Pink Floyd

Band members               Related acts







Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  The Pipers At the Gates of Dawn

Company: EMI / Fame

Catalog: FA 3065

Year: 1967

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: mid-1980s reissue

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5266

Price: $20.00


There are literally miles of printed and online material covering the ‘birth’ of Pink Floyd.  In the interests of time, the executive summary goes something like this.  Singer/guitarist Syd Barrett, guitarist/bassist Roger Waters, and keyboardist Rick Wright met when in the early 1960s when they were attending high school in Cambridge England.  Graduating, Wright went to London’s Regent Street Polytech to study architecture where he hooked up with classmates Nick Mason (drums) and Rick Wright (keyboards), bassist Clive Metcalf and singers Juliette Gale and Keith Nobel to form the R&B cover band Sigma 6.  With lead guitarist Bob Close replacing Metcalf, Rogers switched over to bass and Sigma 6 morphed in The T-Set, the The Architectural Abdabs, and The (Screaming) Abdabs.  Barrett was attending London’s Camberwell School of the Arts and in 1965 Rogers asked him to join the band.  Unfortunately, artistic and personality clashes saw band collapse.  Barrett, Mason, Rogers and Wright quickly regrouped as The Pink Floyd Sound (Barrett’s inspiration for the name reportedly coming from a pair of favorite LPs by Georgia blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.  With Barrett serving as frontman and backed by one of rock’s earliest light shows, the band made their 1966 debut at London’s The Countdown Club.  By the end of the year they were regulars on the city’s club circuit with regular performances at The Marquee Club, The Roundhouse, The UFO Club, etc. They’d also become poster children for the UK’s summer of love psychedelic movement. 


Finding a sponsor in the form of managers Peter Jenner and Andrew King, they began recording demos with producer Joe Boyd (co-owner of The UFO Club).


Signed by Columbia/EMI, the band debuted with the single ‘Arnold Layne’ b/w ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’ (Columbia/EMI catalog number DB 8156).  A weird mix of English folk an psych, Barrett’s lyric about a transvestite with a fetish for stealing women’s underwear from washing lines somehow escaped a BBC airplay ban and managed to go top-20.


Originally entitled ‘Games for May’ (inspired by a show they’d played at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall), their follow-up ‘See Emily Play’ b/w ‘Scarecrow’ (Columbia/EMI catalog number DB 8214) did even better, going top-10 in the UK. 


As was standard marketing, EMI rushed the band into the studio to record and LP.  Produced by Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith (the album was recorded at Abbey Roads Studios at the same time The Beatles were working on Sgt. Pepper), musically the set offered up something that was radically different than anything on the market.  Largely penned by Barrett, tracks like the wildly experimental opener ‘Astronomy Domine’, the rocking ‘Lucifer Sam’ and the folk-ish ‘Flaming’ (one of the few tracks that is aptly described as folk-psych), served to showcase his substantial musical gifts, but increasingly troubled sense of realty.  A uniquely weird mix of English folk, rock, child like simplicity and lysergenic meltdown, it was simply hard to compare Barrett’s material to anything else on the market. At the other end of the musical spectrum the two group-penned songs showcased longer, far more experimental efforts that served to foreshadow their post-Barrett catalog. Ironically the album was so different that it was commercial.  Even the two group penned numbers; the spacey ‘Po R. Toc H’ and the classic meltdown instrumental ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ were captivating and remain a blast to hear with good headphones.  Hard to imagine what these two freakouts must have sounded like to folks accustomed to Merseybeat and top-40 radio.  The only album to truly showcase Barrett who would find himself in forced ‘retirement’ within a year, it’s also one of the band’s creative zeniths.   Note that the original American release (Tower catalog number ST-5093) featured an abbreviated track line up.


(side 1)

1.) Astronomy Domine   (Syd Barrett) –

2.) Lucifer Sam   (Syd Barrett) –

3.) Matilda Mother   (Syd Barrett) –

4.) Flaming    (Syd Barrett) –

5.) Po R. Toc H. (instrumental)  (Syd Barrett – Roger Waters – Rick Wright – Nick Mason) –

6.) Take Up Thy Stetohscope and Walk   (Roger Waters)


(side 2)

1.) Interstellar Overdrive (instrumental)   (Syd Barrett – Roger Waters – Rick Wright – Nick Mason) –

2.) The Gnome   (Syd Barrett) –

3.) Chapter 24   (Syd Barrett) –

4.) The Scarecrow (Syd Barrett) –

5.) Bike    (Syd Barrett) -


Like any good band, in support of the album The Floyd hit the road.  A short Irish tour went off without issues, but when the band hit the States the wheels started to come off their train.  An appearance on American Bandstand proved disasterous when Barrett refused to lip synch ‘Arnold Lane’ (technically he did lip synch, but refused to move his lips in time with the vocal track).  Other promotional efforts including an appearance on the Pat Boone show proved equally dismal with Barrett acting totally stoned.  Perhaps not a big surprise, their US tour was abruptly cancelled before it even started. 


Back in the UK, November 1967 saw the release if a third non-LP 45 ‘Apples and Oranges’ b/w ‘Paint Box’ (Columbia/EMI catalog number DB 8310).  Far more experimental that the first two singles, the 45 didn’t chart, though that didn’t stop EMI from sending them back out on the road as part of a package tour.  Unfortunately the wear and tear of touring didn’t exactly help Barrett whose continuing use of LSD made him increasingly unstable and unreliable.  Increasingly unable to function on tour, by early 1968 ex-The Ramblers/Jokers Wild guitarist David Gilmour was brought in as a touring replacement.  In April 1968 Barrett was formally asked to leave the band.




Genre: progressive

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Company: Columbia

Catalog: S

Year: 19

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: i

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4

Price: $

Cost: $66.00


Billed as the first official Pink Floyd effort following Roger Waters' 1984 departure, for all intents and purposes, 1987's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" was a David Gilmour solo effort.  Large slammed by the critics when released and still view with varying degrees of scorn by Floyd fans, to my ears the set isn't that bad.  Waters' acidic contributions are clearly missed, but on tracks such as '', '' and '' Gilmour's spidery guitar and atmospheric compositions ensured that that band's instantly recognizable sound remained largely intact.  There's also debate on the set's supposed commercial orientation.  Lots of fans weren't too thrilled to see radio embrace tracks such as 'Learning To Fly' and 'On the Turning Away.'  I'd argue that Gilmour's always had an ear for the commercial, so nobody should have been surprised or upset by the LP's massive success.   

"A Momentary Lapse of Reason" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Signs of Life (instrumental)   (Bob Erzin - David Gilmour) - 4:25

2.) Learning To Fly   (Carin - Bob Erzin - David Gilmour - Moore) - 4:53

3.) The Dogs of War   (David Gilmour - Moore) - 6:08

4.) One Slip   (David Gilmour - Phil Manzanera) - 5:07


(side 2)
1.) On the Turnign Away   (David Gilmour - Moore) - 5:39

2.) Yet Another Movie/Round and Around   (David Gilmour - Leonard) - 7:27

3.) New Machine (Part 1)   (David Gilmour) - 1:46

4.) Terminal Frost   (David Gilmour) - 6:17

5.) New Machine (Part 2)   (David Gilmour) - 0:38

6.) Sorrow   (David Gilmour) - 8:48 




Pink Floyd - On The Wings Of Night; 2 LP set.

Either 13 or 14 of September, 1987. (probably the 13 show)
Live at The Forum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Good Audience recording. Again, like World Tour, lots of crowd noise; these people were pumped for this show! This is a companion to "Learning To Fly," a 2 LP set. (which I don't have)

Sleepy Dragon Records

Back to Bad Cat homepage/search