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The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Release date: August 5th, 1967
The album's title is from the the seventh chapter of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows"(the book is said to be a favorite of Syd's).

The debut album combines long, group-written, largely instrumental compositions with shorter, whimsical, eclectic pop songs written by lead singer and guitarist Syd Barrett (his only full-length album appearance with the group). A wonderful evocation of the distinctly British take on '60s psychedelic music. (Note: Avoid the out-of-print LP version Pink Floyd, Tower 5093, which abridges the original UK album.)

Release date: August 5th, 1967

The Floyd's growing underground popularity led to a single, "Arnold Layne," released in March of 1967. It entered the British charts at #20, resulting in national media exposure for the band. Their followup single, "See Emily Play," stayed on the charts for 7 weeks, reaching #6. Pink Floyd's first LP, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, also remained on the charts for 7 weeks, and also reached #6.

Despite being over 24 years old, the Floyd's debut release still sounds as fresh as ever (in marked contrast to its famous contemporary "Sgt. Pepper"), and was Britain's enduring contribution to the Summer of Love. In early 1967 Pink Floyd went into EMI's Abbey Road studios with a stack of whimsical tunes about gnomes, scarecrows and bikes, psychedelic ditties that bore only a passing resemblance to the prostracted spacey jams they were then famous for. The result was an unique combination of English whimsy and avant-garde sounds, featuring studio versions of the Floyd's most supremely psychedelic songs, the underground anthems "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive". Two things in particular stand out: Rick Wright's strange ethereal organ sound and the sheer power and magic of Syd Barrett's songwriting--he wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs present -- and guitar playing.

The song "Chapter 24" relates to I Ching (the book of changes), being called "Fu", meaning Change/success.

Nick Mason: "We were given Norman Smith by EMI, no arguments. So Joe Boyd, our original producer, got written out of the thing. Norman was more interested in making us sound like a classical rock band. It was a bit like the George Martin thing, a useful influence to have. But I think Joe would have given Syd his head, let him run in a freer way. We spent three months recording it, which was quite a long time in those days. Bands used to have to finish albums in a week, with session players brought in to play the difficult bits. But because The Beatles were taking their time recording Sgt Pepper in the studio next door, EMI thought this was the way people now made records. We were taken in to meet them once, while they were recording Lovely Rita. It was a bit like meeting the Royal family."

Former manager Peter Jenner: "Norman was being the perfect A&R man. He realized Syd could write great pop songs. If we'd put out what we were playing live, it wouldn't have sold **** at all. The one song here that was like the live shows was Interstellar Overdrive. They played it twice, one version recorded straight on top of the other. They doubletracked the whole track. Why? Well it sounds pretty ****ing weird doesn't it? That big sound and all those hammering drums."

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

The United States release was somewhat different than the United Kingdom one, featuring the following tracks: See Emily Play, Pow R. Toch, Take Up My Stethoscope And Walk, Lucifer Sam, Matilda Mother, The Scarecrow, The Gnome, Chapter 24 and Interstellar Overdrive.

There were some variations of the cover art. "Pink Floyd" was written either with paisley stripes, while others with rainbow stripes. Some italian pressings have a picture of the group with David Gilmour on the cover. And a 1983 low budget reissues include "Fame" (a division of the Harvest record label) written across one corner.

Dave Gilmour:"The words just used to pour out of Syd. He was very clever, very intelligent."

Song
Writer(s)
Time
Astronomy Domine
Barrett
04:12
Lucifer Sam
Barrett
03:07
Matilda Mother
Barett
03:08
Flaming
Barrett
02:46
Pow R. Toc H.
Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason
04:26
Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk
Waters
03:05
Interstellar Overdrive
Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason
09:41
The Gnome
Barrett
02:13
Chapter 24
Barett
03:42
The Scarecrow
Barrett
02:11
Bike
Barrett
03:21