Pink Floyd Albums Are Interesting and Often Quite Rare

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Pink Floyd Albums

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pink floyd People are often curious to know which records are the most valuable, and which artists are the most collectible.   Beatles albums would have to top the list, as the British band is the biggest selling act of all time, but many people might be surprised to see the British band Pink Floyd listed among the most collectible artists of all time.

While several of Pink Floyd’s albums are among the best-selling albums of all time (The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall among them,) most of the band’s catalog sold relatively modestly when the albums were first released.

Collectors took notice once the band became a best-selling act in the mid-1970s, however, and many Pink Floyd albums now trade hands among collectors at prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

As with any band that has sold millions of records, most Pink Floyd albums are not especially collectible or valuable.  There are, however, many rare and unusual releases by the band from various countries around the world, and a growing number of collectors of Pink Floyd albums despite the fact that the band has only released three albums of new material in the past thirty five years.

In this article, we will cover some of the more interesting Pink Floyd albums from around the world and show examples of some of the rarer Pink Floyd albums that collectors are trying to find.  This article is by no means intended to be comprehensive, but is rather intended to give a general overview of the sorts of Pink Floyd rarities that are lurking out there.

Pink Floyd Albums – Browse by Category

Click any of the links below to jump to each category:

Pink Floyd Albums Discography
American Pink Floyd Albums
British Pink Floyd Albums
Monaural Pink Floyd Albums
Quadraphonic Pink Floyd Albums
Japanese Pink Floyd Albums
Other Foreign Releases of Note
Pink Floyd Colored Vinyl albums
Pink Floyd Picture Discs
Bootleg Pink Floyd Albums
Conclusion

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Pink Floyd Albums Discography

In listing the discography of Pink Floyd albums, we’re restricting the list to those albums that were released in a vinyl format, as record albums are what our site is about.

The Pink Floyd albums discography on vinyl consists of fifteen studio recordings, five compilation albums and two (and a half) live albums:

  • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)
  • A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
  • More (1969)
  • Ummagumma (1969) (one live disc and one studio disc)
  • Atom Heart Mother (1970)
  • Relics (compilation) (1971)
  • Meddle (1971)
  • Obscured by Clouds (1972)
  • The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  • A Nice Pair (compilation) (1973)
  • Wish You Were Here (1975)
  • Animals (1977)
  • The Wall (1979)
  • A Collection of Great Dance Songs (compilation) (1981)
  • The Final Cut (1982)
  • Works (compilation) (1983)
  • A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)
  • Delicate Sound of Thunder (live) (1988)
  • The Division Bell (1994)
  • Pulse (live) (1995)
  • Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (compilation) (2001)
  • The Endless River (2014)

All of these albums were released in both the U.S. and the UK and in most other major countries when new.  All are currently available in at least one format and most are currently available for purchase on vinyl.

That said, original pressings of some of these albums can be quite hard to find, especially those that were released prior to 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

American Pink Floyd Albums

Tower Records

pink floyd albums - more on tower

An original pressing of the 1969 LP More on the Tower Label.

Since the release of their first album in 1967, American Pink Floyd albums have been released on three different labels – Tower, Harvest, and Columbia.

The first three Pink Floyd albums – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and More, were released by Tower Records.  Tower was a subsidiary of Capitol records that focused on psychedelic and garage bands.  Despite the major label distribution, few albums on Tower (by any artist) sold particularly well, and they’re all hard to find today.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released by Tower in both mono and stereo, and the mono version of the album was one of the last titles the label released in mono and is quite hard to find today.

The American version of the album is quite different from the version issued in the UK and in the rest of the world.  For starters, the album had a shortened title, simply saying “Pink Floyd” on the front cover (the full title appears on the back cover.)  The label simply says “The Pink Floyd.”

The UK version of the album had eleven songs, but the U.S. version has only nine, deleting “Flaming,” “Astronomy Domine,” and “Bike,” but adding the song “See Emily Play,” which had been released earlier as a single.

It’s worth noting that the studio version of “Astronomy Domine” has never been released on any vinyl Pink Floyd albums in the United States.

There were two different Tower labels used for Pink Floyd albums- the first one was a solid reddish-brown color.  The second one (from mid-1969 on) had multiple colors and a series of stripes.

Copies of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets can be found with either label.  More was issued only on the striped label.

Promotional copies of More were issued with custom promotional labels that said “Promotion Copy – Not for Sale.”

Capitol Records shut down their Tower subsidiary sometime in 1970, and all three Pink Floyd albums issued on that label went out of print.  More was reissued in 1973 on the Harvest label, but The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets have never been reissued in the United States as individual albums.

All Pink Floyd albums on Tower are quite hard to find today, and the mono version of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is particularly rare.

Harvest Records

Ipink floyd harvest labeln 1970, Pink Floyd moved to Harvest Records in both the United States and the UK.  Harvest was a new label, distributed by Capitol in the U.S. and EMI in the UK that specialized in progressive rock.

Pink Floyd albums from Ummagumma through The Dark Side of the Moon appeared on the Harvest label.

The U.S. version of the 1971 compilation album Relics has a cover that is different from the version issued in the UK.

The U.S. version of the 1971 album Meddle has a slightly altered cover photo that obscures the ear that is plainly visible on the UK version.

The U.S. version of the 1973 compilation album A Nice Pair was different from versions released outside the United States.  Foreign versions of the two record set contained copies of the band’s first two albums – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets.

The U.S. version of the album replaced the studio version of “Astronomy Domine” with the liver version from Ummagumma.

In 1975, in an effort to sell older Pink Floyd albums after the band had moved to Columbia, Capitol Records released an album titled Pink Floyd Tour ’75.  This LP was released only as a promotional item, and came in a plain white cover with the title printed on it using a rubber stamp, to give the impression that the album was a bootleg.

In fact, the album contained all studio recordings, though it is quite hard to find today.

Columbia Records (CBS in the UK)

In 1975, Pink Floyd albums moved to Columbia Records in the United States and CBS Records in the UK.  The band has remained with this label ever since, and all albums from Wish You Were Here on were issued on this label.

Wish You Were Here was originally released with the cover sealed in dark blue shrink wrap.  Sealed copies with the blue shrink wrap are quite collectible today.

Special editions of Wish You Were Here and Animals were issued for promotional use with the tracks banded for airplay.  The promotional version of Animals came in a plain white cover and contained a version of “Pigs: Three Different Ones” that had an obscenity edited out.

British Pink Floyd Albums

British Pink Floyd albums have appeared on the Columbia, Harvest, and CBS record labels.  It should be noted that in Britain, the Columbia label was distributed by EMI, where in the United States, Columbia was owned by CBS.

Columbia Records

dark side of the moon

The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

The first three Pink Floyd albums appeared on Columbia in the UK.

British record buyers were slower to buy stereo equipment than buyers in America, so the first two Pink Floyd albums were released in both stereo and mono in Britain, while More was issued in stereo only.

The Columbia label used in Britain from 1967-1969 was a black label with a blue Columbia logo.  In 1969, the label changed to a black label with a silver logo and that label remained in use for many years.

Collectors of British Pink Floyd albums are often interested in obtaining the earliest possible pressing.  Given that these Pink Floyd albums remained in print for years without obvious changes to the cover or label, how can one know if they’re looking at an early pressing or a later one?

It’s possible to determine whether a particular copy of Pink Floyd albums on Columbia are early pressings or a later pressing by examining the numbers that are stamped in the area around the record’s label known as the “dead wax” area. These numbers usually indicate the catalog number of the album itself, so that record company employees would know which stampers to use to press a particular record when grabbing them from storage.

Those dead wax numbers also indicate, however, roughly how many records of that title had been pressed before it.

Stampers on the Columbia (and Harvest) LPs are marked using a stamped letter or series of letters that is generally visible at the 3 o’clock position in the dead wax. A stamper code usually consisted of one, two or three letters, using the table below:

G=1
R=2
A=3
M=4
O=5
P=6
H=7
L=8
T=9
D=0

pink floyd piper mono

An original UK mono pressing on the Columbia label

These letters are derived from the phrase “Gramophone Ltd.” and the letters may appear individually or in combination with others. Each stamper was usually used to press some 300-500 discs, at which time it was discarded and replaced with a new one. The first 300-500 copies of a given title, for instance, would have the letter “G” stamped in the vinyl at the 3 o’clock position. The next 300-500 copies would use a stamper with the letter “R.” Later pressings might have multiple letters, such as RM, or GRO, which would represent the 24th and 125th stampers, respectively.

As a general rule, Pink Floyd albums with earlier stamper numbers tend to sell for more money among collectors than those with higher stamper numbers, with the emphasis on owning a copy of the album that was pressed as close to the original date of release as possible.

Harvest Records

As in the United States, Pink Floyd albums in Britain from Ummagumma through The Dark Side of the Moon were issued on the progressive Harvest Records label.  The earliest pressings of Ummagumma and Atom Heart Mother can be identified by their lack of an “EMI” logo on the label, which was added to later pressings.

The first pressings of The Dark Side of the Moon from Britain are noteworthy, as they have a distinctly different label from that used on later pressings.  The prism on the label was originally a light blue color, but that made it quite difficult to read the song titles, as the silver print on the blue prism offered little in the way of visual contrast.

After a few hundred thousand copies were pressed, the prism logo was changed to a simple outline, making it easier to read the song titles.  While copies with the light blue triangle are relatively rare compared to later issues, they were pressed in large quantities when new.  Collectors will often pay a significant premium to find a copy of The Dark Side of the Moon that has both a light blue triangle and a low stamper designation.

CBS Records

In 1975, Pink Floyd albums in Britain moved to the CBS Records label, and the band has remained with that label to the present day.

Monaural Pink Floyd Albums

pink floyd tower mono

A rare American mono pressing of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The first two Pink Floyd albums were released at a time when record companies were still releasing records in both stereo and mono, the latter for people who owned older record players.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was released in both stereo and mono in the U.S. and the UK, and the band’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets, was released in both mono and stereo in the UK, but only in stereo in the United States.

Mono pressings are quite rare when compared with their stereo counterparts, as most people preferred to buy Pink Floyd albums in stereo by the time these two albums were released.  It’s likely that stereo copies of these two albums outsold the mono copies by a ratio of roughly 50:1, making the mono versions of these to albums quite rare compared to the stereo issue.

American record companies phased out mono pressings earlier than those in the UK, making American copies of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn considerably harder to find in mono than the UK version.

Why are collectors interested in mono Pink Floyd albums?  One of the reasons, besides relative rarity, is that the stereo and mono versions of the albums have distinctly different mixes.  As the mono versions of songs were the ones most likely to be played on the radio, the artists and record companies usually spent more time on the mono mixes than on the stereo versions.

The mono mix of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is quite different from the stereo version, and many collectors prefer that version.

For whatever reason, the 1970 LP Atom Heart Mother was released in mono in Brazil, making that album one of the few titles by any artist that was pressed in mono, stereo and quadraphonic.

Quadraphonic Pink Floyd Albums

wish you were here quad

A rare quadraphonic copy of Wish You Were Here

During the mid-1970s, record companies introduced quadraphonic sound, which required the use of four speakers to produce a surround sound effect.  Four channel releases were issued in reel to reel, 8 track tape, and LP formats, though releases and formats varied from country to country.

Three different Pink Floyd albums were released in quadraphonic on vinyl.

In the UK, copies of Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here were released in the UK in both stereo and quadraphonic.  Quad copies of all three are quite scarce.

In the United States, the only Pink Floyd album to be released on vinyl in the quadraphonic format was Wish You Were Here, though The Dark Side of the Moon was released in quadraphonic on 8 track tape.

These titles are all quite collectible, as they have distinctly different mixes from the stereo versions.  To get the full effect, you’ll need four speakers, four channels of amplification, and a four channel decoder.  If you don’t have that equipment, and few people do, you’ll still hear noticeable differences from the stereo versions when playing them on stereo equipment.

Japanese Pink Floyd Albums

While Pink Floyd albums were issued worldwide, the releases in most countries did little to distinguish themselves from Pink Floyd albums released elsewhere.

That’s not the case in Japan, where there were a number of interesting Pink Floyd albums released that differed in various ways from their British or American counterparts.  While all Pink Floyd albums released in Japan were issued in stereo only, there are still many reasons for why albums from Japan appeal to Pink Floyd collectors.

pink floyd relics japan

An original Japanese pressing of Relics, pressed on red vinyl and including the obi

The first distinguishing feature of Japanese Pink Floyd albums is the presence of the “obi,” a paper strip that wraps around the cover.  The obi was intended to give record buyers information about the album (printed in Japanese), such as the title and the price.  These paper strips were often discarded after purchase by buyers and over time, it has become quite difficult to find older Pink Floyd albums from Japan that still have the obi intact.

In some cases, such as with the first pressings of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the value of the obi alone can exceed the value of the album itself!

Japanese promo only pink floyd sampler

The rare 1970 Japanese promo-only Pink Floyd sampler LP

All Pink Floyd albums issued in Japan from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn through Meddle were issued on both standard black vinyl as well as on “Everclean” red vinyl, which was specially formulated to be resistant to attracting dust.  The first three albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and More, were released two different times on red vinyl with different catalog numbers and different obis.

While the red vinyl pressings were not intended to be limited edition collector’s items, the red vinyl was usually limited to first pressings only, and collectors are far more interested in the red vinyl copies than they are in the black vinyl versions.

Red vinyl pressings of Ummagumma are particularly rare, as only white label promotional copies of the album were released that way.  All stock copies of the album were pressed on black vinyl.

The Pink Floyd albums More and Relics were issued in Japan with gatefold covers, unlike the U.S. and UK issues of those albums.

Dark Side of the Moon Japan

The Japanese record club issue of Dark Side of the Moon

The Japanese pressing of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is noteworthy for having 12 tracks – the 11 tracks included on the original UK pressing of the album and the additional track, “See Emily Play” that was included on the U.S. version of the album.

Finally, there were two different Pink Floyd albums released in Japan which were issued only as promotional items.  The first, simply titled Pink Floyd, was issued in about 1970 and featured the head of a cow on the cover.  This LP was reportedly pressed in quantities of less than 100 copies and contains a variety of tracks from the band’s early years.

The second of the promo-only Pink Floyd albums from Japan was a single disc version of The Wall called The Wall In Store.  This album was intended for use in record stores.

Perhaps the rarest of all Japanese Pink Floyd albums is the version of The Dark Side of the Moon that was issued only through a Japanese record club.  This version of the album features a live photo of the band performing on stage on the front cover, rather than the common “prism” artwork found on pressings from every other country.

Aside from all of the interesting things listed above about Japanese Pink Floyd albums, collectors also value them because of their high sound quality.  Japanese LPs are usually pressed using high quality vinyl and the packaging and print quality of the covers and inserts are usually better than those found on releases from other countries.

Other Foreign Releases of Note

While Pink Floyd albums from most countries are nearly identical to those issued in the U.S. or UK, there are a few noteworthy pressings from around the world that were different in some way.

Obscured by Clouds from Turkey, with Queen on the cover!

The Australian and New Zealand pressings of Relics have a cover that was different from either the U.S. or UK pressing.  The UK pressing had a cover featuring a drawing by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason.  The U.S. cover depicted an odd photo of an antique bottle opener.

The Australian edition had a photo of some coins on top of a map.

The original Italian pressings of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were not released until 1971, by which time founding member Syd Barrett had been replaced in the band by David Gilmour.  The Italian cover of this release has a photo of the band with Gilmour (and without Barrett.)

This particular album is quite scarce, and is one of the few Pink Floyd albums to have been counterfeited.

Several different Pink Floyd albums have been released in Turkey with covers that are significantly different from the covers used elsewhere.  The 1978 reissue of A Saucerful of Secrets uses a cover photo taken from the A Nice Pair compilation album.

Italian Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The Italian Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The Turkish Obscured by Clouds cover features a live concert photo on the cover, but close inspection of the photo makes it clear that the band on the cover is not Pink Floyd, but Queen!

A South Korean-only Best of Pink Floyd LP features a live shot of the band on the cover, and this time, the band really is Pink Floyd.

There are hundreds of variations on covers of Pink Floyd albums from around the world, but the ones above are among the more significant ones.  Small countries, particularly those in Asia and Africa, often issued unlicensed albums using whatever they could find for album cover art.

Pink Floyd Colored Vinyl albums

If you like collecting colored vinyl records, you’ll definitely like collecting Pink Floyd albums.  Many Pink Floyd albums have been released as limited edition colored vinyl pressings over the years.

The listing of colored vinyl Pink Floyd albums below is not definitive, but you will notice that there are far more titles for this band than for most other artists, including the Beatles.

Blue vinyl Atom Heart Mother from France

Blue vinyl Atom Heart Mother from France

Blue Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

  • Atom Heart Mother (France; 1978)
  • The Dark Side of the Moon (France; 1978)
  • Wish You Were Here (Netherlands and Germany; late 1970s.)
  • The Division Bell (U.S.; 1994)

Clear Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

  • The Dark Side of the Moon (France; 1978)

Orange Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

  • The Wall (Italy; 1979 – promotional issue only; limited to approximately 600 numbered copies)

Pink Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

  • Animals (France; 1978) Issued with an all-pink cover as well as the standard one
  • The Dark Side of the Moon (Australia; 1988 – these copies are all quadraphonic)
  • Money (U.S.; 1982 – promo-only 12″ single containing a remix of “Money.”)
Orange vinyl The Wall from Italy

Orange vinyl The Wall from Italy

Red Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

Seven different Pink Floyd albums were released on red vinyl in Japan:

  • The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (two issues – 1967 and a 1971 reissue)
  • A Saucerful of Secrets (two issues – 1968 and a 1971 reissue)
  • More (two issues – 1969 and a 1971 reissue
  • Ummagumma (promo copies only; all stock copies were black vinyl)
  • Atom Heart Mother
  • Relics
  • Meddle

White Vinyl Pink Floyd Albums

  • The Dark Side of the Moon (Netherlands and Germany; late 1970s.)
  • A Momentary Lapse of Reason (France; 1988)

Other Pink Floyd albums exist on colored vinyl, but most of these are unauthorized, counterfeit pressings, manufactured by individuals trying to make quick cash from unsuspecting collectors.

Many of these colored vinyl Pink Floyd albums have labels indicating that they are promotional copies, but they’re not legitimate promotional items.  The most common of these is The Dark Side of the Moon pressed on various colors, but we’ve also seen colored vinyl copies of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets that are counterfeits of original UK pressings of the LP.

We have also seen copies of Wish You Were Here pressed on red, green, and blue vinyl.  Again, these are all unauthorized pressings that have little value.

Pink Floyd Picture Discs

Dark Side of the Moon picture disc

Dark Side of the Moon picture disc

Despite the large number of colored vinyl Pink Floyd albums on the market, there are relatively few picture discs by the band.

The most common by far is the 1978 pressing of The Dark Side of the Moon, released in the United States by Capitol.  This album sold quite well for a picture disc, despite a retail price that was nearly twice that of the regular black vinyl pressing.  The picture disc had a photo of the prism from the front cover on one side and the “pulse” image from inside the original cover on the back side.  The album was released in a multi-colored non-gatefold cover and without the postcards or posters that came with the regular copies of the album.

A limited edition box set released in France in the late 1970s titled The First XI contained all of the band’s albums from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn through Animals.  The versions of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here included in this rare box set were picture discs, and these discs were not made available except as part of the set.  The picture disc for The Dark Side of the Moon had a different photo from the U.S. picture disc of the album.

The only other authorized Pink Floyd picture disc of which we are aware is a single-disc edition of The Delicate Sound of Thunder that was released in Brazil as a promotional item only.  Plans to release the album commercially in Brazil as a two-disc picture disc set were scrapped at the last minute, and a couple of copies of the two disc set are known to exist.

There are many other Pink Floyd albums in picture disc format, and these can be frequently seen for sale on Ebay.  All of these are unauthorized counterfeit pressings and are not official releases.

Bootleg Pink Floyd Albums

A Pink Floyd bootleg album

A Pink Floyd bootleg album

Pink Floyd albums have been popular with collectors since the early 1970s and when any band becomes popular, bootleg albums will inevitably follow.  These are unauthorized albums containing previously unreleased studio material or recordings of live performances that are sold without the permission of either the band or the band’s record company.

Bootleg Pink Floyd albums have long been popular among collectors who already own all of the band’s official releases, and over the decades, hundreds of Pink Floyd bootlegs have appeared on the market.

While a few of them, such as Omayyad, released in the early 1970s by the Trademark of Quality label, feature studio recordings, the vast majority of Pink Floyd bootleg albums feature recordings of the band in concert.

The band performed several times on the air for the BBC in the early 1970s and these recordings offer good, and sometimes exceptional, sound quality.  Other recordings from the 1970s, such as Raving and Drooling, offer poor quality recordings made by someone in the audience with a portable tape recorder.

In the late 1970s, someone recorded a live concert of the band performing The Wall that became a huge seller and which likely sold tens of thousands of copies.  When the band reunited in 1987 to tour for their Momentary Lapse of Reason album, bootleggers had an album on store shelves within a week of the first concert of the tour.

Many bootleg Pink Floyd albums have been reissued multiple times, and releases as either picture discs or colored vinyl are quite common.  Some of these titles have become quite collectible themselves, particularly the titles on the Trademark of Quality label.  Others command little value, either because the sound quality on the records is poor or because the material on them has since been officially.

Pink Floyd Albums Conclusion

As one of the world’s best-selling artists, Pink Floyd commands a lot of attention from collectors, and some Pink Floyd albums rank among the world’s top collectibles, with some records selling for thousands of dollars.

Some Pink Floyd albums that you would think would be rather common sell for surprising amounts of money.  While The Dark Side of the Moon sold well from the day of release, finding a mint condition first pressing UK edition of the album that is complete is quite difficult to do some 40+ years later, and such an album can sell for more than $1000 at auction.

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