Pink sunRise-Sunset in August 1967

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd, British rock band at the forefront of 1960s psychedelia who later popularized the concept album for mass rock audiences in the 1970s. The principal members were lead guitarist Syd Barrett (original name Roger Keith Barrett; b. January 6, 1946, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England—d. July 7, 2006, Cambridge), bassist Roger Waters (b. September 6, 1943, Great Bookham, Surrey), drummer Nick Mason (b. January 27, 1945, Birmingham, West Midlands), keyboard player Rick Wright (in full Richard Wright; b. July 28, 1945, London—d. September 15, 2008, London), and guitarist David Gilmour (b. March 6, 1944, Cambridge).

Formed in 1965, the band went through several name changes before combining the first names of a pair of Carolina bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Their initial direction came from vocalist-guitarist-songwriter Barrett, whose mixture of bluesmusic hall styles, Lewis Carroll references, and dissonant psychedelia established the band as a cornerstone of the British underground scene. They signed with EMI and early in 1967 had their first British hit with the controversial “Arnold Layne,” a song about a transvestite. This was followed by their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, a lush, experimental record that has since become a rock classic. Their sound was becoming increasingly adventurous, incorporating sound effects, spacy guitar and keyboards, and extended improvisation such as “Interstellar Overdrive.”

By 1968 Barrett, who had overused LSD and was struggling with schizophrenia, was replaced by guitarist Gilmour. Without Barrett’s striking lyrics, the band moved away from the singles market to concentrate on live work, continuing its innovations in sound and lighting but with varying degrees of success. After recording a series of motion-picture soundtrack albums, they entered the American charts with Atom Heart Mother (1970) and Meddle (1971). Making records that were song-based but thematic in approach and that included long instrumental passages, the band did much to popularize the concept album. They hit the commercial jackpot with Dark Side of the Moon (1973). A bleak treatise on death and emotional breakdown underlined by Waters’s dark songwriting, it sent Pink Floyd soaring into the megastar bracket and remained in the American pop charts for more than a decade. The follow-up, Wish You Were Here (1975), included “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” a song for Barrett, and, though it went to number one in both the United States and Britain, it was considered anticlimactic and pompous by many critics.

By the release of Animals (1977), it was clear that Waters had become the band’s dominant influence, and there was increasing internal conflict within Pink Floyd. Their sense of alienation (from both one another and contemporary society) was profoundly illustrated by the tour for 1979’s best-selling album The Wall, for which a real brick wall was built between the group and the audience during performance. After the appropriately named The Final Cut (1983), Pink Floyd became inactive, and legal wrangles ensued over ownership of the band’s name. Waters, who dismissed Wright after The Wall and took over most of the songwriting, was even more firmly in control. As a result the band split, but, much to Waters’s chagrin, Gilmour, Mason, and Wright reunited, continuing as Pink Floyd. In the late 1980s Wright, Gilmour, and Mason released two albums, including the ponderous A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), while Waters pursued a solo career. Waters reunited with his former bandmates for a single performance at the Live 8 benefit concert in 2005. Gilmour and Mason later used recordings made with Wright (who died in 2008) to create what they said was the final Pink Floyd album, The Endless River (2014). Pink Floyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pink-Floyd#ref996426

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

The title of Pink Floyd’s debut album is taken from a chapter in Syd Barrett‘s favorite children’s book, The Wind in the Willows, and the lyrical imagery of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is indeed full of colorful, childlike, distinctly British whimsy, albeit filtered through the perceptive lens of LSD. Barrett‘s catchy, melodic acid pop songs are balanced with longer, more experimental pieces showcasing the group’s instrumental freak-outs, often using themes of space travel as metaphors for hallucinogenic experiences — «Astronomy Domine» is a poppier number in this vein, but tracks like «Interstellar Overdrive» are some of the earliest forays into what has been tagged space rock. But even though Barrett‘s lyrics and melodies are mostly playful and humorous, the band’s music doesn’t always bear out those sentiments — in addition to Rick Wright‘s eerie organ work, dissonance, chromaticism, weird noises, and vocal sound effects are all employed at various instances, giving the impression of chaos and confusion lurking beneath the bright surface. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn successfully captures both sides of psychedelic experimentation — the pleasures of expanding one’s mind and perception, and an underlying threat of mental disorder and even lunacy; this duality makes Piper all the more compelling in light of Barrett‘s subsequent breakdown, and ranks it as one of the best psychedelic albums of all time.

Source: https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-piper-at-the-gates-of-dawn-mw0000191309#:~:text=The%20Piper%20at%20the%20Gates%20of%20Dawn%20successfully%20captures%20both,subsequent%20breakdown%2C%20and%20ranks%20it

Why Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd still remains captivating: ‘The Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ review

Pink Floyd is typically thought as the transatlantic progressive rock powerhouse of the mid 70s – run on Roger Waters’ political commentary and David Gilmour’s sincerity. However, Floyd purists would probably have a fondness for the band’s original incarnation: Syd Barrett being principal songwriter, Richard Wright second in command, and Roger Waters just a bassist and multi-instrumentalist. 

When making their debut, Pink Floyd were students of psychedelic rock. They created a name for themselves in the underground scene with their entrancing live shows at the UFO club in London, and breaking through to the mainstream with terrific singles like ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play’. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn proves to be the definitive statement of a band who were unknowingly reaching the end of a short chapter in their storied career. 

‘Astronomy Domine’ is a stunning opener. This track is one which typical Pink Floyd fans would find the most digestible given its space-rock atmosphere. Barrett’s poetry is exceptional, with lines like “the sound resounds/Around the icy waters underground” providing the lyrics with fluid grace. The band does a superb job in selling the song with the last leg being particularly impressive –  the harmonizing vocals accompanied by the increasingly intense instrumental work helps the song swell into a fulfilling conclusion, leaving the track worthy of its astral chant title. 

‘Lucifer Sam’, however, is a hilarious change of pace. This is the start of many instances where Barrett displays his whimsy and in this case, he releases his inner Ray Davies (of The Kinks fame). A Batman-esc riff propels Barrett’s musing over his “siam cat” and its poppiness makes this a standout. 

‘Flaming’ is gorgeously ethereal. Its lyrics can be read as a child’s inner monologue whilst playing hide and seek or a description of an idyllic drug trip. Verses such as “lazing in the foggy dew/Sitting on a unicorn” with refrains like “yippee! You can’t see me/But I can you” create a divergence in interpretation. Waters’ usage of the slide whistle and wind-up toys helps to cultivate a celestial and delicate air. 

The hypnotic track in ‘Chapter 24’ was inspired by the 24th chapter of I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination manual and book of wisdom. Here Barrett seeks to interpret its meaning and the song’s structure is perhaps the most accessible on the whole project. The song unfolds gracefully in its tranquil beauty.

However, the listener gets transported back into Barrett’s whimsical mind with ‘The Gnome’. Norman Smith’s production does well in portraying the intimacy of the song, with the acoustic guitar and vocals foregrounded only giving way to Wright’s celesta at the chorus. You can really get a sense of Barrett playing the role of storyteller, as if around a campfire, to a small group of obedient children. 

‘Bike’ is an eerie closer. Barrett’s poetic meter is expertly off-kilter and the instrumental is slightly clownish in an aesthetic which, tied together with a forthright song structure, provides this song with a perverse innocence. 

Nonetheless, the album does falter in the middle. The instrumental ‘Pow R. Toc H.’ is not terrible in isolation or following the greatness of the first four tracks. However, its close proximity to the disappointing recording of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ renders it forgettable.

Speaking of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’, the live staple for Pink Floyd up to this point does not deliver in the studio. Its beginning and end are pleasant but the six-minute stretch in between sounds more like mindless noodling. You would have to be very under the influence to develop some appreciation for this composition. It would take several listens for an established Floyd fan to accept that Waters did, in fact, write ‘Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk’. It is definitely a song that very few would entertain more than once. 

Nevertheless, Pipers definitely makes it into Pink Floyd’s top five albums – top three depending on my mood. It is exemplary of Syd Barrett’s supreme talent as a songwriter and lyricist. Pink Floyd would never be as funny, innocent or poetic as this ever again. Barrett proves to be one of the high profile casualties of 1960s excesses, and it is with good reason that his work left an impression on seminal artists like David Bowie. It is no accident that it took several years for the band to find their feet after Syd’s departure

Pink Floyd were never known for their hooks and choruses so this project generally would be an intriguing listen for the common Floyd fan. Pipers does have shades of their musical trademarks (such as extensive instrumental bridges and an atmospheric sound) but all in the constraints of 60s psychedelic rock. It’s as much an LP as it is a legitimate historical document of British psychedelia – it contains all of its brilliance, madness and ugliness. It’s Pink Floyd at their most British and it’s a project that no real fan should miss out on. 

Source: https://theboar.org/2020/08/pink-floyd-pipers-at-the-gates-of-dawn/

The Piper At the Gates of Dawn

The Piper At the Gates of Dawn is the legendary debut album by Pink Floyd and the only album during their Syd Barrett-led era. This era began during the summer of 1965, when Barrett joined the established band which included his childhood friend Roger Waters and unilaterally began to call this band “The Pink Floyd Sound”, after a couple of obscure blues men he had in his record collection. By 1966, the band became part of London’s “underground” scene, gained some high connections, and played some high profile gigs attended by celebrities. In early 1967, the band signed with EMI and their debut album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Norman Smith. The sessions had their share of turmoil as Barrett was unresponsive to direction and constructive criticism.

The sessions for The Piper At the Gates of Dawn came during the middle of a turbulent, exciting, and productive year for Pink Floyd, which also saw the release and charting of three non-album singles. “See Emily Play” was the highest charting on these early singles as the follow-up to “Arnold Layne”, a controversial song as it depicted a transvestite whose primary pastime was stealing women’s clothes and undergarments from washing lines and many English radio stations refused to play the song.

The Piper At the Gates of Dawn is the legendary debut album by Pink Floyd and the only album during their Syd Barrett-led era. This era began during the summer of 1965, when Barrett joined the established band which included his childhood friend Roger Waters and unilaterally began to call this band “The Pink Floyd Sound”, after a couple of obscure blues men he had in his record collection. By 1966, the band became part of London’s “underground” scene, gained some high connections, and played some high profile gigs attended by celebrities. In early 1967, the band signed with EMI and their debut album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Norman Smith. The sessions had their share of turmoil as Barrett was unresponsive to direction and constructive criticism.

The sessions for The Piper At the Gates of Dawn came during the middle of a turbulent, exciting, and productive year for Pink Floyd, which also saw the release and charting of three non-album singles. “See Emily Play” was the highest charting on these early singles as the follow-up to “Arnold Layne”, a controversial song as it depicted a transvestite whose primary pastime was stealing women’s clothes and undergarments from washing lines and many English radio stations refused to play the song.

The album begins with “Astronomy Domine”, the ultimate space odyssey song with wild tremolo effects and a chanting vocal duet between Barrett and keyboardist Richard Wright. There is an extended instrumental section after first verse sequence before the song returns for the concluding sequence. the riff-driven “Lucifer Sam” follows with a cool, mid-sixties British groove, making the song a lot less psychedelic than those on the rest of the album.

“Matilda Mother” begins with some interplay between Waters’ bass and Wright’s organ, who plays a big role in the song by also taking on lead vocals. There are also some fine harmonies during the verses and a slow carousel-like sequence through the end. “Flaming” is another melody-driven song but with wild sound effects throughout as well as a bright acoustic guitar, overdubbed in the third and fourth verses and an odd, yet melodic middle break. “Pow R. Toc H.” is the first of two instrumentals on the album, with the heart of the song driven mainly by a blues riff (one of the few moments where Waters bass is well represented). This is a great early art piece by Pink Floyd, though there are times when the sound effects are just a tad overwhelming. According to drummer Nick Mason, the band members were present at Abbey Road when they watched The Beatles recording “Lovely Rita” for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and decided to try voice effects and noises similar for “Pow R. Toc H.”

Barrett wrote eight of the album’s eleven songs along with contributing to two instrumentals which were credited to the whole band. Waters was credited with one composition, “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”. This closer of the first side is a more frenzied piece than anything else on the album, with Mason really shines on this track with a style of over-the-top drumming which should make Keith Moon proud. Rumor has it that the band insisted in contract negotiations that “Interstellar Overdrive” remain in experimental form on the debut album. The song, which became the the unofficial theme song of the underground event “the fourteen hour technicolor dream”, was the first recorded by the band in January. This instrumental starts strong, with a strong and catchy main riff, but within a minute and a half the song begins to deteriorate into a psychedelic collage of sound effects, which goes on for about seven minutes and may have be just a bit much for any sober listener.

Barrett takes over the rest of the album, with some fine and interesting compositions. “The Gnome” is an upbeat, acoustic folk song with some exaggerated vocals by Barrett and some excellent bass by Waters. “Chapter 24” is perhaps the first deeply philosophical song by a band that would make their reputation exploring such matters. Barrett’s melody floats above the transcending musical motif with the middle part dissolving with a Middle-Eastern sounding organ. The song was inspired by by text from chapter 24 of the ancient Chinese script I Ching (The Book of Changes).

“The Scarecrow” is built on a series of percussive effects by Mason and organ flights by Wright. These at first sound disparate, but are soon held together by layered vocals in concert with tightly strummed electric guitars. An acoustic montage is later overdubbed over the whole ensemble in the outro.

“Bike” is the most brilliant and chilling song on the album, and perhaps the quintessential Syd Barrett song. Lyrically, the song is metered like a 10-year-old’s boasting rant about disparate subjects during the verse and a melancholy chorus about a “girl who fits in with my world”. Knowing of Barrett’s eventual mental demise, the song has turned out to be extremely profound. Musically, the song is driven by good piano and effects by Wright throughout and rock driven rock verses with softer, melodic choruses through the song proper, which lasts less than two minutes. The song and album concludes with a psychedelic reprise of sound collages.

After the release of the album in August 1967, Pink Floyd continued to perform in London, drawing ever larger crowds. But Barrett’s mental state continued to deteriorate and soon he got to the point where he could not perform onstage. Aside from a few more single tracks and one song on the next album, A Saucerful of Secrets, Barrett would not perform with the band again, making The Piper At the Gates of Dawn, a truly unique work.

Source: https://www.classicrockreview.com/2012/07/1967-pink-floyd-piper/

Chapter 24 by Pink Floyd

A movement is accomplished in six stages
And the seventh brings return
The seven is the number of the young light
It forms when darkness is increased by one
Change returns success
Going and coming without error
Action brings good fortune
Sunset

The time is with the month of winter solstice
When the change is due to come
Thunder in the other course of heaven
Things cannot be destroyed once and for all
Change returns success
Going and coming without error
Action brings good fortune
Sunset, sunrise

A movement is accomplished in six stages
And the seventh brings return
The seven is the number of the young light
It forms when darkness is increased by one
Change returns success
Going and coming without error
Action brings good fortune
Sunset, sunrise, sunrise, sunset

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