Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason Praises The Beatles In New Interview

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has praised The Beatles in a new interview with the BBC.

Appearing on BBC Radio 2 segment Tracks of My Years Mason recounted how in 1967 Pink Floyd occupied Abbey Road studios at the same time as The Fab Four.

Pink Floyd, still led by Syd Barrett at the time and the toast of London’s underground psychedelic scene, had come to the studios to record debut album Piper At The Gates of Dawn.

The Beatles, who had retired from touring the previous year to focus on their recordings, were hard at work producing their generation-defining opus Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

It was such a great moment for us,” Nick Mason shared. “We were recording our first album in Abbey Road – we were in studio three recording The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and down the corridor, The Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper’s.

After Pink Floyd producer Norman Smith, who had previously worked as an engineer for the Beatles’ earlier albums, called in a favor, Mason and company were invited to witness John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr at work.

“And there was an invitation to go and visit the gods on Mount Olympus, and they were recording ‘Lovely Rita’ at the time,” Mason continued, “so it’s a sort of reminder of a really, sort of pivotal moment because actually, without the Beatles, we probably wouldn’t have existed.”

Nick Mason then reflects on how the Beatles’ eighth album paved the way for record’s like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Sgt. Pepper’s was the album that absolutely changed the face of the record industry,” Mason contended, “Up until then it was all about singles. Sgt. Pepper’s was the first album that actually outsold singles, and that enabled bands like us to have more studio time and more freedom to do what we wanted.

Nick Mason’s former Pink Floyd bandmate Roger Waters also discussed the influence of the Beatles in a 2015 interview with radio station KLCS.

I learned from John Lennon and Paul McCartney and George Harrison,” he shared, “that it was okay for us to write about our lives, and what we felt — and to express ourselves… That we could be free artists and that there was a value in that freedom. And there was.

As did Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour in another 2015 interview with Mojo Magazine.

[The Beatles] taught me how to play guitar,” Gilmour enthused. “I learnt everything. The bass parts, the lead, the rhythm, everything. They were fantastic.”

Listen to Nick Mason’s full Radio 2 interview here.

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