writing credits.

Musically, it seemed at least partially inspired by the punk rock movement; they'd dropped the saxophone solos and the lush backing vocals. Animals is essentially the stripped down Floyd guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, vocals and some effects. Indeed, later that year, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason produced British goth-punkers the Damned's second album, Music for Pleasure. While Floyd may have been seen as prog-rock dinosaurs, they still were in tune with the zeitgeist, and it showed.

Floyd's two prior albums--radio behemoths, both--looked at madness from different angles. The covers were tailor made for black light posters and t-shirts. Animals' cover, on the other hand, was a stark image of a factory with a runaway inflatable pig in floating by. It was harsher, and somehow crueler even than Wish You Were Here's image of a man on fire. Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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