On this day in music history: October 26, 1967 – “The…

On this day in music history: October 26, 1967 – “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”, the debut album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at EMI Abbey Road Studios in London from February 21 – May 21, 1967. Formed by Roger Waters (bass) and Nick Mason (drums) and Richard Wright (keyboards, guitar), they are joined by Syd Barrett (vocals, guitar) in mid 1965 after numerous line up and name changes. It is Barrett that comes up with the name Pink Floyd, after blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Originally playing more rhythm & blues influenced music, their sound begins to evolves, largely due to Barrett’s guidance. They become the talk of London’s underground music scene, with record companies courting the band. They’re signed to EMI Records’ Columbia label by former Abbey Road engineer Norman Smith (The Beatles). Recording their first single “Arnold Layne” b/w “Candy And A Currant Bun” (#20 UK) with Smith during January and February, it is issued in March of 1967. Prior to its release, Pink Floyd begin recording their debut album with Syd Barrett as the driving creative force. The song “Interstellar Overdrive”, an early staple of Pink Floyd’s live shows becomes one of the album’s centerpieces along Barrett’s “Astronomy Domine”. The album’s now iconic “kaleidoscopic” cover photo is taken by photographer Vic Singh. Released in the UK first in early August of 1967 (mono mix, followed by the stereo version in September), “Piper” quickly establishes them as leaders of the British psychedelic rock movement. Soon after, Syd Barrett begins to display erratic behavior brought on his deteriorating mental state, and his increasing intake of LSD. Held back in the US until October of 1967 to coincide with Pink Floyd’s first American tour, it is released on Capitol’s Tower Records imprint. US version contains nine songs instead of eleven, dropping “Astronomy Domine”, “Bike” and “Flaming”, while adding the single “See Emily Play”. Shortly after making their US debut at the Winterland Ballroom on November 4, 1967, the tour is aborted when Barrett’s condition worsens. Making a now infamous appearance on singer Pat Boone’s TV show, Syd stares blankly into the camera instead of lip synching to the song “Apples And Oranges” as had been previously rehearsed. The band return home, and guitarist David Gilmour is added to act as a back up for Barrett. It marks the beginning of the end of Syd Barrett’s tenure in the band, leaving in mid 1968. In time, “Piper” is regarded a masterpiece and a definitive psychedelic rock album. Reissued numerous times over the years including a three CD set, it is most recently remastered and reissued on CD in 2011, with a 180 gram vinyl LP (stereo mix) released in 2016. “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” peaks at number six on the UK album chart, number one hundred thirty one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.