What’s In A Name: Pink Floyd

A series exploring how our favorite bands got their name.

It was around 1964 when three architecture students named Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright first teamed up to start a band. But they couldn’t settle on a name to save their lives.

Performing under various monikers—including but not limited to Sigma 6, the Megadeaths, Leonard’s Lodgers, Spectrum 5, the Abdabs and the Screaming Abdabs—the trio would eventually land on being called The Tea Set. The aspiring rhythm and blues musicians attained some moderate fame around London, but they’d soon find that their sets were falling a little short without having to repeat themselves.

At the same time, a young art student by the name of Syd Barrett joined the group. In order to lengthen the few songs they had, Barrett suggested extending solos and adapting the timing to evoke free jazz or the blues. The idea was a fantastic one, adding more weight to their name within the underground scene of the time.

Yet, much to our great fortune, the Tea Set name came to an early demise in 1965 when the band arrived at a gig to find that they were not in fact the only “Tea Set” present. It put the group at a fork in the road: be the better Tea Set, or avoid the confusion altogether by renaming the band right then and there.

Barrett, a disciple of the blues guitar and a collector of blues music was quick to improvise a name out of two Piedmont records in his collection: one by Pink Anderson (short for his given name Pinkney) and the other by Floyd Council. And thus, the group from London was named after two American musicians from the ’30s and referred to as Pink Floyd forevermore.