Category: pink floyd

On this day in music history: October 10, 1970 – “Atom Heart Mother”, the fifth album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from February – August 1970. The first self produced album by the band (though executive produced by longtime producer Norman Smith), it marks the end of their “psychedelic period” moving toward writing more tightly structured songs. “Atom Heart Mother” also marks the first time that Pink Floyd work with then Abbey Road staff engineer Alan Parsons, who becomes a valuable technical asset to the band, on this and especially “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. The first side of the album featuring the title track is a nearly twenty four minute long suite (made up of six movements) featuring additional orchestration by the EMI Pops Orchestra and choir vocals by the John Alldis Choir. The albums iconic cover photographs taken by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis is in response to the bands request for “something plain” on the cover. Thorgerson drives out to a cow pasture in Hertfordshire and takes the photos for the front, inner gatefold and back cover. Unlike previous albums, the cover does not contain any text with the band’s name, album title, track listing, or even any pictures of the band. This becomes a main feature of Pink Floyd’s albums throughout the rest of their career. It is also the first Pink Floyd album to be mixed into quadraphonic sound, first being released on 8-Track tape and and as a vinyl LP. Reissued on CD and vinyl various times over the years, the album is remastered and reissued on 180 gram vinyl in 2016. “Atom Heart Mother” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number fifty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Ike and Tina Turner

on the Startruckin’ 75 tour at Groenoordhallen in Leiden, Netherlands, August 1975.

On this day in music history: June 29, 1968 – “A Saucerful Of Secrets”, the second studio album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Norman Smith, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from August, October 1967 and January – April 1968. The bands follow up to their debut “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” is recorded sporadically over a period of eight months, largely because of Syd Barrett’s increasing mental instability due to his excessive consumption of psychedelic drugs. Guitarist David Gilmour is brought in to take Barrett’s place, becoming a permanent member of the band in March 1968. The album features songs such as “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” and the title track, both of which become staples of their live performances. The enigmatic cover art for the album is designed by Hipgnosis, making Pink Floyd the first EMI act (besides The Beatles) to have their album covers designed by someone other than EMI’s art department). It is the beginning of a four decade long association with the graphic design company. Reissued on CD numerous times since its first digital release in 1987, it is most recently reissued in 2011. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016, with the album sleeve using a printed version of the original UK “flip back” jacket design, and pressed with the original 60’s era UK Columbia labels. The rare mono mix of “Secrets”, out of print since its initial release, is remastered and reissued on Record Store Day in April of 2019. The 180 gram vinyl LP, is limited to 6,500 copies in the US and Canada, and the same number for the European continent. “A Saucerful Of Secrets” peaks at number nine on the UK album chart, and does not chart on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: June 3, 1972 – “Obscured By Clouds”, the seventh studio album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at the Château d’Hérouville, Hérouville in Île-de-France, France from February 23 – 29 and March 23 – 27, 1972. The album features music (six tracks with vocals and four instrumentals) from the soundtrack of director Barbet Schroeder’s (“Single White Female”) film “La Vallée” (“The Valley”). It is the bands’ second collaboration with the French film director, having composed the music for his 1969 film “More”. Pink Floyd will record “Clouds” just prior to the sessions for their next studio album “The Dark Side Of The Moon” at Abbey Road Studios in London beginning in June. Working under a tight schedule, the band complete the recording of their film score in just two weeks of studio time, following Schroeder’s rough cut of the film to create specific music cues and interludes. The albums’ enigmatic cover art (designed by regular graphic collaborators Hipgnosis) features a deeply out of focus photo of a man sitting in a tree. Remastered and reissued various times since making its CD debut in 1986, it is most recently reissued in 2011. The vinyl LP, out of print since 1990, is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016. The album packaging replicates the original UK cover artwork, with the LP jacket having rounded die cut corners and the original hype sticker spotlighting the film. “Obscured By Clouds” peaks at number six on the UK album chart and number forty six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 29, 1995 – “Pulse” by Pink Floyd is released (US release is on June 6, 1995). Produced by James Guthrie and David Gilmour, it is recorded at Festa Nazionale dell’Unità in Modena, Italy, the Cinecittà in Rome, Italy, Niedersachsenstadion in Hannover, Germany and Earl’s Court in London from August 17, September 17, October 13 – 23, 1994. Recorded live during the UK and European legs of the “Division Bell” tour in 1994, the majority of the album is compiled from the band’s two week run of performances at Earl’s Court in London. The second disc of the album includes “The Dark Side Of The Moon” performed in its entirety as well as a performance of “Astronomy Domine”, which had not been performed live by the band since the early 70’s. The original CD release of the album comes with a flashing red LED light (powered by two AA batteries) in the spine. A limited edition four LP vinyl version of the album is also released (with “One Of These Days” included as a bonus track, also included on the cassette release). An accompanying home video release is issued in tandem with the album. Out of print since its original release in 1995, the vinyl LP box set is reissued on May 18, 2018, pressed on 180 gram vinyl and faithfully replicating the original packaging and booklet. “Pulse” enters the UK album chart and the Billboard Top 200 at number one, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Pink Floyd pose for photographers at a press conference in London, 1967.

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Pink Floyd photographed by Andrew Whittuck, 1967.

On this day in music history: March 22, 1980 – “Another Brick In The Wall Pt.II” by Pink Floyd hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by Roger Waters, it is the biggest hit single and lone chart topper for the British progressive rock band from Cambridge, UK. Waters writes the song as a rebuke against the rigid and often oppressive environment he encountered in school as a child. For the songs chorus, the band has engineer James Guthrie record a group of kids, mostly boys ranging in age from ten to fifteen years old from North London to sing on the track. Guthrie fills an entire 24 track tape with stereo pairs of tracks of the kids singing it in various ways. Issued as the first single from bands landmark concept album “The Wall” on January 8, 1980, it quickly becomes a breakout smash on top 40 radio, a rare occurrence for Pink Floyd, who had never relied on singles to sell large quantities of albums. Entering the Hot 100 at #77 on January 19, 1980, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. First edition pressings of the 45 come packaged in a picture sleeve with custom label artwork designed by Gerald Scarfe, though reverts to a standard Columbia label (in the US) or Harvest label (in the UK and other foreign territories) with generic company sleeves when the initial pressing sells out. The chart topping success of the single helps propel “The Wall” to sales of 23x Platinum (11.5 million double album sets), making it one of the best selling albums of all time. An alternate mix of the song appears on the Pink Floyd compilation “A Collection Of Great Dance Songs” in 1981. It features the clean intro of the hit single version, but also includes the coda from the end of the album version, with the headmaster admonishing his students. “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. II” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 21, 1983 – “The Final Cut”, the twelfth studio album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Roger Waters, James Guthrie and Michael Kamen, it is recorded at Mayfair Studios, Olympic Studios, Abbey Road Studios, Eel Pie Studios, Audio International Studios, RAK Studios, Hookend Studios, and The Billiard Room from July – December 1982. Written entirely by Roger Waters, it is initially intended to serve as the soundtrack for the Alan Parker directed adaptation of “The Wall” (with the working title “Spare Bricks”), but with the UK’s involvement in the Falkland Islands War, Waters alters the content to be an anti-war statement instead. Sessions are tense, with all of the band members (particularly Waters and Gilmour) arguing frequently. Unlike many of Pink Floyd’s album covers, which are designed by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis, Roger Waters creates the cover art work for “The Final Cut” himself, with assistance from his then brother-in-law, photographer and filmmaker Willie Christie. The album is also accompanied by a short film (also directed by Christie), consisting of videos for the songs “The Gunner’s Dream”, “The Final Cut”, “The Fletcher Memorial Home” and “Not Now John”. Released to mostly mixed reviews, it ends up being Waters final album with Pink Floyd. First issued on CD in the mid 80’s, the album is remastered and reissued in 1997 and in 2004, with the latter including “When The Tigers Broke Free” as a bonus track. A new 180 gram vinyl pressing remastered by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman is released in January of 2017, following the CD reissue one year earlier. “The Final Cut” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 1, 1973 – “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, the eighth album by Pink Floyd is released. Produced by Pink Floyd, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from June 1972 – January 1973. After the release of “Obscured By Clouds” (their soundtrack for the Barbet Schroeder directed film), the British progressive rock band follow it by recording one of the most ambitious and groundbreaking works of their career. “The Dark Side Of The Moon is a concept album centering around themes of conflict, the passage of time and mental illness. The majority of the material is written by Roger Waters with contributions from the other band members. Recording engineer Alan Parsons plays a vital role in the albums sonic structure, making the most of the sixteen track recording technology available at the time, with the extensive use of effects loops and synthesizers throughout. The albums iconic cover artwork is designed by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis who along with artist George Hardie creates the image of the prism featured on the cover. The LP release also comes packaged with two posters and stickers. Upon its release, it is a major critical and commercial success, becoming Pink Floyd’s breakthrough album on a worldwide basis, setting a creative high water mark for themselves and their contemporaries. Though it only spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200 (on April 28, 1973), "Dark Side” remains on the Top 200 for a then record setting total of 741 weeks (non-consecutive) from March 1973 to July 1988 (beating the previous record of 590 weeks by Johnny Mathis’ “Johnny’s Greatest Hits”). Also a favorite of audiophiles, the album has been remastered and reissued countless times over the years. In 1979, it is issued as a half-speed mastered LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, becoming one of the best selling titles in the label’s history, also being released as 24K gold CD. The album is most recently reissued on CD in 2011, as a 180 gram LP in 2003 for its 30th anniversary, and in 2016, with the vinyl reissues containing reproductions of the posters and stickers included with previous releases. A landmark 70’s album, it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. “The Dark Side Of The Moon” is certified 15x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.