Pink Floyd celebrates its musical past

Pink Floyd(l-r): Richard Wright, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and David Gilmour Storm Thorgerson

Even if Pink Floyd never releases another new studio album--the last one being 17 years ago---its reputation in rock history is sealed.

The band's records such as "The Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" have sold in the millions; and former Floyd members Roger Waters and David Gilmour have carried on the group's legacy on their recent solo tours.

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And this week, artists such as Pearl Jam and Dierks Bentley will be performing Pink Floyd songs on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. "

On Tuesday, EMI is reissuing Pink Floyd's 14 studio albums, from 1967's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" to 1994's "The Division Bell," both individually and as part of a 16-CD Discovery boxed set. Also being released on that day are expanded editions of "The Dark Side of the Moon" -- including a lavish Immersion boxed set that features several unreleased tracks, an early 1972 mix of the record, and a 1974 performance of "Dark Side" in concert, along with photos and art from the period. (Expanded editions of the "Wish You Were Here" and "The Wall" albums will follow in the coming months).

When EMI approached Pink Floyd about the reissue project, drummer Nick Mason admits that he and the other members were hesitant because most people already have a copy of "The Dark Side of the Moon," which spent 741 weeks on the Billboard album chart after its original release in 1973.

But as Mason tells CBS News: "The real fans like to sort of have their music. I'm so conscious of it as well, just in my own record shopping--I'll go out and buy an 8-album John Coltrane thing with every mistake he's ever made. It's an interesting thing. I began to think there was a maybe good reason to put out something like this.

"We're also conscious of the fact that it's probably the last opportunity to release big sets of CDs because I think downloading will eventually take over. And when that happens, all that packaging--the graphics and so on--will be lost. So it's quite nice to remind everyone how the record came out and what came with it."

Mason says that he was surprised at the amount of archival material that was unearthed for the project. "I very rarely listen to our music unless there's a very good reason," he says. "It's not something I'll casually put on at home. I tend to listen to our stuff fairly critically. So I was surprised at what there was...in some cases how good it was."

The Immersion edition of Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon"
EMI
He says that he would love to do more expanded editions of other Floyd albums but it will depend on how the public reacts to the new reissues of "The Dark Side of the Moon," "Wish You Were Here" and "The Wall." "We certainly got a few bits and pieces, we got some early demos that might be really nice to put something on, there are tapes of us on radio and so on."

Next year will mark the 45th anniversary of the band's debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn." Mason says that he's been amazed at the band's continued popularity after all these years. "When we kicked off in '67, everyone thought that rock and roll was ephemeral -- that people would come along, be successful for two or three years, and then disappear. It was really the Beatles, who transformed all that. But at the time, everyone assumed that once you passed 25, life was over."

With the relationship between bassist Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour being cordial these days, especially after a period of estrangement, does it leave open the possibility of the surviving members of Pink Floyd working together again?

"Yeah, I think so, " says Mason. "I think [the] Live 8 [reunion appearance in 2004] showed that. I think all of us felt it was a worthwhile thing to do and I think in general very enjoyable as well."

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