Paul McCartney and The Beatles were already worldwide sensations when Pink Floyd formed. The two bands shared the spotlight in London in the late 1960s, but the members rarely crossed paths at the time. Floyd bassist Rogers Waters met John Lennon only once and called it a regrettable encounter. Still, one thread connected McCartney’s band Wings to Pink Floyd in the 1970s.
Paul McCartney called on Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour for several records
Working on Pink Floyd records kept guitarist David Gilmour plenty busy for much of the 1970s. Still, he and Paul had the first of several collaborations in 1979 when Gilmour played guitar on the Wings album Back to the Egg.
A few years later, Macca tapped Gilmour to play guitar on “No More Lonely Nights,” one of the only memorable moments on his disastrous 1984 soundtrack album Give My Regards to Broad Street. Floyd’s guitarist was also a main player or contributor on two more of Paul’s solo albums — 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt and 1999’s covers-heavy Run Devil Run.
It took years for an official pseudo Beatles-Pink Floyd collaboration to make it onto a record via Macca and Gilmour teaming up on the final Wings album. Still, a thread connected Paul and Pink Floyd several years before that.
Paul and Wings used the same art firm as Pink Floyd for several album covers
Pink Floyd made one of the great classic rock albums with The Dark Side of the Moon. The record’s jacket was just as memorable, but the band didn’t create it.
The design firm Hipgnosis made Dark Side’s pyramid-shaped prism and rainbow album cover. That was just one of several sleeves it designed for Pink Floyd (it did every cover from 1968’s Saucerful of Secrets to 1977’s Animals), but that band wasn’t Hipgnosis’ only client.
Paul tapped the design group to create the covers for several Wings albums, starting with 1973’s Band on the Run. That cover, more or less a photo of the band, was a pedestrian Hipgnosis effort. They stepped it up with 1975’s Venus and Mars. That cover featured mustard-yellow and ketchup-red orbs on a dark background, with the album’s title written in a unique font along the top and side. Hipgnosis also created the covers for Wings at the Speed of Sound, Wings Over America, London Town, and Back to the Egg.
The musical connection came after The Beatles broke up, but Paul relying on Hipgnosis for several Wings albums was a thread that connected him to Pink Floyd.
The Beatles and Floyd existed separately
Pink Floyd recorded their debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, at Abbey Road Studios at the same time The Beatles made Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s where Waters ran into John for the first and only time. Outside of that, the bands existed separately.
Paul and John attended at least one early Pink Floyd gig, according to Saucerful of Secrets author Nicholas Schaffner. However, the world doesn’t know if The Beatles’ dynamic duo mingled with Floyd.
Once the Fab Four called it quits, however, Floyd asked Paul to work on 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, though they didn’t use his contribution. Still, as the 1970s continued, a thread connected Paul McCartney’s second band, Wings, to Pink Floyd that had nothing to do with music.
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