Nick Mason is one of the most legendary drummers of the last six decades. An integral and original cog in the futuristic Pink Floyd machine, it may come as a shock to some to find out that he was the guiding mind behind some of the most memorable pieces in their vast back catalogue, such as ‘Echoes’, ‘Time’ and ‘One of These Days’.
A brilliantly accomplished drummer who was the ballast for all of their dynamic rhythms, Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd who can boast of being there at the band’s inception in 1965 and also to have been the only man to have played on all of their records.
Like with a lot of drummers, his work in the pioneering Pink Floyd is often overlooked. This is understandable as peers David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Richard Wright’s virtuosity is the immediate ear-catching element for the laymen amongst Pink Floyd fans. Furthermore, in the rich tapestry of Pink Floyd’s career, another critical topic of conversation has been concerned with ex-frontman and founder Syd Barrett’s mental health struggles and departure. This has also gone some way in Mason’s work going slightly under the radar.
However, even to the most diehard of Pink Floyd fans, Mason’s integral element cannot be stated enough. The son of the documentary maker and amateur racing car driver, Bill Mason, the Floyd’s human metronome is, of course, a colourful character in his own right. Just like his father, Nick Mason is a self-confessed “petrolhead”, and was even gifted an Aston Martin as a teenager by his father. The younger Mason has competed in the esteemed 24 Hours of Le Mans race and even owns a stake in Bolton Wanderers football club.
With Pink Floyd and all of its member’s being such a dense creative force, it makes one wonder what music made them tick. It may come as no surprise that in a 2020 interview with the NME, Mason revealed that Pink Floyd were influenced to rock music in its most rudimentary construct. It was the ’60s, after all, and the concepts of genres such as rap and death metal were still lightyears away. Due to the juncture that humanity was at during those halcyon, simpler days, in the ’50s and ’60s, popular music was merely a sidenote in comparison to the flood of discourse it is today.
During the childhoods of Mason and Co., the cultural phenomenon of the day was the burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll. The likes of Bill Haley, Elvis and Little Richard left an indelible mark on the brains of the generation who would become our “classic” rock gods. Even though the aforementioned stars were profoundly inspirational, and their game-changing impact cannot be understated, Nick Mason revealed that he thought another character was, in fact, the greatest of all time, owing to their skill and individuality.
Any guesses of who? To anyone well versed in Pink Floyd, you would not be blamed for thinking it the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix or even Hank Marvin, given the love that the Floyd members have shown them in the press over the years. However, the man who receives the special honour of earning Mason’s respect as the greatest songwriter of all time is everyone’s favourite troubadour, Bob Dylan.
Mason revealed that he wishes he’d written Dylan’s 1963 classic ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, and that the man hailed as “The Voice of a Generation”, was deservedly dubbed so. Mason proclaimed about Dylan: “The greatest songwriter of all time. It was so radically different from everyone else.”
There we have it, Nick Mason’s favourite songwriter of all time. It may come as no surprise given the thought that went into Pink Floyd songs, which is matched by the cerebral genius of Bob Dylan.
Listen to ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’, below.