The Epic 2017 Project #270: 170927
The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request (1967)
Their Satanic Majesties Request is the sixth British and eighth American studio album by the Rolling Stones, released in December 1967 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. Recording sessions saw the band experimenting widely with a psychedelic sound in the studio, incorporating elements such as unconventional instruments, sound effects, string arrangements, and African rhythms. The album’s title is a play on the “Her Britannic Majesty requests and requires …” text that appears inside a British passport. It is the first Stones album to feature the same track listings in both its UK and US versions.
Upon its release, Satanic Majesties received mixed reviews from critics “as well as some mixed reactions within the group itself”. It was criticised for being derivative of the contemporaneous work of the Beatles, particularly their June 1967 release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, with the similarities extending to the LP’s lenticular cover. In subsequent decades, however, it has gradually risen in critical reputation. Following the album’s release, the Rolling Stones abandoned their psychedelic style for a stripped-down return to their roots in blues music
The Epic 2017 Project #269: 170927
The Rolling Stones – Between the buttons (1967)
Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released on 20 January 1967 in the UK and 11 February in the US as the follow-up to Aftermath (Epic #268). It was the beginning of the Stones’ brief foray into psychedelia. In 2012, the American version of Between the Buttons, which included “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, was ranked No.357 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The Epic 2017 Project #215: 170803
Pink Floyd – A saucerful of secrets (1968)
Pink Floyd’s second studio album was released on 29 June 1968 by EMI Columbia in the UK and on 27 July 1968 in the United States by Tower Records. The album was recorded before and after Syd Barrett’s departure from the group. With Barrett’s behaviour becoming increasingly unpredictable, he was forced to leave the band and David Gilmour was recruited in January 1968.
As a result, A Saucerful of Secrets became the only non-compilation Pink Floyd album on which all five band members appeared, the first for Gilmour, with him appearing on five songs (“Let There Be More Light”, “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”, “Corporal Clegg”, “A Saucerful of Secrets” and “See-Saw”), and the last for Barrett, with him on three (“Remember a Day”, “Jugband Blues” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”). “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” was the only song all five members appeared on together. The band’s drummer Nick Mason has declared A Saucerful of Secrets to be his favourite Pink Floyd album.
The Epic 2017 Project #214: 170802
Pink Floyd – More (1969)
More was the first full-length soundtrack album, and third studio album, from Pink Floyd, released on 13 June 1969 in the United Kingdom by EMI Columbia and on 9 August 1969 by Tower Records a subsidiary label of Capitol Records in the United States as Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the film ‘More’. It is the first album by the band to be released by Capitol internationally. The film More was made in Luxembourg in 1969 and was directed by Barbet Schroeder.
It was also Pink Floyd’s first full album without founder member Syd Barrett, who was ousted from the group in early 1968 during the recording of A Saucerful of Secrets (see Epic 215 tomorrow). It is one of the three albums to feature David Gilmour as the sole lead vocalist, the others being 1987’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason (see Epic 216 due on 4 August) and 2014’s The Endless River.
Two songs can be heard in the film that were not included on the album: “Seabirds” and “Hollywood”.
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”.
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 #127: 170507
Jefferson Airplane – Flightlog (1977)
light Log (1966–1976), released in January 1977 as a double-LP. It’s essentially a compilation of Jefferson Airplane and Airplane-related tracks, including stuff by Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna, as well as solo tracks by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, and Jorma Kaukonen. Although primarily a compilation album, the album includes one previously unreleased song, “Please Come Back” written by Ron Nagle and performed by Jefferson Starship. “Please Come Back” is not available on any other release.
Among the session musicians featured on the album are two members of the Grateful Dead and one member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. David Crosby appears on one track, and Jerry Garcia plays on three tracks, two of which also feature Mickey Hart.
The album included a lavish 12-page full-color, full-size (12 sq.in.) booklet, containing photographs of the band throughout the period covered by the compilation. It also contained a detailed history of the band, written by Patrick Snyder of Rolling Stone magazine.
‘Hesitation Blues’ from Hot Tuna remains one of my all-time favourite tracks and never shifts from my top ten.