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From Miles Davis to Bob Dylan: Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason’s 5 favourite albums

Nick Mason, the co-founder and drummer of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, revealed the top five albums of his choice during an interview with the Classic Albums Sundays, back in 2018. Mason, who himself is a source of inspiration to many artists, including his contemporaries, was also a deft writer. Memorable Floyd tracks such as ‘Time’, ‘One of these Days’, ‘Echoes’ and ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’ were co-written by Mason.

Growing up in a cultural household, films and music were part and parcel of his everyday life. Performing arts was his natural calling and hence as soon as he entered the University, he formed a band called Stigma 6, an antecedent of Pink Floyd, with Richard Wright, Bob Klose and Roger Waters in 1964.

Although Mason sincerely stood by Pink Floyd until the very end, he never took themselves too seriously. During an interview with the Telegraph, he said: “I still don’t quite understand how we got to that point of such free experimentation. We thought of ourselves as an R’n’B band, playing hits. It was just a bit of fun. We were floundering around. And we wanted to be a pop group.”

The strong influence of R&B, Jazz and Big Bands can be noticed in Mason’s music and his choice of instruments. He used single and double-headed acoustic drums, rototoms, tuned percussion and electronic drums. It is only natural, then, that an album by the American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis would make it to Mason’s top five list. The album in question here is Jack Johnson, which according to Mason is “Probably the greatest groove album of all time…” featuring quite a few super talented musicians.

Mason’s list contains a couple more albums belonging to the jazz genre. The 1959 vinyl, The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall is one of them, the other one being Halcyon Days by Bruce Hornsby. Mason confessed the influence of these two master pianists on him, declaring Thelonious Monk’s piano playing “a lesson in timing and percussion, as well as the music.”

Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan give a variety of genre in the list. Dylan’s album contained eleven brilliantly written songs by Dylan including ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘a Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’. I think we’ll all agree with Mason when he says that Dylan is “still the greatest songwriter in the rock music history.” On the other hand, Hendrix’s psychedelic and pop-rock album is close to Mason as it featured his favourite drummer Mitch Mitchell.

See the full list below.

Nick Mason’s 5 favourite albums of all time:

  • Bob Dylan- The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
  • Jimi Hendrix- Axis: Bold As Love
  • Thelonious Monk- The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall
  • Miles Davis – Jack Johnson
  • Bruce Hornby and The Rage– Halcyon Days