Pink Floyd – Atom heart Mother (Epic 2017 #212)

The Epic 2017 Project #212: 170731

Pink Floyd – Atom heart Mother (1970)

The fifth studio album was released by Harvest on 2 October 1970 in the UK, and by Capitol on 10 October 1970 in the US. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, England, and was the band’s first album to reach number 1 in the UK, while it reached number 55 in the US, eventually going gold there. A remastered CD was released in 1994 in the UK and the United States, and again in 2011. Ron Geesin, who had already influenced and collaborated with Roger Waters, contributed to the title track and received a then-rare outside songwriting credit.

The cover was designed by Hipgnosis, and was the first one to not feature the band’s name on the cover, or contain any photographs of the band anywhere. This was a trend that would continue on subsequent covers throughout the 1970s and beyond.

Although it was commercially successful on release, the band, particularly Waters and David Gilmour, have expressed several negative opinions of the album in more recent years. Nevertheless, it remained popular enough for Gilmour to perform the title track with Geesin in 2008

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the gates of Dawn (Epic 2017 #211)

The Epic 2017 Project #211: 170730

Pink Floyd – The Piper at the gates of Dawn (1967)

Pink Floyd’s debut studio album was the only one made under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership. The album, named after the title of chapter seven of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows and featuring a kaleidoscopic cover photo of the band taken by Vic Singh, was recorded from February to May 1967 and released on 5 August 1967. It was produced by Beatles engineer Norman Smith and released in 1967 by EMI Columbia in the United Kingdom and Tower in the United States, in August and October respectively.

The release of the album in the US was timed with the band’s tour of the US. In the UK, no singles were released from the album, but in the US “Flaming” was offered. The US version of the album has a rearranged track list, and contains the UK non-album single, “See Emily Play”. Two of the album’s songs, “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive”, became long-term mainstays of the band’s live set list, while other songs were performed live only a handful of times.

Since its release, the album has been hailed as one of the best psychedelic rock albums. In 1973, it was packaged with the band’s second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (to be featured in Epic #215 0n 3rd August), and released as A Nice Pair to introduce new fans to the band’s early work after the success of The Dark Side of the Moon. Special limited editions of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were issued to mark its thirtieth and fortieth anniversaries in 1997 and 2007, respectively, with the latter release containing bonus tracks. In 2012, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was voted 347th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Pink Floyd – Meddle (Epic 2017 #210)

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Pink Floyd – Meddle (1971)

Meddle was Pink Floyd’s sixth studio album, released on 31 October 1971 by Harvest Records. It was produced between the band’s touring commitments, from January to August 1971. It was recorded at a series of locations around London, including Abbey Road Studios and Morgan Studios.

With no material to work with and no clear idea of the album’s direction, the group devised a series of novel experiments which eventually inspired the album’s signature track, “Echoes”. Although many of the band’s later albums would be unified by a central theme with lyrics written mainly by Roger Waters, Meddle was a group effort with lyrical contributions from each member, and is considered a transitional album between the Syd Barrett-influenced group of the late 1960s and the emerging Pink Floyd. The cover according to creator, Storm Thorgerson, depicts an ear under water.

Meddle was well received by music critics upon its release. However, despite being commercially successful in the United Kingdom, lacklustre publicity on the part of their United States-based label led to poor sales there upon initial release.

Pink Floyd – The Division Bell (Epic 2017 #209)

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Pink Floyd – The Division Bell (1994)

Pinks Floyd’s 14th studio album was released on 28 March 1994 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and on 4 April by Columbia Records in the United States. The music was written mostly by guitarist and singer David Gilmour and keyboardist Rick Wright, and features Wright’s first lead vocal on a Pink Floyd album since The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). Gilmour’s new wife, Polly Samson, co-wrote many of the lyrics, which deal with themes of communication. Recording took place in locations including the band’s Britannia Row Studios, and Gilmour’s houseboat, Astoria. The production team included Pink Floyd stalwarts such as producer Bob Ezrin, engineer Andy Jackson and saxophonist Dick Parry.

The Division Bell reached number one in the UK and the US but received mixed reviews. It was followed by a tour of the US and Europe. It was certified double platinum in the US the year it was released, and triple platinum in 1999. Unused material from the Division Bell sessions became part of Pink Floyd’s next and final album, The Endless River (2014).

Pink Floyd – The endless river (Epic 2017 #208)

The Epic 2017 Project #208: 170727

Pink Floyd – The endless river (2014)

The Endless River is the fifteenth and final studio album from Pink Floyd. It was released on 7 November 2014 in Friday-release countries and on 10 November elsewhere by Parlophone Records in the United Kingdom and by Columbia Records in the United States. It was the third Pink Floyd album led by guitarist and singer David Gilmour following Roger Waters’ departure in 1985 and the first following the death of keyboardist Rick Wright in 2008, who appears posthumously.

The Endless River consists almost entirely of instrumental and ambient music based on material Pink Floyd wrote, recorded and produced with Wright during sessions for their previous album The Division Bell (1994) (featured in Epic #209 tomorrow). New material was recorded in 2013 and 2014 aboard Gilmour’s Astoria boat studio and in Medina Studios in Hove, England. It was produced by Gilmour, Youth, Andy Jackson and Phil Manzanera. The cover art concept is by Ahmed Emad Eldin, with final artwork by Stylorouge and creative direction by Aubrey Powell.

The Endless River was promoted with the single “Louder than Words” and artwork installations in cities including London, New York, Paris, Berlin, and Milan. It became the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon UK, and debuted at number one in several countries. The vinyl edition was the fastest-selling UK vinyl release since 1997.

Pink Floyd – Pulse (Epic 2017 #207)

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Pink Floyd – Pulse (1995)

Pulse is a live double album from Pink Floyd, released on 29 May 1995 on EMI in the United Kingdom and on 6 June 1995 by Columbia in the United States. It was recorded during the band’s Division Bell Tour in 1994, specifically the UK and European leg, which ran from July to October 1994.

Disc 2 is a complete live version of The Dark Side of the Moon and features a booklet with many photographs from performances on the tour. It also features “Astronomy Domine”, a Syd Barrett song not performed since the early 1970s.

Unlike Delicate Sound of Thunder (see Epic 217 scheduled for posting here on 5 August), David Gilmour and record producer James Guthrie say that no parts of the songs were re-recorded in the studio (James Guthrie confirmed this in an interview with Pink Floyd fanzine Brain Damage). However, the band and Guthrie fixed songs that had bad notes (as heard on some bootlegs) by lifting solos and corrected vocal lines from other performances as the band recorded most of the European leg. The CD claimed that it was mixed in “Q Sound” which produces a 3D audio effect even on a two channel stereo system.

“Take It Back” was originally going to be in the album with the recording from 25 September 1994, Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne but was cut due to length.

Early CD versions came with a flashing red LED on the side of the case. This was designed by EMI contractor Jon Kempner, who was awarded the platinum disc, using the now discontinued LM3909 LED flasher IC. The circuit was powered by a single AA battery which (it was claimed) had a six month+ battery life. Mine lasted eight. Only problem was that (unless you were prepared to destroy your CD case in the process) it was impossible to change the battery.

Pink Floyd – The Wall (Epic 2017 #206)

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Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

Pink Floyd’s 11th studio album was released as a double album on 30 November 1979, by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and by Columbia Records in the United States. Despite an initially mixed critical reaction, The Wall peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart, while it topped the US Billboard 200 chart for 15 weeks. In 1982, it was adapted into a feature film of the same name.

Bass guitarist and lyricist Roger Waters conceived the album as a rock opera during Pink Floyd’s 1977 In the Flesh Tour. Its story, which follows themes of abandonment and personal isolation, explores Pink, a character whom Waters modeled after himself and the band’s original leader Syd Barrett. Pink’s life begins with the loss of his father during the Second World War, and continues with abuse from his schoolteachers, an overprotective mother, and the breakdown of his marriage; all contribute to his eventual self-imposed isolation from society, represented by a metaphorical wall.

The Wall remains the last studio album released with the 11-year-spanning line-up of Waters, Gilmour, keyboardist Rick Wright, and drummer Nick Mason. Wright was unceremoniously fired from the band by Waters during its production, but remained as a salaried musician, performing with Pink Floyd on their subsequent live tour. The live performances, which were later released as a live album, featured elaborate theatrical effects. Some of the album’s themes would be continued in the band’s next album, The Final Cut (1983) [featured in Epic #213 on 1st August next], which contained some outtakes from The Wall. In 2003, Rolling Stone placed The Wall at number 87 on its list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”

Pink Floyd – Animals (Epic 2017 #205)

The Epic 2017 Project #205: 170724

Pink Floyd – Animals (1977)

In early December 1976, the year of the ‘hot summer’, I took a trip up to London to visit the National Portrait Gallery. And, as I approached Clapham Junction, I remember looking out of the window at the windy grey skies and seeing a massive pink inflatable pig floating in front of the chimneys and heading east over the Thames.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the photo shoot at Battersea Power Station for the front cover of Pink Floyd’s 10th studio album – Animals. Released on 23 January 1977 by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and by Columbia Records in the United States, Animals is a concept album providing a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of late-1970s Britain.

The album was released to generally positive reviews in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also a success in the United States, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and although it scored on US charts for half a year, steady sales have resulted in its certification by the RIAA at 4x platinum. The size of the venues of the band’s In the Flesh Tour prompted an incident in which Waters spat at members of the audience, setting the background for the band’s next studio album The Wall (to be featured in Epic #206 tomorrow), released two years later.

Animals was recorded at the band’s studio, Britannia Row, in London, but its production was punctuated by the early signs of discord that three years later would culminate in keyboardist Richard Wright leaving the band. The album’s cover image, a pig floating between two chimneys of the Battersea Power Station, was conceived by the band’s bassist and lead songwriter Roger Waters, and was designed by long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis.

The album was released to generally positive reviews in the United Kingdom, where it reached number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also a success in the United States, reaching number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and although it scored on US charts for half a year, steady sales have resulted in its certification by the RIAA at 4x platinum. The size of the venues of the band’s In the Flesh Tour prompted an incident in which Waters spat at members of the audience, setting the background for the band’s next studio album The Wall, released two years later.

However, you’ll have already guessed that the shoot for that didn’t really go according to plan. The band’s manager, Steve O’Rourke had hired a marksman for the first day (just in case), but forgot to do so for day two when the wind broke the 40ft pig (known as Algie) free of its moorings. Algie flew over Heathrow, resulting in panic and cancelled flights with pilots spotting the pig in the air and eventually landed in Kent. The balloon was recovered and filming continued for a third day, but as the early photographs of the power station were considered better, the image of the pig was later superimposed onto one of those. If I’d had a camera back then though, I’d have had a great shot of it drifting down the Thames towards Bankside.

Pink Floyd – Wish you were here (Epic 2017 #204)

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

Pink Floyd – Obscured by clouds (Epic 2017 #203)

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 VallĂ©e, 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.