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Originally compiled by David Schuetz
adopted by Matt Denault
Currently maintained by:
Gerhard den Hollander - editor
Mike McInnis, Rick Karhu
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Section 4 (of 10) : The Syd Barrett years

  1. : The Early Singles
  2. : Tonight Let's All Make Love In London
  3. : The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
  4. : The Syd-era tours
  5. : A Saucerful Of Secrets
  6. : Does Syd Barrett play on a Beatles track ?
  7. : When did Syd Barrett leave the band ?
  8. : What did Syd do after leaving the band ?

01 : The Early Singles

Early Singles

 Arnold Layne/Candy and a Currant Bun

The song got banned by Radio London due to its lyrical content. (The song is about a man who steals women's underwear from washing lines).

The flip side to Pink Floyd's first single, "Arnold Layne," was originally a song called "Let's Roll Another One." Now, the Floyd were already known to be heavily connected with the drug-influenced psychedelic underground, but their record company wasn't about to release anything with such a blatant drug reference. So they had them change the song.

The original version has since surfaced on a variety of ROIOs, the changes between the official version and the original version are small, and in both cases the line Candy and a Currant Bun is in the same place, and there is no reference in the lyrics to the phrase "Let's roll another one." Another version that can be found on older ROIOs is purely instrumental, and sounds at times more like white noise than like a Floyd song.

 See Emily Play/Scarecrow

This was Pink Floyd's second single, backed with The Scarecrow. The single featured a cover drawing by Syd Barrett.

Promo singles were made with a gatefold picture sleeve, and are selling for huge amounts of money if in mint condition.

 Apples and Oranges/Paintbox

Pink Floyd's third single was a commercial disaster. Paintbox is the first single track not written by Syd Barrett.

The exact recording date for Apples and Oranges is still a topic of discussion. It's either 30oct, 1nov 1967 (Malcolm Jones notes EMI tape logs for A&O on this date) or oct 20 and 21 1967 at the De Lane Lea studios (in which case the tape logs are a reference to Norman Smiths mixing sessions, and not to the bands actual recording sessions).

If anyone knows how to get access to the De Lane Lea studio logs, please contact the FAQ maintainers.

 Where can I find them ?

The early singles are sometimes sold at record fairs, and go for large amounts of money. If you are only looking for the music, a CD (aptly titled "The First 3") was released in 1997. It was meant to accompany the 30th anniversary Piper reissue, but is available separately as well. The Shine On box set comes with a bonus CD called "The Early Singles", which features the first five Floyd singles (the other two being It Would Be So Nice/Julia Dream and Point Me At The Sky/Careful With That Axe, Eugene).

02 : Tonight Let's All Make Love In London

Tonight Let's All Make Love In London
On 11 Jan 1967 Pink Floyd recorded a version of Interstellar Overdrive for inclusion in Peter Whitehead's film, Tonite Let's All Make Love In London. Since the band recorded the song in one take, there was some (already paid for) studio time left, so the band recorded a spontaneous jam which was named "Nick's Boogie."

This latter track was lost and forgotten until it was rediscovered in the 90s on a reel-to-reel tape covered with mold. Both songs are now easily available on CD on the Pink Floyd 66-67 CD.

The movie gets its title from the Alan Ginsberg poem of the same name.

03 : The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
The title of this album comes from the title of the seventh chapter of Kenneth Graham's Wind in the Willows book, where Ratty and Molly set of to search a lost animal, and have something akin to a religious experience when they encounter The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Pan).

The title for the Syd Barrett tribute album *"Beyond the Wildwood"* is also taken from the name of a chapter of this book.

The inkblob-like painting on the back cover was drawn by Syd Barrett, Based on photographs of the band members standing behind each other. (The photos can be seen in Miles' 'Visual Documentary)'.

 "Variations on the running order:"

The Japanese pressing added See Emily Play at the end of Side 2.

The US release of _Piper_ was a bit different than the UK release. Here are the track lists for both of them [from a posting by bear]:

US release of 'piper at the gates of dawn'

UK release of 'piper at the gates of dawn'

Note also that in the US the double-album _A Nice Pair_ has almost, but not quite, the complete _Piper_. The version of "Astronomy Domine" that appears on the original US Capitol pressings of ANP is not the original (studio) version, but was instead the live version that appears on _Ummagumma_. Other than that, it is identical to the original UK _Piper_.

 "Variations of the cover art:"

Pink Floyd: Some with paisley stripes, others with rainbow stripes.

Piper: Italian pressings have a picture of the group with David Gilmour on the cover.

Piper: 1983 low budget reissues include "Fame" written across one corner. [Fame being a division of Harvest]

 What is said at the beginning of Astronomy Domine

That's Peter Jenner (the Floyd's manager) shouting something that sounds like a horoscope and other stuff through a megaphone. Exactly what's being said is real hard to decipher, but here's what Mark Brown and Matt Denault have managed:

And then a bit that seems to be a preflight countdown:

Then, in the middle section of the song, you can hear something like:

If anyone has a more complete description we'd love to hear from you.

 :"How do you pronounce 'Domine?'"

The question here is whether it should be "dom-in-ee" (to rhyme with "astronomy") or the Latin "doh-mi-nay" (meaning to rule, or have dominion over).

The basic answer is that there is evidence for both pronunciations. I have RoIOs where band members announce it as "doh-mi-nay," and I've heard interviews where they pronounce it "dom-in-ee." At one early Free School performance, it was listed on the concert announcement as "Astronomy Domini" -- yet Syd's song sheet for same the night's performance had it as the usual "Domine." So I guess just go on pronouncing it as you have been...

However I remember an TDB era interview where Nick Mason corrects the interviewer by stating that it is the Latin variation (i.e. Domine')

 :What does "Pow R Toc H" refer to ?

Well, most people seem to feel it means "Power Toke" or "Power Tokage" or something along those lines. Another suggestion is "Power Touch," but the problem with that is that the space is between the C and H, not between O and C.

The power tokage makes the most sense, tokage being a reference to Toking (the act of smoking another one, a reefer). The band stated in an early interview that Pow R Toc H is pronounced just as it is written (i.e. pow are toc ache) say this a few times fast, and you get power tokage.

The song itself was inspired by an incident that happened after an early gig. While the band was unplugging and packing, a drunk/stoned person ambled on stage, walked to the nearest microphone and started making noises: "Ka-choom pa pa, ka- choom pa pa..."

Here's something that might shed some light, courtesy of Steve South and the Longman's Encyclopedia:

Which may have influenced the spelling of the title, but then again, may have not. In the early years interviewers were more concerned with asking where the band got their name from, and didn't ask the questions we'd like to see answered, and nowadays the Floyds themselves hardly care about this period either.

 What is chapter 24 about ?

[From a very old posting by me(Gerhard):]

Well, since we've been discussing this a lot, I have found the answer. As I was going to my local bookstore I found a book called I Ching (the book of changes) in an English translation, and I did look up Chapter 24 and guess what?

It's called "Fu" meaning Change/success (like in "change become success" and is a very nearly transcript of this song. It contains lines like "a movement is accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return," only paraphrased.

Also from the same chapter: "The 7 is the number of the Young wise, it forms when darkness [.. ==6 ..] is increased by 1."

04 : The Syd-era tours

The Syd Barrett tours


As of 1965 Pink Floyd toured as Pink Floyd/The Pink Floyd/The Pink Floyd sound, in the beginning with a mixture of original songs and standard cover songs, but come 1967 the band had switched to playing only their own material. Their early shows were described by Peter Jenner as "they played a conventional set list, with songs like Louie Louie and then played Wacky bits in the middle." Waters admitted that the band didn't know much songs, and therefore was forced to improvise, "if that's the word."


A 1966 set list had been recorded for posterity (the set list, not the show) and lists the bands performance as

At the end of 1966 the band became the house band of the London Underground and played many gigs at the roundhouse and the UFO, gigs that consisted of, among other things, 45-minute renditions of Interstellar Overdrive.

 First American Tour

The first American tour was a disaster from the start. A first series of dates scheduled for 22oct to 1 nov 1967 had to be canceled when the band failed to get their work permits ready on time.

There was some debate on whether the 1nov1967 (at the Whiskey a GoGo) had been canceled as well.

Jon Rosenberg and Vernon Fitch (amongst others) had this to say

    [Vernon Fitch]

    As best I can tell from my research, they arrived on Thursday, November 2, 1967.

    Here's four pieces of evidence that tend to support my theory:

  1. According to producer Malcolm Jones, the Abbey Road Studio logs show Pink Floyd recording Apples and Oranges at Abbey Road Studios in London on October 30, and November 1, 1967.

  2. According to Peter Albin, bass player of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Pink Floyd were at the Fillmore on Thursday, November 2nd, but did not play that night because all of their equipment had not yet arrived.

  3. Dick Clark stated twice during his interview with the Pink Floyd on American Bandstand that they had only been in the country 2 days. This is an important piece of information because it contradicts the long standing belief that the American Bandstand appearance was on Monday, November 6th. Since American Bandstand was generally recorded on a Saturday (delayed broadcast was on Thursday nights), that would put the American Bandstand appearance on Saturday, November 4th, and Clark's comments would support the arrival date of November 2nd.

  4. Also on the American Bandstand appearance, Dick Clark asked Syd Barrett how long they would be in the U.S., and Barrett replied that they were here for 10 days. Richard Wright also stated during this interview that they were going to New York. Since their New York date was at the Cheetah Club on November 12th, for them to be in the country for 10 days as Barrett indicated, they would have arrived on November 2nd.

    [Jon Rosenberg]

    I disagree for several more reasons.

  5. The band flew into Canada but had to cancel the first week of the tour due to "lack of proper work permits". They returned to the UK and did one off-gig as long as they were waiting around: 28.10.67 Dunelm House, Durham University, Durham, Co. Durham, England. Flying back for the 30th show at the Whiskey would have been rough but do- able.

  6. Bill Graham was furious with the screw up and canceled dates, and threatened to ban the group for life if they didn't make it back for the next set of dates (2-4Nov67). This is from a book about Bill Graham, page unknown, and (I think) in notes in the recent "History of the Fillmore Posters" book. Damn good thing BG never went thru with ban, the Fillmore West shows are classics!

  7. The "other" LA appearance at the "Cheetah Club" in Venice (Santa Monica) on 5Nov67 is documented in print. I found a review of the show (wildly positive!) years ago in the LA Free Press newspaper. The reporter states that this gig is (was) the only area appearance for the band. Strange he should forget about the one at the Whiskey 4 days before...

  8. I've never seen one ad for any of the three reported Whiskey shows in the LA area underground papers. The Cheetah show is in several. The Cheetah ad says "On Sunday The Pink Floyd makes the L.A. debut direct from England".

  9. According to the EMI studio log (which logs in the tapes after each studio session, but could have been the next day) the band were at EMI on 30Oct thru 2Nov doing A&O (5 takes), Paint Box (2x), and an untitled song (3x). See Vernon's point #1 and Malcolm Jones' book on Syd for details.

    [Vernon again]

    There is one last piece of information that is related to this discussion. Tower Records held a press party at the Whiskey to celebrate the U.S. release of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn album. As Piper was released in the U.S. on October 21, 1967, I suspect that the party was held on that date. We know for a fact that Pink Floyd were not in the country on this date (they were playing concerts in the U.K. through October 28th). Perhaps people who remember going to see Pink Floyd at the Whiskey are remembering this event instead?

 Hendrix tour

At the end of 1967 the band embarked on a package tour of the UK with Jimi Hendrix and The Move headlining, and supported by Amen Corner, The Nice, The Outer Limits and Eire Apparent. They got a 20 minute slot (just enough for 3 songs) and played 2 gigs per day. The pressure during this tour became too much for Syd, and at times Davy O'List (of The Nice) was asked to stand in for Syd.

05 : A Saucerful Of Secrets

A Saucerful Of Secrets (29jun1968)
The first Pink Floyd album to feature cover art by Hipgnosis. The cover art uses Dr. Strange (of Marvel Comics fame), astrology and infrared photography to symbolizes altered states of consciousness. The band is shown on the cover as well.

 "What are the different parts of 'A Saucerful Of Secrets?'"

On the album ASoS, the title track is simply called "A Saucerful of Secrets." On some pressings of _Ummagumma_, however, the piece is broken down into four sections. These sections are called:

The song itself has been explained by Roger Waters as being about war or a battle. (where Something Else and Syncopated Pandemonium are the actual battle, storm Signals the aftermath and celestial voices the mourning of the dead). Whether Waters was serious is a question that's open for debate.

 "On which songs does Syd Barrett play?"

Gilmour said (in Guitar World, Feb. '93): "He's on three or four... tracks on the album, including 'Remember A Day' and 'Jug Band [Blues].' He's also on a tiny bit of 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.'"

This account is echoed by Malcolm Jones. A February 1992 article in Record Collector suggests Syd may have been on "Corporal Clegg," which is also noted in Schaffner's book. The "Crazy Diamond" book notes "See Saw" as another possibility; early Floyd biographer Rick Sanders agrees.

 "What are all those names in 'Let There Be More Light?'"

The lyrics to "Let There Be More Light" are influenced by various Science Fiction books and historic persons:

 "Where are the lyrics of 'Set The Controls' taken from?"

Roger Waters based the lyrics for 'Set the Controls' on a book of Chinese poetry. Some of the poetry came from Li Ho--his poem 'Don't go out of the door' contains the line "witness the man who raved at the wall as he wrote his question to heaven"- -and Li Shang-Yin, whose poetry contained the lines "watch little by little the night turn around", "countless the twigs which tremble in dawn" and "one inch of love is an inch of ashes".

[thanks to Johan Lif]

This also puts an end to the debate over whether it is "One inch of love is one inch of shadow" (as can be clearly heard on RoIOs, and slightly less clearly on Ummagumma) or "knowledge of love, is knowledge of shadow" as the remaster booklet lyrics claim.

The title of the song is taken from a Michael Moorcock novel Fireclown (also released as The Winds Of Limbo).

 What are those unknown songs in the session logs?

In his excellent book "The Making of the Madcap Laughs", Malcolm Jones lists the full EMI session logs for the Piper and ASOS sessions. The ASOS entries lists several unknown titles:

These are never before or after that referred to, with the exception of Nick's Boogie, which was initially recorded in January 1967.

I (Gerhard) will speculate here that there entries are not entries for songs, but are working titles for the various segments of A Saucerful Of Secrets. The session logs do not list any working tracks for ASOS, only a listing for the completed song.

Also, Nicks Boogie may possibly be a reference to Syncopated Pandemonium, and Richards Rave Up is a good candidate for Storm Signals. As said above, this is speculation from my part.

06 : Does Syd Barrett play on a Beatles track ? "Does Syd Barrett play on a Beatles song?"
A Beatles song appears on a number of Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett RoIOs, under the title "What's The Shame, Mary Jane," and is claimed (by the RoIO makers) to be a Beatles song on which Syd Barrett performs as well.

The song, often appearing on early Floyd RoIOs, is a Beatles outtake. Its proper title is "What's the New Mary Jane?" and four versions were recorded by the Beatles. All Beatles- related sources state that "What's the New" is a Lennon song that is given a Lennon/McCartney song writing credit for contractual reasons.

The song was officially released in 1996 as track #22 on disc on of The Beatles' "Anthology 3" which gives the following information:

All other known records agree that the only people who perform on 'What's The New Mary Jane' were Lennon, Harrison, Ono and Evans.

There is some similarity between this track and the early Floyd material -- the song sounds like a cross between Revolution 9 and a normal Beatles song, and it contains many 'swirling' reverbed and delayed effects typical of 1966-68 Pink Floyd.

To the best of anyone's knowledge, there is no mention of, or evidence for, any involvement by Syd on this track (or any other Beatles track for that matter) in any Beatles-related book or article. The only places that link Syd to this song are RoIOs, fanzines and computer forums. Final proof that Syd is not on this song is given by Chris Fleming, who wrote: I have Mark Lewisohn's book THE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS. It tells that "What's the New Mary Jane?" was in fact recorded on August 14 1968 during the _White Album_ sessions. In writing the book Lewisohn listened to the original session tapes, and in the book lists in some cases musicians hired for the sessions. I am sure that if Syd had indeed played on this song that Mr. Lewisohn would have found it out through listening to the tapes, studio documentation, or interviews with the engineers.

The "famous" meeting between Pink Floyd and the Beatles took place on March 21, 1967. Syd's 1968 recording dates were May 6th, 14th, 21st and 28th; June 8th and 20th; and July 20th. In other words, Syd does *NOT* appear on this track.

07 : When did Syd Barrett leave the band ?

 "When did Syd leave?"

[Thanks to Jon Rosenberg and Ray O'Hara]:

Shortly after New Years, 1968 (probably the 5th or 6th of January) David Gilmour was asked to join Pink Floyd. The original intent was for Dave to "shadow" Syd on stage, stepping in to cover for him whenever necessary. This didn't last very long, though. The band played as a five-piece for about four shows before deciding that they could do well enough without Syd. So one night, on the way to a gig, they simply didn't pick him up.

The band's first performance as a five-piece was Aston University, on January 12th. Following that, they played

The next show, at Southampton University on January 26th, was the one Syd was not picked up for. Following this, the band hoped to keep Syd on as a songwriter, but have Gilmour be their performing guitarist. But Syd's songwriting efforts (notably "Have You Got It Yet?") seemed destined for commercial failure, and the rest of the band didn't agree with his plan to add banjo and sax players to the group. So it was decided, on March 2, to break up the management partnership of Blackhill Enterprises, and Syd was thus formally and officially out of the group. The press wasn't informed until April 6th.

08 : What did Syd do after leaving the band ?

Syd's solo works
After leaving the band (see the section on "when did syd leave") Syd made 2 solo albums. In addition to making the _Madcap Laughs_ and _Barrett_ albums, doing a set on the Top Gear Show (released on _The Peel Session_ EP), and recording the songs that were used to make up _Opel_, Syd was also involved in the following musical activities in his post-Floyd days:

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End of echoes Digest / FAQ section 4 of 10