Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
This week’s Satur-debut selection comes from Pink Floyd, a band I’ve loved for more than 40 years. Their debut album from 1967 is far removed from anything that came after it, especially the world-conquering records they released in the ’70s that still dominate classic rock radio, and there are some fans who consider it the peak of their career.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 1:
Pink Floyd is probably my second-favorite artist of all-time, just behind Led Zeppelin, but it took me a long time to fully embrace their debut album. My first exposure to their music was 1977’s Animals, shortly after my 11th birthday, and within a couple of years I loved everything from Meddle through The Wall. Their earlier releases were a little less accessible, especially to my teenage ears, with The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn being as far removed from the Pink Floyd sound I loved as anything I could imagine. That makes sense when you consider it was the only album they released under the guidance of founding member Syd Barrett, whose brief solo discography I previously discussed. His whimsical, almost-childlike and distinctly British songwriting was mixed with psychedelic arrangements and occasional journeys into complete weirdness, resulting in off-kilter gems like “Matilda Mother,” “Bike” and “Lucifer Sam.” The musically adventurous side of the band is also represented by “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive.” I started appreciating this album in the ‘80s, but it wasn’t until the release of the mono version in 1999 that I fully understood its mad brilliance. Prevailing wisdom might suggest that stereo is the preferred format for this type of music, but in this case the mono mix packs a much stronger punch, and I highly recommend it as the definitive way to hear this record.
All of the audio clips feature the mono versions since, as mentioned above, I think they pack more punch than their stereo counterparts. If you’re a fan of their later work but never heard this album, I recommend thinking of them as a completely different band and listening with open ears and an open mind. I also suggest finding some of their early singles, like “Arnold Layne,” “See Emily Play” and “Apples And Oranges” for a fuller picture of Barrett-era Floyd. I look forward to hearing from other fans of this album, and anyone who’s hearing it for the first time.