Pink Floyd – The Wall (Epic 2017 #206)

The Epic 2017 Project #206: 170725

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.

Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (Epic 2017 #008)

The Epic 2017 Project #008: 170108

Jon Anderson – Olias of Sonhillow (1976)

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Olias of Sunhillow was Jon Anderson’s first studio album as a solo artist. It tells the story of an alien race and their journey to a new world due to a volcanic catastrophe. Olias is the chosen architect of the glider Moorglade Mover which will be used to fly his people to their new home. Ranyart is the navigator for the glider, and Qoquaq (pronounced ‘ko-quake’) is the leader who unites the four tribes of Sunhillow to partake in the exodus.

The album represented eight months of physical work, but it took two years from conception to release. Anderson used more than a hundred tracks in putting the album together, overdubbing strings, organ, harp and percussion

The triple gatefold sleeve on the original vinyl pressing for Atlantic Records, inspired by the work of Roger Dean, was designed and illustrated by Dave Fairbrother Roe RA.