Dadrockers of the world, rejoice – the legendary Pink Floyd have returned for the first time after nearly three decades away. The rousing anti-war plea Hey Hey, Rise Up! marks the British band’s first new music since 1994’s “The Division Bell”, and while it’s been touted as an unprecedented one-off in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s still sent music fans scurrying down the white rabbit hole of the band’s 55-year history.
The comeback was notably recorded by guitarist David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, with guests appearances from eclectic British musician/producer Nitin Sawhney and Ukrainian vocalist Andriy Khlyvnyuk. Founding member Roger Waters – who left the fold acrimoniously in 1985 – was notably absent, with long-standing session stand-in Guy Pratt on bass duties.
Khlyvnyuk left his band Boombox’s American tour to join the army and fight for his country, before being injured. Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, felt moved by Khlyvnyuk’s story and picked up his guitar once again with his band.
Pink Floyd has a history of recording epic anti-war music on albums “The Wall” and “The Final Cut” (both primarily penned by Waters), and songs Us And Them and The Dogs Of War.
Founded in London in 1965, the band has sold some 250 million albums worldwide. Among them, “Dark Side Of The Moon” and “The Wall” were listed first and eighth in the top 10 best selling albums of the 1970s, with 50 million and 33 million copies, respectively, according to BestSellingAlbums.
The band’s collective net worth is nearly US$800 million, and while many classic rock groups at this point in their careers have a chequered list of former members, Pink Floyd have only ever had five official members: the original guitarist Syd Barrett and late keyboardist Richard Wright, Mason, plus arch enemies Gilmour and Waters. So, according to the number crunches at Celebrity Net Worth, who came out on top when it came to cash flow?
5. Syd Barrett – US$5 million
Despite his short spell with Pink Floyd from 1965 to 1968, Syd Barrett has never been forgotten as the band’s co-founder, frontman and principal songwriter in their early years. He appeared on four seminal singles and the group’s first two first studio albums, with his approach defining breakout debut Piper at the Gates of Dawn’s psychedelic style. After leaving the band, he was replaced by Gilmour, and released two solo albums before retiring from music in 1972.
Suffering from well-known personal problems, he then dedicated his time to what he learned at Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology – painting, as well as gardening. Any wealth he accrued in his lifetime is unlikely to include the value of his artworks, as he destroyed most of them, per Rare. Several of the remaining paintings were sold after his death in 2006, fetching US$158,000 to fund an art training programme in his hometown of Cambridge, according to The Independent, and his contributing to his estate’s estimated value of US$5 million.
4. Richard Wright – US$70 million
The co-founder brought a distinctive sound to the band with his richly textured keyboard performances. Richard Wright occasionally provided lead vocals and penned significant parts of classic albums like “Dark Side Of The Moon”, “Wish You Were Here” and “The Division Bell”. Outside Pink Floyd, he recorded two solo studio albums and worked with Barrett on his final studio album, and with Gilmour on some of his solo records and live albums.
Profits from these and royalty streams with the band over the decades brought him in a net worth of US$70 million. After Wright passed away due to cancer in 2008, he left everything to his three children but nothing to his three former wives, according to Rock Celebrities.
3. Nick Mason – US$180 million
If that figure seems high, know that drummer Nick Mason is the only member to appear on every Pink Floyd album, and he also contributed to writing some of their most popular songs Echoes and Time.
In 1981, he released a single solo album, “Fictitious Sports”. The 78-year-old has continued to join both Waters and Gilmour on stage on occasions. In 2018, he formed a new band, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets alongside Pratt – named after the band’s second album – to perform Pink Floyd’s early psychedelic music. He also has his own label, Nick Mason Music, and holds stakes in several other businesses, like music licensing marketplace Lickd and Football Ventures.
With an estimated wealth of US$180 million, Mason easily pampers his passion for motorsports, and even participates in some races. In fact, looking at his collection might leave you “comfortably numb”, with some 40 motors from brands like Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Porsche, Bentley and Jaguar, per Hot Cars. One of his most-prized cars is the iconic 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of the world’s most expensive cars. He reportedly turned down a US$30 million offer for it! Because that’s the kind of rock star he is.
2. David Gilmour – US$180 million
The only non-founding member, David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd back in 1967 as the lead guitarist, taking over lead vocal duties after Barrett left, and assuming the role as de facto leader after Waters’ departure. The 76-year-old built a career with Pink Floyd as well as a successful solo one, with all four solo studio albums charting well, all helping him amass the same fortune as Mason’s.
But Gilmour doesn’t keep it all for himself. Over the years, he has took part in many charities addressing climate change, homelessness, human rights and other good causes. In 2019, he auctioned 126 of his guitars for US$21 million at a charity auction in New York to fight against climate change. His “Black Strat”, a 1969 Fender Stratocaster which he used to record “Dark Side Of The Moon”, “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall”, sold for nearly US$4 million, a new world record for a guitar at an auction.
1. Roger Waters – US$310 million
The band’s co-founder and bassist, Roger Waters switched up to become the main lyricist and co-lead singer after Barrett’s departure, growing into the visionary songwriter behind their proggier moments such at “The Wall” and writing the follow-up “The Final Cut” in its entirety.
Since leaving the band in 1985, he has released four solo albums, solidifying his own niche as a music icon. Moreover, the 78-year-old has almost doubled his wealth to US$310 million, compared to other Floyds, due to his mammoth touring schedule dining out on former glory. Among them, his The Wall Live Tour 2010-2013 grossed US$460 million across 220 performances, with 4.1 million tickets sold, becoming one of the top 10 grossing concert tours of all time.
Additionally, Waters also made bank from a smart collaboration with pop star Shakira, although it isn’t for a music joint. They invested US$16 million to buy a 700-acre Bahamian island with five beaches and three bays, to offer a retreat for artists, per Cheat Sheet.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.