Pulse (stylised as p·u·l·s·e) is a live album by the English rock band Pink Floyd. It was released on 29 May 1995 by EMI in the United Kingdom and on 6 June 1995 by Columbia in the United States. The album was recorded during the European leg of Pink Floyd’s Division Bell Tour in 1994.
The album is notable for including a complete live version of The Dark Side of the Moon. It also features “Astronomy Domine”, a Syd Barrett song not performed since the early 1970s. The track “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” features small portions of the songs “Another Brick in the Wall, Part I”, “The Happiest Days of Our Lives” and “Another Brick in the Wall, Part III”. “Take It Back” was originally going to be on the album with the recording from 25 September 1994, Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne but was cut due to length.
Unlike the previous live album Delicate Sound of Thunder, no parts of the songs were re-recorded in the studio. However, the band and Guthrie fixed songs that had bad notes (as heard on some bootlegs) by lifting solos and corrected vocal lines from other performances as the band recorded most of the European leg. The album was mixed in QSound, which produces a 3D audio effect even on a two channel stereo system.
In the United States, despite a price of $34.99 (which included flashing spine light and two AA batteries) Pulse debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 during the week of 24 June 1995 with 198,000 copies sold, it became the first multidisk album to top the Billboard 200 since the chart started using SoundScan data in May 1991. The next week it fell off to number three on the chart. It remained on the chart for twenty two weeks. It was certified two times platinum by the RIAA on 31 July 1995 for shipments of one million units.
On 1 July 1995 the video version of Pulse debuted at number one on the Billboard’s Top Music Videos chart with 16,500 units sold. The video was certified eight times platinum by the RIAA on 31 July 2006 for shipments of 800,000 units.
The video version (on VHS and Laserdisc) also featured the song “Take It Back,” and an almost complete performance from their 20 October show at Earl’s Court, London. The Pulse DVD was released on 10 July 2006.
The vinyl version was released as a four-LP box set and included “One of These Days” (also heard on the cassette release) as well as a large version of the photo booklet.
The original CD cover features an “eye-like” machine that has clock pieces inside, there is a planet in its centre, and on the outside it shows evolution as it moves backwards. It starts in the sea, moves to the bacteria which evolve into fishes, then into egg type creatures, then into eggs that hatch birds, and birds follow the trail of an aeroplane. There are six pyramids in the desert, and in the bottom of the sea, one can observe a city in the shore.
The debut of the album was highlighted by a light show from the top of the Empire State Building in New York City with music simulcasted on a New York City radio station.
Early CD versions came with a flashing red LED on the side of the case. This was designed by EMI contractor Jon Kempner, who was awarded the platinum disc, using the now discontinued LM3909 LED flasher IC. The circuit was powered by a single AA battery; the battery life was stated to be over six months. Some versions were also made with two AA batteries and later editions of the CD set did not feature the blinking LED.
“Essentially, it’s a device which we thought was entertaining. It’s an idea of Storm Thorgerson’s which related to Dark Side and the pulse, and it’s a live album so the box is “alive”. After that, in terms of seriously deep meanings, one might be struggling a bit.”
— Nick Mason, (by wikipedia)
Pink Floyd claim they had no intention of recording another live album when they began the Division Bell tour, but performing Theley Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety convinced the group to release another double-live set, called Pulse. There’s no question that the group is comprised of talented musicians, including the number of studio professionals that augmented the trio on tour. Whether they’re inspired musicians is up to debate. A large part of Pink Floyd’s live show is based on the always impressive visuals; on the Division Bell tour, they closed each show with an unprecedented laser extravaganza. In order for the visuals and the music to coincide, the group needed to play the sets as tightly as possible, with little improvisation. Consequently, an audio version of this concert, separated from the visuals, is disappointing. Pink Floyd play the greatest hits and the new songs professionally, yet the versions differ only slightly from the original recordings, making Pulse a tepid experience. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
I was somewhat surprised to see that All Music gave this live album such a low rating. Two things on this double live album warrant a higher rating by themselves. Of course you have the usual excellent guitar/vocal work of David Gilmour playing live with the extended guitar solos on disc one as well as the keyboard playing of Richard Wright, once again a full member of the band, and the excellent drumming skills of Nick Mason. The other musicians and backing vocalists along with the excellent mix makes for a wonderful listening experience if you are a Pink Floyd fan. But for me, what sets this set apart is disc two.
On the second disc, you have the entire Dark Side Of The Moon, played live, track by track, in it’s entirety. And then the encore…Wish You Were Here which goes into Comfortably Numb. This version of Comfortably Numb, with it’s extended guitar solo at the end, is arguably considered one of the great guitar solos in rock history. The disc ends with a wonderful version of Run Like Hell. If you are a true fan of Pink Floyd, this live two disc set, which went to number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, proved once and for all, that Pink Floyd was more than just “Roger Waters”, just as they were more than just “Syd Barrett” and also proved more than ever that Richard Wright deserved to be back in this band. (by Michael Scott)
David Gilmour (vocals, guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals on CD 1 – 02., CD 2 – 04., 07. + 12, background vocals)
Sam Brown (vocals on CD 2 – 05., – background vocals)
Jon Carin (keyboards, vocals on CD 1 – 07., background vocals)
Claudia Fontaine (vocals on CD 2 – 05., background vocals)
Durga McBroom (vocals on CD 2 – 05., background vocals)
Dick Parry (saxophone)
Guy Pratt (bass, vocals on CD 2 – 13., background vocals)
Tim Renwick (guitar, background vocals)
Gary Wallis (percussion)
01. Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts I–V, VII (Gilmour/Waters/Wright) 13.35
02. Astronomy Domine (Barrett) 4.21
03. What Do You Want From Me (Gilmour/Wright/Samson) 5.09
04. Learning To Fly (Gilmour/Moore/Ezrin/Carin) 5.16
05. Keep Talking (Gilmour/Wright/Samson) 6.53
06. Coming Back To Life (Gilmour) 6.56
07. Hey You (Waters) 4.39
08. A Great Day For Freedom (Gilmour/Samson) 4.30
09. Sorrow (Gilmour) 10.49
10. High Hopes (Gilmour/Samson) 7.52
11. Another Brick In The Wall, Part II (Waters) 7.07
01. Speak To Me (Mason) 2.30
02. Breathe (In the Air) (Gilmour/Waters/Wright) 2.34
03. On The Run (Gilmour/Waters) 3.48
04. Time / Breathe (Reprise) (Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Mason) 6.47
05. The Great Gig In The Sky (Wright/Torry) 5.52
06. Money (Waters) 8.54
07. Us And Them (Waters/Wright) 6.58
08. Any Colour You Like (Gilmour/Wright/Mason) 3.21
09. Brain Damage (Waters) 3.46
10. Eclipse (Waters) 2.38
11. Wish You Were Here (Gilmour/Waters) 6.35
12. Comfortably Numb (Gilmour/Waters) 9.29
13. Run Like Hell (Gilmour/Waters) 8.37
14. One Of These Days (Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Mason) 6.31