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Music

Nick Mason of Pink Floyd named his favourite song by The Who

Nick Mason of Pink Floyd can confidently stake his claim to a fair plot on the landscape of rock music as one of the most legendary drummers of his generation. Mason’s success with Pink Floyd came towards the end of the 1960s and bloomed into the 1970s as they buoyed to their place in history with the 1973 seminal album The Dark Side Of The Moon. Over the course of the 1970s, they solidified their place as one of, if not the most important prog-rock groups of all time. 

Pink Floyd began as a psychedelic rock outfit under the creative orchestration of Syd Barrett, but following his departure from the group, Roger Waters and David Gilmour took the reins. In the early 1980s, Roger Waters, who had been the key creative force over the late 1970s, decided to depart from the band to pursue a solo career. Waters had expected this to tacitly spell the end for the band, but Gilmour and Mason had wanted to continue together.

This ignited the beginning of a new era for Pink Floyd that would see keyboardist Richard Wright return as a full-time member of the group following his dismissal from the band in the late 1970s. This new era was highlighted by some fantastic music governed mainly by Gilmour, but also marked the beginning of a period of angered dispute between Waters and Gilmour over the group’s royalties. 

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Over Pink Floyd’s rollercoaster five-decade career, they reached the dizzying heights of rock stardom and the lows of their internal battles; all the while, Mason stood as the hub of the group’s wheel much like Ringo Starr had done for the Beatles. His position as drummer meant that he provided the supporting structure for the music, but it appears that he had a similar role outside the music as the long-standing mediator of the group through thick and thin. After all, he was the only member to feature on every Pink Floyd album.

As a drummer, Mason drew his inspiration from several legendary rock drummers of the 1960s and ‘70s. His style has been noted for its similarities to that of Ginger Baker and Gene Krupa, but it also seems that he had a great deal of respect for Keith Moon of The Who, both artistically and as an acquaintance. 

In 2020, Mason appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 2 for the feature entitled Tracks of My Years with Ken Bruce. His selections, unsurprisingly, were tethered closely to his domain of classic rock ‘n’ roll as he named tracks by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. For Mason’s penultimate selection, he picked out ‘My Generation’ by The Who as one of his all-time favourites and gave a nod to Keith Moon, his counterpart. 

Stating his favourite Who track, Mason said, “‘My Generation’, The Who were, again, a huge influence I think in me in particular. I mean, once you’ve met Keith Moon you sort of lived and I didn’t know him that well. But we spent some time together. We did some shows where we were supporting The Who. We did some radio show afterwards, and Keith on the radio was an extraordinary event in itself. It was like having the circus, but just in one man.” He later interjected about Moon, “while he was around, it was just brilliant.”