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Pink Floyd Flags

Flags used by Musicians

Last modified: 2015-05-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: music | pink floyd | the wall |
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[Pink Foyld Hammerskin flag] image by Pete Loeser, 16 January 2015

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Introduction: The Pink Floyd

      The Pink Floyd was an English rock band formed in 1965 by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright, with David Gilmour joining as a fifth member in 1967. After this, various band members would come and go, and some would return, but the band played on. They first became popular in London's underground music scene during the 1960s, eventually releasing two charting singles and a successful debut album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" in 1967, and finally gaining international acclaim.
      Because of their use of philosophical lyrics and elaborate live shows, they became one of the most commercially successful and musically influential popular music groups of 1970s, 1980s and into the 1990s. Their music was described by Rolling Stone magazine as follows: "By 1967, they had developed an unmistakably psychedelic sound, performing long, loud suite-like compositions that touched on hard rock, blues, country, folk, and electronic music". By the late 1960s, the press had begun to label their music progressive rock or even acid rock or art rock." The most popular albums of the group were the "Dark Side of the Moon" (1973), "Wish You Were Here" (1975), "Animals" (1977), "The Wall" (1979) and "The Final Cut" (1983), all of which supported successful concert tours. In 1982, a Pink Floyd inspired film called "The Wall" was released, "...a live-action/animated musical film directed by Alan Parker based on the 1979 Pink Floyd album of the same name. It was about a confined rocker who's driven into insanity and constructs a wall to be protected from the world around him. The screenplay was written by Pink Floyd vocalist and bassist Roger Waters. The film is highly metaphorical and is rich in symbolic imagery and sound. It features very little dialogue and is mainly driven by the music of Pink Floyd." (Source: Wikipedia)
      The film takes place against a backdrop of war and government corruption, understandable because of the extreme industrial strife and stagflation that Britain went through the 1970s, the global economic downturns of the 1980s, and the political problems faced with the struggle of Ireland and its wave of violence. These were dark times indeed, especially after the relative prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s. The Wall is considered a rock masterpiece by some, despised as extremists by others.
      Pink Floyd was inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. By 2013, the band had sold more than 250 million records worldwide.
Pete Loeser and Esteban Rivera , 23 January 2015

Pink Floyd Concert and Film Flags

Images by Pete Loeser and Clay Moss, 23 January 2015

     In the film "Pink Floyd; The Wall", there is a quasi-Nazi flag displayed that has been adopted by several Neo-Nazi groups in the USA. The flag has a pair of claw hammers with handles forming an X, and the head of the hammers facing the left, superimposed against a red ring. The ring background had two bars, white on the top and red on the bottom. [This flag is shown at top of of this page] Use of this flag has inspired an extremist movement known as Hammerskins. Ironically, the film was meant as an attack ON fascism! Go figure!
Steven F. Scharff, 10 February 2001

[flag from Image from Alan Jenney, taken from a commercial site.

     The only graphic I have seen of this flag is from some original album artwork. The hammers are shown as almost photographic, the flag is shown as a 1:1 scale, pretty much as described in the posting, but half grey and half red. This grey colour may just be to give it a slightly older or oppressive look.
The (light-duty) claw hammers have red painted handles with a black rubber grip covering the lower half. There is a black band on the top of the handle where it joins the hammer head.
     In the promotional video to the single ""Another Brick in the Wall", in the film "The Wall" and at concerts, these crossed hammers are shown in animation like the marching legs of soldiers in a parade. "The Wall", these hammers and anti-facist sentiment played a large part in Pink Floyd´'s works.
I have seen the toothed wheel mentioned as part of this image at some other time, presumably to give it a "hammer and sickle" look, but not in connection with The Floyd.
Alan Jenney, 1 July 2002

Pink Floyd Vertical Concert Banners
Real or just clever illusions?

Image by Clay Moss, 23 January 2015

     In both the concerts and the Pink Floyd movie, the sets give an impression that a row of Nazi-like large red banners, showing crossed hammer shields, hang from the wall. On close inspection, however, it seems to me that they might not actually be banners, but projections on black screens on the wall itself. Perhaps these large vertical banners don't exist in cloth?
Pete Loeser, 23 January 2015

Well, there are quite a few images showing such a flag in the style of the hammer guard animation, so either they appeared in it then, or it has since been created in supporting (fan) art. Also, are you talking about the Pink Floyd concerts or about the recent Roger Waters tour?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 24 January 2015

I was talking about the old Pink Floyd concerts and not about the more recent Roger Waters° tour. But looking at the newer videos, the apparent banners hanging over the wall still seem like they are projected images, rather than real banners. I believe they were clever staging and not real flags.
Pete Loeser, 24 January 2015

To me, the top of these banners looks like they might be put over the wall, with the other end at the invisible side, so they might be some kind of banners, or pulldowns - not necessarily made of cloth, though. Of course, I cannot completely exclude the possibility that it is just an optical illusion, produced by the artifacts within the big red disc in the background - there are many of those, clearly visible, in other parts of the disc.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 January 2015

OK. Then, as far as I can tell, the Pink Floyd tour has the red disks with the grey border, while the Roger Waters tour has the border-less white over red disks. So, Clay's image is indeed of the flags that don't hang from the wall in the Pink Floyd tours. If you take a close look, you'll see that the pattern of the real blocks continues through the projected flags. It's the same thing for both tours.

Images from David Wagner Concert, Buenos Aires, March 10, 2012

Of course, this raises the question: What about the banners at the Bercy RW tour?

Images from David Wagner Concert, Bercy, Paris, May 30 2011, and the The Pink Floyd Concerts, 1980s and 2010.

I've found them, in the cloth, at YouTube. These would be the RW version, rather than the one Clay pictured, but maybe that's what the physical flags looked like all along. Apart from as a clip, this footage might have been used in the tours, or it might be from the film (only).
My point, however, was that in fan-art these black flags appear in depictions of the hammer guard animation. Why? Is this the equivalent of folkification, or did the hammer guard animation in either tour really have such flags?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 6 May 2015