„See Emily Play” was Pink Floyd’s second release, recorded at Sound Techniques in London…   Leave a comment


The demands of live performances, academic study, and regular paid work, were incompatible, prompting Waters to leave his job as an architect; Wright had long-since devoted his time purely to music; Barrett stopped attending the Camberwell College of Art; and Mason took a sabbatical from college. The concerns of EMI over their psychedelic connections saw the band give several interviews to the press, to distance themselves from such associations. Arnold Layne” was their first single, released on 11 March 1967. It was banned by several radio stations for its vague references to sexual perversions, but due to some creative manipulation at the shops which supplied sales figures to the music industry, it peaked at #20 in the UK charts.

Pink Floyd (the definite article was dropped at some point in 1967) replaced their ageing Bedford van with a Ford Transit, and used it to travel to over two hundred gigs in 1967 (a ten-fold increase on the previous year). They were joined by road manager Peter Wynne Willson, with whom Barrett had previously shared a flat. Willson updated the band’s lighting rig, with innovative ideas including the use of polarisers, mirrors, and stretched condoms. On one occasion the group’s van was stopped by police, who were surprised to see one of the roadies cutting a pile of condoms with scissors. Some venues were hostile to rock bands, insisting on raised auditorium lighting—a problem the band often solved with the use of an air-rifle. The rigours of touring were not without their own rewards; finances were tight, so much so that on one ferry crossing one of the roadies bet Waters £20 that he would crawl from one end of the boat to the other, barking like a dog—a bet he subsequently won.

See Emily Play” was Pink Floyd’s second release, recorded at Sound Techniques in London. It was initially called „Games for May„, and premièred at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London over a month before its release on 16 June 1967. They premièred a device built for them by an Abbey Road engineer, known as an Azimuth co-ordinator (an early quadraphonic system). Their use of a bubble machine and the scattering of flowers resulted in a ban from the hall. They performed on the BBC’s Look of the Week, in which they faced rigorous questioning from Hans Keller. Along with Waters, Barrett appeared erudite and engaging. The single fared slightly better than „Arnold Layne”, and after two weeks was at #17 in the charts. The band mimed the single on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops, returning again as the single climbed to #5. A scheduled third appearance was cancelled when Barrett refused to perform. At about this time the other band members began to notice changes in Barrett’s behaviour. By early 1967 he was regularly using lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a psychedelic drug, and although initially it seemed to lead to further inspiration and creativity, at an earlier show in Holland, Barrett was observed by Mason to be „completely distanced from everything going on, whether simply tripping or suffering from a more organic neural disturbance I still have no idea.


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