What’s the name Pink Floyd mean? Ever wonder where it came from? How did those two words come together? What if I told you the origin of the name Pink Floyd is buried in the blues…
It was early 1965, when a group of Cambridge art students needed a new name for their band. Front-man Syd Barrett was checking out the inside of a Blind Boy Fuller record in his collection when he came across the names “Pink Anderson” and “Floyd Council.” He combined the two and the rest is rock n roll history.
The Pink that inspired Pink Floyd was a man born Pinkney Anderson in 1900 in South Carolina. We don’t know that much about him, but we do know he was a finger-picker and a medicine show huckster.
Medicine shows are crucial in the history of the blues. Popular at the turn of the century, they were made up of traveling horse and wagon teams that peddled “miracle cures” between variety show acts. Many of the best early blues performers cut their teeth on the medicine show circuit. Pink Anderson was one of ‘em.
Pink didn’t record much before his rediscovery in the 1950’s, but he left a legacy during the folk-blues revival. And of course, he lent his name to those psychedelic Brits. Here’s one of those rare early Pink tracks. Pink Anderson, “C.C. & O Blues.”
Piedmont blues musician Pink Anderson was born February 12, 1900 in Laurens, South Carolina. At 14 he became a medicine-show huckster, entertaining crowds while salesmen hocked snake-oils and other medicinal concoctions. He was first recorded in 1950 at a Virginia state fair. Anderson was “rediscovered,” recorded an album in the ‘60s, and appeared in the 1963 film The Bluesmen. After suffering a stroke, his activities were limited, and he couldn’t really tour. He passed away in 1974.
Floyd Council, the “Floyd” to Anderson’s “Pink” was born February 9, 1911 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was a guitarist, mandolin player and singer, best known for his association with Piedmont-blues titan Blind Boy Fuller. Fuller and Council busked the streets of Chapel Hill together in the ‘20s and 30’s. It was in the liner notes of a Blind Boy Fuller album that young Syd Barrett came across discussion of two Piedmont blues players, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, combining their names to make history. The text, written by Paul Oliver, said: “Curley Weaver and Fred McMullen, (…) Pink Anderson or Floyd Council – these were a few amongst the many blues singers that were to be heard in the rolling hills of the Piedmont, or meandering with the streams through the wooded valleys.” Looking at it that way, in a parallel universe Pink Floyd might have been Curley Fred.
There are hardly any records out there that showcase Council’s work. He said in a ’69 interview that he recorded 27 songs over the course of his career, seven of which had him backing Blind Boy Fuller. Like Anderson, Council suffered a stroke in the 60’s which severely hampered his playing skills, which he tragically never regained. Though he maintained a sharp mind, folklorists who attempted to record him were unable to do much but talk. He passed away in 1976.