They may have topped the UK singles charts just once during their lengthy spell as the godfathers of progressive Rock music, but Pink Floyd remain an iconic global force after half a century of commercial success from making albums and touring. This week saw the psychedelic band reach the notable landmark of 50 years since their debut single ‘Arnold Layne – a track that was banned by some radio stations at the time – with its B-side ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’ was released.

Controversial subject for single

Written by founder member and former lead singer Syd Barrett, the somewhat controversial song about a transvestite with a habit for stealing women’s clothes from washing lines peaked at number 20 in their homeland.

The band’s bass guitarist Roger Waters is believed to have hinted in the past that the lead character depicted in the track was loosely based on a real person, who took similar items from his and Syd’s mums own washing lines in their youth.

Banned by Radio London

Pirate station BBC Radio London reacted strongly by banning it from the airwaves, suggesting that its unusual theme was not to its listeners’ “normal” tastes. However, the seed had already been sown and a worldwide phenomenon was up and running.

Big-selling albums

Albums have been the bedrock of Floyd’s chart success since those early beginnings back in the early months of 1967, evidenced by their six UK number ones. Global album sales illustrate their popularity and none more so than their eighth album release and for many their tour de force – ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ – which sold 24.2 million certified copies.

With claimed sales pushing that figure as high as 45 million, that staggering figure makes it the third highest grossing album of all time behind only Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and AC/DC’s ‘Back to Black’.

Exhibition opens in May

The band will allow their devoted fans a glimpse into the complex world of Pink Floyd from May this year, when the exhibition entitled “Their Mortal Remains” opens for business at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the heart of London.

The international retrospective will provide a spectacular audio-visual journey, chronicling not only the music but also capturing the design and staging of the rock band from their 1960s origins through to the current day.