Listening Notes: Pink Floyd

Leader & curator of the Pink Floyd In 60s London guided tour Adam Scott-Goulding writes…

Back in 2017 on the first outing of my Pink Floyd In 60s London walking tour, two kinds of music fan joined me: hardcore Floyd heads dominated but I also met music fans with only a passing acquaintance with the band.

If you fall into the latter camp and are not-so-familiar with the band’s first two albums, I’ve recorded a few listening notes for you giving a bit of context to the story. Similarly, if you are already a fan, I hope you might find my notes enlightening, as well as enjoyable. It may also be a good escuse to reacquaint yourself with the early work the of the band. How long has it been since you spent time with early Floyd?

Listen here…

Pink Floyd 60s Listening Notes

Pink Floyd 60s: Listening Notes
London Music Tours

In addition to the listening notes, here are four playlists for you. Playlist one and two feature the albums discussed in the listening notes. Meanwhile the latter two playlists are made up of live and radio session versions…

A Saucerful Of Secrets (1968)

A Saucerful of Secrets is the first album discussed in the Listening Notes (above). Recorded at Abbey Road and De Lane Lea studios between May 1967 and May 1968 it was not, however, universally well-received. Rolling Stone described the record as “Not as interesting as their first… rather mediocre”. The track Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun features contributions from FIVE members – Waters, Barrett, Wright, Mason and David Gilmour.

The record does, however, have its devotees. Front and centre among them being Pink Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason.

Mason once described the album thus: “I think there are ideas contained there that we have continued to use all the way through our career. I think [it] was a quite good way of marking Syd’s departure and Dave’s arrival. It’s rather nice to have it on one record, where you get both things. It’s a cross-fade rather than a cut.”

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)

Piper, Pink Floyd’s debut album, takes its title from a chapter in the children’s classic novel The Wind In The Willows. It was recorded at Abbey Road – which, back in 1967 was simply known as EMI Studios – and produced by Norman Smith. The recording of the album took place between February and May 1967 and the Record Mirror reviewer wrote: “a fine showcase for both their talent and the recording technique. Plenty of mind blowing sound, both blatant and subtle here, and the whole thing is extremely well performed.”

Live & Radio Session 1967-69

In addition to the studio versions above, here are two playlists of live and radio session versions of tracks from the period. The playlists are organised under the titles of the London clubs where the young Floyd played – The UFO and Middle Earth. We will be visiting the locations of these clubs, in addition to other key Floyd locations, on the Pink Floyd tour. As well as being fun to compare the live versions with the records, it also gives us some semblance of a flavour for the live experience that was Pink Floyd in the 60s.

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