A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

Where did Pink Floyd get its name?

April 7, 2000

Dear Straight Dope:

My husband tells me that the group Pink Floyd got its name from the peculiar habit of a species of whale (but he's not sure which one that might be). According to hubby, after mating, the male whale surfaces--with still erect and, apparently quite pink, penis--pointing skyward. A phenom that scientists have named a "pink floyd."   I said, gedouddahere! What's the scoop on this?

Wow! I'd be flummoxed too if my spouse started talking about erect whale penises. You guys must have some really interesting discussions. But I don't want to go there.

The real answer is so short and simple that it's no wonder strange (and incorrect) explanations have grown around it--for a group like Floyd, you'd expect something a little more bizarre. Pink Floyd has nothing to do with whale penises. The name given by Syd Barrett to his new group was taken from two obscure names out of his own record collection, both Georgia blues players. The first was Pink Anderson; the second was Floyd "Dipper Boy" Council.

Sorry it's not quite as, um, exciting as your husband's answer. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction, but not this time.

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