The Epic 2017 Project #204: 170723
Pink Floyd – Wish you were here (1976)
The turn of Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album today. ‘Wish you were here’ was released on 12 September 1975 by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and a day later by Columbia Records in the United States. Inspired by material the group composed while performing around Europe, Wish You Were Here was recorded during numerous recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London, England.
Two of the album’s four songs criticise the music business, another expresses alienation and the multi-part track “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to Syd Barrett. Barrett’s mental breakdown had forced him to leave the group seven years earlier prior to the release of the group’s second studio album A Saucerful of Secrets (on which he only appeared on three tracks) [A Saucerful of Secrets features in Epic #215 due for publication on 3 August]. It was lead writer Roger Waters’ idea to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” into two parts that would bookend the album around three new compositions and to introduce a concept linking them all.
The band had used a linking concept for their previous album, The Dark Side of the Moon, to great success. As with The Dark Side of the Moon, the band used studio effects and synthesizers and brought in guest singers to supply vocals on some tracks of the album. These singers were Roy Harper, who provided the lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”, and the Blackberries, who added backing vocals to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.
Wish You Were Here was an instant commercial success (despite the fact that Harvest Records’ parent company EMI was unable to print enough copies of the album to satisfy commercial demand), and although it initially received mixed reviews, the album has since gone on to receive critical acclaim. It appears on Rolling Stone’s lists of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the “50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time”. Band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour have cited Wish You Were Here as their favourite Pink Floyd album
The Epic 2017 Project #203: 170722
Pink Floyd – Obscured by clouds (1972)
Obscured by Clouds was Pink Floyd’s seventh studio album. Its was based on their soundtrack for the French film La Vallée, by Barbet Schroeder and released in the United Kingdom on 2 June 1972, and a few weeks later in the United States, by Harvest Records. It reached number 6 and number 46 respectively. A single, “Free Four”, was issued in the US only.
The album was something of a stopgap for the band, who had already started work on The Dark Side of the Moon (see Epic #200 – 19th July), and was recorded in two sessions in France between touring, with three days for mixing. The original plan was to just record small sections of music, but they ultimately created enough songs for a complete album. The resulting work has been overlooked in the Pink Floyd canon because of the huge commercial success of later albums, but still has a positive reaction from fans and critics.
The Epic 2017 Project #202: 170721
Pink Floyd – Relics (1971)
Relics (aka ‘A Bizarre Collection of Antiques & Curios’) is a 1971 compilation album by Pink Floyd. The album was released in the UK on 14 May 1971 and in the United States on the following day. Initially released by Starline, the compilation was reissued by Music for Pleasure in the United Kingdom; Harvest and Capitol distributed the album in the United States. A remastered CD was released in 1996 with a different album cover, picturing a three-dimensional model based on the sketch drawn by drummer Nick Mason for the initial release.
The release of Relics occurred because the band’s record company, EMI, were concerned that they had gone into the studio to record what would become Meddle (look out for Epic #210, coming on 29 July) without any songs or ideas, effectively starting from scratch. This, combined with their ever-increasing touring schedule, made EMI realise that no new product would be released for some time, possibly not until well over a year after completing their previous album, Atom Heart Mother (featured in Epic #212, due for publication on 31st July).
In order to issue some more “product” for fans, they decided to release a budget priced LP on their Starline label, combining early singles, B-sides, album tracks and one unreleased number, “Biding My Time”. The compilation contains material from the first three albums, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (Epic #211, due on 30th July), A Saucerful of Secrets (to be featured in Epic #215 on 3rd August) and More (Epic #214, due on 2nd August).
The Epic 2017 Project #201: 170720
Pink Floyd – Ummagumma (1969)
Pink Floyd’s 4th album was a double gatefold and was released on 25 October 1969 by Harvest Records in the UK and by Capitol Records internationally. The first disc consists of live recordings from concerts at Mothers Club in Birmingham and the College of Commerce in Manchester that contained part of their normal set list of the time, while the second contains solo compositions by each member of the band recorded at the Abbey Road Studios. The artwork was designed by regular Floyd collaborators Hipgnosis and features a number of pictures of the band combined to give a Droste effect.
Although the album was well received at the time of release, and was a top five hit in the UK album charts, it has since been looked upon unfavourably by the band, who have expressed negative opinions about it in interviews. Nevertheless, the album has been reissued on CD several times, along with the rest of their catalogue.
And it features the wonderful ‘Careful with that axe, Eugene’ – which has to be one of the best titles for a song, ever (by anyone).
The Epic 2017 Project #200: 170719
Pink Floyd – Dark side of the moon (1973)
The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth album from Pink Floyd, released on 1 March 1973 by Harvest Records. The album built on ideas explored in earlier recordings and live shows, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions following the departure of founding member and principal contributor, Syd Barrett, in 1968, that characterised their earlier work. It thematically explores conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett’s deteriorating mental state.
Developed during live performances, an early version was premiered several months before recording began; new material was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road in London. The group used some advanced recording techniques at the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesizers were prominent in several tracks, and snippets from recorded interviews with Pink Floyd’s road crew and others provided philosophical quotations throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was responsible for many distinctively notable sonic aspects and the recruitment of singer Clare Torry. The album’s iconic sleeve, designed by Storm Thorgerson, depicts a prism spectrum and represents the band’s lighting, the record’s thematic material, and keyboardist Richard Wright’s “simple and bold” design request.
The album was an immediate commercial and critical success; it topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling worldwide. It has been remastered and re-released twice, and covered in its entirety by several other acts. It produced two singles, “Money” and “Us and Them”, and is the band’s most popular album among fans and critics, being ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Dark side of the moon was the second record I ever brought, Led Zeppelin IV being the first (see Epic 2017 #155). And I’ll be featuring most of the Pink Floyd album repertoire in the ‘Epic’ series – from today through to 2 August.
The Epic 2017 Project #199: 170718
Oxide & Neutrino – Execute (2001)
Execute is the debut album of So Solid Crew members Oxide & Neutrino, released on 28 May 2001. It features the Casualty sampling number 1 single “Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)” and the Prodigy cover “No Good 4 Me”. The song “Devil’s Nightmare” was also featured on the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider soundtrack.
The Epic 2017 Project #198: 170717
The Outlaws – Bring it back alive (1977)
Bring It Back Alive is a live album by American southern rock band Outlaws, released in 1977 in the UK and 1978 stateside. It was released as a double album, and later re-released as a single CD.
Due to a printing mistake, the early first issue tape configurations (8-Track & cassette) were issued with the title Bring ‘Em Back Alive. Although the vinyl album cover used the title Bring It Back Alive, the four labels on the records were issued with the title Bring ‘Em Back Alive.
Side 4 of the vinyl version is given over entirely to the rather excellent ‘Green grass and high tides’