Music/Popular Culture

Tournament of Rock – Legends: Pink Floyd vs. The Who

Our first semi-final was a tough, hard fought, back-and-forth affair. When the smoke cleared, The Stones had prevailed, and now advance to the Final. The numbers: #2 The Rolling Stones 54%; #5 Neil Young 46%.

In our second semi, the band that invented “Power Pop” (they’re probably more remembered for the “power” part) tees it up with the band that invented atmosphere. Cue: house lights down…

#2 Pink Floyd: Listen #3 The Who: Listen

Polls close Friday morning.

<br /> <a href=”” mce_href=””>Which band/artist deserves to advance in the Tournament of Rock: Legends?</a><span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”>(<a href=”” mce_href=””>polling</a>)</span><br />

The updated bracket looks like this:

Image credit: Bob Geldof and

30 replies »

  1. Great as these two bands were (even though both were excessive at times and produced some boring albums), I chose the Who. I thought they were a more high-energy, positive influence on listeners. Pink Floyd engendered too much use of Quaaludes and other downers.

  2. Pink Floyd engendered too much use of Quaaludes and other downers.

    lol I voted for Floyd because the dentist would drug me up for root canals and put The Wall thru the headphones 😀 worked for me

  3. I believe it is the same, however this is the BBC version. I was searching for VH1 Classic Album Who’s Next and I could only find bits and pieces for some reason. I don’t have Netflix so it wont work.

  4. Darrell wrote: “Although I listen to way more Who, I went with Floyd because I just hear so much of them in other bands.”

    Interesting comment, Darrell – and I won’t argue with it. I voted for The Who, I think, for much the same reason. I think Pink Floyd’s influence has not been good for rock – too much single chord droning and spacy, echo laden 3-4 chord melodrama with lyrics full of self-absorbed angst that I find alternately cringe inducing and annoying….If more players had tried to emulate The Who (more difficult though that is), rock might be a lot richer for it.

    fikshun is a player, and I know you are, too – and so am I. What I’d like to hear is WHY you all think PF has been so much more influential than The Who. I have my pet hypotheses, but I’d like to hear from you guys since you’re more sanguine about PF than I….

  5. Jim,

    I actually agree with everything you said, and as much as I hate voting against one of my favorite bands I had to based on influence good or bad.

    • If you look at my CD collection, it will become quickly apparent that both The Who and Floyd are important to me. For one thing, I have a LOT of power pop/guitar pop bands in the collection, bands that owe their very souls to The Who (and Beatles and Raspberries and Badfinger and Big Star). At the same time, I have a lot of shoegaze/dreampop stuff that trades in atmospherics and sonics, stuff that I can’t imagine existing without Floyd (and stuff that Dr. Smartypants does a real disservice to a couple comments upthread). So when I cast my vote, I damned sure wasn’t voting AGAINST anybody.

      I voted for Floyd for a reason, though. Both are massively important as bands in their own right and both are massively important as influencers. Both were, to come back around to Darrell’s main criterion, “game-changers.” But influence ebbs and flows. A band may lie relatively unnoticed for years and then, all of a sudden, along comes a new wave of young artists who appear to have listened to nothing else but that one band (right now that band seems to be Joy Division).

      The world is currently full of great bands influenced by both The Who and PF. But, for my money, the “noise rock” side of the street is more vital right now. The Who hasn’t stopped mattering, and hopefully they never will, but Floyd has mattered more and more and more as the years have passed. Their influence is still growing and cresting in ways that I think surpass any of our “classic rock” ancestor bands – and that includes The Beatles. Floyd is more important today than they may ever have been, but I’m not sure The Who or Les Fabs are more important today than they were in 1975. And The Stones, well, they seem to have gone in the other direction since, oh, say, SOME GIRLS. Or earlier, even.

      I see two incredible, important bands without a lot to pick between. The differentiator, in my view, is that still-growing influence on the more vital contemporary artists. But maybe we run this contest again in ten years and that’s all changed – hard to know….

  6. What Jim said. And while it may be that PF and even The Who may have more influence at times than The Beatles on music, neither would have occured in the way they did without them. And neither changed the world. And–I don’t want to speak for Jim here, but he may agree, I think–the fact that PF is more and more influential these days is not necessarily a good thing for music. And heaven knows I like PF (although not as much as The Who). I guess my tolerance level for that sort of thing is lower now, whereas I know I will be listening to power trios until the day I die.

  7. Ah yes, the “change the world” criterion. I’ve been baffled at how that doesn’t seem to matter (see Dylan and Beatles brackets for more). If it DID matter the way it should, the final two would be The Beatles and either Dylan or U2. And if you don’t understand the “U2” part of that equation, it’s possible you missed out on the impact of the greatest political band in history.

  8. Well i’m stuck. I like both…but as i’ve said when Floyd’s come up before i’m not a fan of what they did after roughly 1973. I’m the opposite of Brian here. Listening to Roger Waters bitch about how terrible it is to be a rock star just makes me want to start kicking puppies.

    Give me The Nile Song, Green is the Colour, Free Four, Wots…Uh The Deal and that sort of Floyd and i think they compete with The Who.

    The memories of a man in his old age
    Are the deeds of a man in his prime.
    You shuffle in gloom of the sickroom
    And talk to yourself as you die.

    Life is a short, warm moment
    And death is a long cold rest.
    You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
    Eighty years, with luck, or even less.

    • Listening to Roger Waters bitch about how terrible it is to be a rock star just makes me want to start kicking puppies.

      Please, Lex, tell me that’s not all you think The Wall is. There’s so much more than that. It puts much of the British experience during and after WWII to music. It’s social criticism. It’s satire. It follows a man’s descent into madness and illustrates how celebrity could be perverted into creating fascism.

      As genius as it is, however, it’s not my favorite PF album. It takes too much out of me emotionally.

  9. Tina wrote:

    I voted for Floyd because the dentist would drug me up for root canals and put The Wall thru the headphones

    Quite a tribute: Music to endure root canals by.

  10. Oh, and then there’s Live at Leeds. In my estimation, that capture of straight ahead, hammer down rock the snot outta ya has only been topped once. I rank “Live in Flint” from Clutch higher…not because of improved live recording technology but because the musicianship is every bit as good, but Clutch is tighter and gimmick free. And the lyrics are far better composed.

    This at the end of the third full set sets the bar pretty god-damned high. (

  11. Lex wrote:

    Listening to Roger Waters bitch about how terrible it is to be a rock star just makes me want to start kicking puppies.

    They excelled, though, when they ventured far afield — to foreign affairs, to be exact. The Final Cut, about the British invasion of the Falkland Islands, is easily my favorite album of theirs. (Though Piper at the. . . is a close second.)

  12. No, Brian, that’s not all i think…though i do find Roger’s whining about how hard it is to be Roger annoying after a while. I haven’t actually listened to The Wall in a long time; call it burnout. Years ago, myself and a few friends were trapped working in a kitchen that didn’t allow a radio. We passed the time by collaboratively reciting The Wall.

    If you haven’t listened to The Final Cut much, give it a try. It has the same meat as The Wall but said better.

    • As someone who has come to hate some music that I once loved due to listening to it too much, I completely understand. I’ll check out The Final Cut, though.

      One of my favorite PF albums is Wish You Were Here, especially “Have a cigar.” Too much fun.

  13. Russs: Quite a tribute: Music to endure root canals by.

    The other choice was country, and I was terrified he would put in Rhinestone Cowboy.

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