Monday, 17 October 2016

Pink Floyd: Non-Album Songs 1966-2009





Non-Album Recordings Part #1: 1966

We begin the Floyd's official canon with a couple of tracks recorded live for the soundtrack of the film 'Let's All make Love In London', a swinging sixties documentary that wasn't actually released until long after the Floyd had become a hit band and not available outside the brief screenings of the film until the 1990s. For years amongst the holy grails of Floyd collectors, some of us still can't quite believe we can actually own it and point to it on a shelf. The key moment - heard in pieces twice in the film - is Syd's gloriously unhinged instrumental[1a] 'Interstellar Overdrive', a song allegedly written after messing around with the riff for the Love single 'Little Red Book'. A cute 1966 pop-rocker, it's transformed into another other-worldly beast here which has to be heard to be believed. Faster and more aggressive than the laidback version re-recorded for debut record 'Piper', this is clearly a song hot off the press that none of the band (except perhaps Syd) know quite how to handle yet. Rick chimes in early with some Hammond Organ that throws the song into blues, while Nick's drumming is struggling to keep piece rather than steering the ship as per later. Syd's contents to snake the song's distinctive groove like a thread between the other's needles, playing with different sides to his angular invention until suddenly pouncing when the song seems to be losing momentum. By the middle of the track he's resorted to seeing what interesting 'plucking' noises he can get out of his guitar - a section much shortened for the final version - before taking the groove down to a slow simmer so Rick can try and gently prod the monster back into it's box via some gentle organ chords. By the time we reach the ten minute mark the tension is becoming unbearable but that's when Rick suddenly leaps and everyone else follows, only for Syd to calm things down again with some guitar sound effects that must have been deeply disturbing for 1966. Rick tries again, Nick throwing his lot in too this time, while Syd seems intent on breaking his guitar. By the time things have calmed down again the listener can't take much more so there's one last big push at the fifteen minute mark to go all out, Syd slashing and scything his way through the riff after some remarkable teasing the equal of any other version around, although it has to be said the album version ends with a much noisier and impressive growl than this. Find it on: 'Tonite Let's All Make Love In London', the CD version of which adds 'Plus!' to the title (1990)

Asked to provide more music, the Floyd decide to keep back their already growing store of songs and instead embark on an instrumental. Though [2] 'Nick's Boogie' is named after the drummer, he doesn't get a lot to do, playing a slightly slower version of the riff that will be heard on 'Up The Khyber', while Syd tries to break off into the stratosphere and Rick tries to tether the band back to Earth. In truth this twelve minute instrumental is a bit of a slog, although it's useful listening for anyone whose ever wondered just how many different sounds could be made out of just one guitar simultaneously. What with all the drama about his life and the way he left the band, people have forgotten just what a great and gifted guitar player Syd was - the superior to Jimi Hendrix in my opinion. Find it on: 'Tonite Let's All Make Love In London', the CD version of which adds 'Plus!' to the title (1990)


Non-Album Recordings Part #2: 1967

What a place to start your professional recording career! [3] 'Arnold Layne' is not like most debut releases, which tend to play things safe. Instead this is a censorship-dodging song about a mysterious man who steals underwear from washing lines for unknown reasons (but is presumably a cross-dresser). With a defiant cry of 'why can't you see?' and one of Syd Barrett's greatest disdainful sneers, 'Arnold Layne' is a fun song full of caustic humour and typical Barrett wordplay ('Now he's caught a nasty sort of person...they gave him 'time', doors bang, chain gang!') with a vague dig at the two-faced authorities locking him in jail who get up to exactly the same sort of things behind closed doors ('Takes two to know...') Based around a fiery Barrett guitar riff which sounds like the middle of 'Interstellar Overdrive', it's held in check by some glorious simple Rick Wright keyboard trills - at least until the instrumental break when, in a neat mirror of the 'takes two to know' line, the pair switch over, Wright getting eccentric and carried away while Barrett is left to cool his heels in the slammer. A lovely sequence of harmonies lead into this sequence, Barrett's cynicism hitting Wright's angelic choir-boy full on, which is truly lovely. Only an unfortunate decision to mess up the rhyme at the end ('Arn-old La-yene don't do it ag-ahhhn' instead of ag-ain', which always bugs me whenever I hear it) prevents this debut single from being the perfect debut. Astonishingly this song by an unknown underground group and banned by quite a few pirate stations (though not the BBC, oddly**) still managed to make the top ten in a summer that was stuffed full of famous singles. Rather sweetly, it turned out to be the last song Rick ever sang in concert, on a Jools Holland TV show where he was part of David Gilmour's band plugging the 'On An Island' CD. Find it on: 'Relics' (1971) and the deluxe edition of 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'

The censors must have been chomping at the bit to find a means of banning [4] 'Candy and a Currant Bun', which sounds like the cheekiest song ever written - especially the twinkle in Syd's voice while he songs it. What the censors might perhaps not have known was that EMI had already done their job for them. Written originally as 'Let's Roll Another One', the record company asked Syd if he could change the lyrics to remove the drug references; Syd was reportedly confused - everyone was doing this weren't they so it couldn't possibly be illegal could it? - but compliant. Some of that, actually a lot of that subversive nose-thumbing at the mainstream survives into the final product, which is clearly about more than just Afternoon tea. Like many of Syd's songs it's a love song masquerading as a recipe, perhaps the closest metaphor he can find to the 'appetite' he's suddenly developed (see 'Apples and Oranges' later in the year). The song reaches a peak just after he's eaten 'ice cream', the song dropping it's playfulness for a nightmarish aggressive solo that's backed by all the usual Floyd boxes of sonic tricks (scary wordless harmonies out of a horror film, sped up tapes and Syd's non-linear guitar smothered in echo to emphasise the fact). By the end of the song this is no longer just a cute silly novelty but a song that's eaten the narrator up and spat him out. You could argue that, like many of Syd's early songs, this is an early sign of his withdrawal from life at a pace he couldn't take but sounds to me more as if the intensity of a romantic feeling got too powerful (Syd had many girlfriends but never felt declared himself 'in love' - this song hints at why). Not quite as winningly original as some other period Barrett tracks, this B-side is still far superior to most other band's B-sides of the period. Find it on: 'Relics' ((1971) and the deluxe edition of 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'

Pink Floyd single number two is one of the greatest psychedelic singles ever made by anyone, smashing the idea that Pink Floyd were never a 'singles' band. Asked to write a 'theme song' for an underground 'happening' called 'Games For May', Barrett wrote rather more than was asked of him and came up with [5] 'See Emily Play', a song that in typical Syd style manages to be both sweet and subversive. On the one hand Emily is a hip young girl who loses her 'mind' at the gig but has great fun all the same. However in the verses Barrett is more condescending, Emily 'thinks' she's hip but she 'misunderstands', while in the second verse, set 'soon after dark - Emily cries', Barrett cruelly mocking her misery with a stinging peal of tears from his guitar. In between each section and ear-catching sped-up section which suddenly comes crashing down seems to signify Emily coming off her 'high' , crashing down to Earth uncomfortably with a bottom-heavy chord. The trick is repeated in longer form in the classic instrumental break where no less than two Syd Barrett guitars (one of them running backwards!) and Rick's spacey organ sounds tug at the song's ball and chain leash with such force that the whole thing finally snaps in a collage of mayhem, noise and wild fury. While Pink Floyd will later get the reputation of being a bit slow and dull, this passage is one of the single most exciting moments ever heard in music - the fact that such an 'out-there' noise can be so perfectly accommodated in a genuinely catchy three minute single tells you all you need to know about what a special rare talent Barrett was. The last verse is no 'come-down either' - Barrett finally gives Emily the happy ending she's been dreaming of, going to the 'Games For May' dance and 'floating away on a cloud forever and ever'. A last burst of blissful harmonies then fade into the distance doing exactly that, sounding ethereal and angelic, as if Emily is losing touch with the 'normal' world. Spookily this isn't far off what will happen to Barrett himself, as he gets more and more caught up in the psychedelic world of his imagination and spends 'less time' in 'our' world - the last song released while Barrett was still 'self-aware' enough to help promote it, 'Emily Play' sounds like a warning not just to Syd but to the whole 60s generation. It remains one of his and the band's greatest achievements and one of the summer of love's brightest bursting fireworks, caught neatly halfway between happiness and madness. Find it on: 'Relics' (1971),  'Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd' (2001) and the deluxe edition of 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'

How different would the Floyd's life have been if Syd's third go at a hit single [16] 'Apples and Oranges' had sold as well as the others had? Though a firm fan favourite - its switch from funny to menacing is just so Barrett and the whistling guitarwork is his most other-worldly and piercing yet (especially on the rarer stereo mix where it borders feedback throughout instead of just the solo) - it's not as fun or as catchy as 'Arnold Layne' or 'See Emily Play'. Though the early Floyd singles sold so well precisely because there was nothing else like them around, it's probably fair to say that Syd changes a few 'rules' too many for his audience to keep up. No sooner have we established that this is a song about fruit (again with a few references to love thrown in, which suggests to me eating has been equated with love as per 'Candy And A Currant Bun') than Syd is off down hobgoblin land in a spaced out solo that's tied to earth only by the sheer brute force of his own stinging single guitar note. Even after you think the song has come to a soggy heap, full of mock-choirboy harmonies and a line that teases us by not giving us the resolve we expect from the rhyme ('I love she, she loves me, see you, see......you' (as if Syd can't see 'me' anymore). Suddenly, before the line can sink in, Syd's off again. 'Thought you might like to know!' He yells, 'I'm a lorry driver man!', his brain working too quick for us mere mortals to keep pace, rushing down to 'feed the ducks at the Afternoon tide' (the stereo mix, though sadly not the mono, even includes a few quacks from Nick Mason). Had I been there at the time, I'd have labelled this the closest Syd ever came to writing a love song: though he wrote many songs about 'girls' this is the only one that interacts with them rather than judges from afar (see 'See Emily Play'). Syd isn't used to being struck by love and calls it a 'funny thing to do' that makes him 'feel very pink' - though it could be a reference to his band, it seems more like him blushing as his stare at a pretty girl is for the first time in his life met by an equally intense gaze. By the end of the song, though, he's scared here off - 'she's on the run' - and Syd's substituted her for some ducks because at least they're 'meant' to run away. Hearing it in context, as the last 'main' Syd release (with just the sad coda of 'Jugband Blues' to come in terms of his work with the Floyd), it sounds like hi retreating from the world too. He starts the song 'feeling good, shopping at shops', able to afford anything a pop star could want. But by the end the pressure of this weighty, oppressive song sounds too much to hold up and it might be symbolic that he ends his last 'with it' recording with the Floyd wanting to flee it all and get a 'safer' more anonymous job as a 'lorry driver man', the 'squeal' of madness he's been keeping back throughout the song finally given free reign in an ,most uncomfortable last note. The 'apples and oranges' might be his sarcastic comment on the way his 'art' is being sold like other goods, although as ever with Syd he could mean anything (perhaps he'd just fancied some fruit that day - although it might also be worth mentioning here that Syd spent his first acid trip allegedly convinced that the pieces of fruit in his picnic hamper were the planets of the solar system so perhaps the song is more about the cosmos than the smaller things like food or even like life?) Sadly for Syd the song flopped, despite his comments to the press that the new song was their best yet and 'had a touch of Christmas' so it was bound to sell (an odd quote that's puzzled everyone since he made it; perhaps he meant the 'toybox' piano riff played by Rick?) The rest of the band, already worried about their leader's wayward behaviour, really began to get worried now and started to think the previously unthinkable: if they can't make money with Syd then what's to stop them trying without Syd in the band at all?... That's a shame because, while wilder and sillier than the first two Floyd singles this is a great song heightened by a terrific performance that's as good as anything else the Floyd did in their most creative year of 1967. Much under-rated. Find it on: one of the rarer Floyd recordings, it's first real home is the deluxe edition of 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' although it was on a limited edition CD called 'The Singles' with certain copies of the 1990 box set 'Shine On'.

With Syd slowing down, the rest of Pink Floyd had to fill in the gap quickly. Rick's [17] 'Paintbox' - released as the B-side of 'Apples and Oranges' - sounds like the work of a man not used to writing and being told to get on with it in a hurry. It's composer was never that happy with it and Roger loved bringing it up in interviews as an example of why the band had to 'change' from this end-of-Syd period (perhaps forgetting that his own first batch of songs, like 'Corporal Clegg', weren't any better). Actually given the circumstances 'Paintbox' isn't too bad. It's a song very much modelled on Syd's way of writing, even though the composer isn't quite sure why Syd used certain tricks:  full of stop-start sections that don't quite work and a lyric caught halfway between childhood (a 'paintbox' is what a child learns to draw with) and adulthood (asking a girl out - and making a hash of it; this is something that will haunt Rick for a while in his writing, until at least 'Summer '68' from - no not 'Summer '68' but 'mid '70'. ) While less fluid and fun than Barrett's writing, actually 'Paintbox' is a rather good song, Wright as self-deprecating as usual and rattling off his mistakes in between quick gulps of the song's main riff. The rest of the band are superb too, even Roger keeping his chuckles to himself long enough to contribute his best bass part so far and Nick Mason whalloping the drums with an eccentric performance worthy of Keith Moon. The one thing missing from this performance is Barrett's stinging guitar - there is an acoustic, presumably played by Waters, but it's not quite the same. Given the circumstances (Syd on the slide and not much happening from anyone else) this is about as good as could be hoped for and proves for the first of many many times what a talent Rick was if only someone from the Pink Floyd office had nurtured his talents properly. Find it on: 'Relics' (1971( and the deluxe edition of 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn'

Syd didn't often have second thoughts but an early discarded take of [8b] 'Matilda Mother' is a fascinating insight into how much a song changed as Syd worked and re-worked it. The gist of the song is the same as the finished version and includes a few similar lines (the 'Infant Air' and 'scribbled black lines'), effectively a praise of a happy childhood Syd doesn't want to end, pleading for one more story. The ways of getting there are very different though. Instead of a King who ruled the land, we have a boy 'whose name was Jim and whose friends were very good to him', a verse about eating string which ends up 'tangled knots inside' and later the boy getting desperate when something goes wrong off-camera leading him to phone 'London's noble Fire Brigade. If my reading of the original song is correct - and hey it's Syd, who was clearly working on far more levels than my brain is so I may well not be - this is a song that's even clearer about a childhood coming to an abrupt end long before the main character wants it too. Is it, then, about the sudden death of Syd's dad from cancer when he turned sixteen (an age which is already about being forced into adulthood before you're ready)? Was this version of the song - where the childhood obsession of chewing string has repercussions and turns Syd as hard inside as the world wants him to be outside - just a little too revealing for Syd, whose already given most of these lines to Rick to sing? A great song in either version, if anything the band performance of this early take is even tighter, with some gorgeous vocals from Rick doing his usual great work at adding hope to his friend's cynicism and some terrific hard-hitting drumming from Nick. Find it on: First released on the 2007 deluxe edition of 'Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn', this version can also be heard on the 2010 compilation 'An Introduction To Syd Barrett' 

Non-Album Recordings Part #3: 1968

By 1968 and with Syd out of the band it was clear that someone would have to fill the gap. Though Roger already secretly suspected it would be him, Rick was the obvious candidate as the second singer in the band and the closest to a pin-up the Floyd had. Though not as natural a composer as Roger, Rick had already been toying round with songs and wrote [25] 'It Would Be So Nice' very much in Syd's old style. Rick had clearly been listening, as he nails Syd's delight in switching gears without warning and mirroring frenetic urgent backing tracks with riffs that in other hands would make the Floyd sound more like a Herman's Hermits. He even upsets the censors just like his old friend, though less maliciously this time: needing the name of a paper, Rick came up with 'The Evening Standard' not realising that such a paper already existed; though not exactly critical EMI made him change the line to 'Daily Standard' just in case they felt like suing (you can hear him shout the word 'Daily' a little louder if you listen closely). While the band add impressive muscle to the performance and especially the mocking falsetto harmonies, Rick is too nice a chap to want to go into the dark recesses of the mind that Syd once did which gives this song less of a feel of going on a 'journey' than, say. 'See Emily Play' or 'Apples and Oranges'. Most fans gave this song short shrift and like 'Apples' it didn't even come close to the charts despite a (by Floyd standards) concerted promotional attack. Many fans have dismissed it since as worthless, but that's not true: the chorus really grabs your attention (a clever idea to add it at the start as a 'throw-forward'), the 'no one knows what I did today' has a genuine purr and tension the Floyd did so well in this period and some of the lyrics are pretty great too, a typical hippie comment on how mankind is living beneath his potential but put more cleverly than most ('Everybody lives beneath the ceiling, living out a dream that sends them reeling!') Admittedly the novelty 'wooh-woo' roaring twenties riff soon palls but even Syd got that bit wrong sometimes. All in all a perfectly respectable song that even Barrett would have been proud to write, even though - predictably - Roger was said to hate it. Find it on: Good luck tracking this one down! An appearance on the  limited edition 'Singles' CD released with the 'Shine On' box set in 1990 is about your lot!

The scary flipside  [26] 'Julia Dream' features what was quite possibly David Gilmour's first vocal on a Pink Floyd track (barring some shouting on the fade of 'Nice'), his guitar for now still subservient in the sound to Rick's organ and a whole array of scary noises. The song, though, is an early one entirely credited to Roger and features his usual early-days trick of trying to combine a beautiful melody with some threatening lyrics. It's the closest he'll ever come to writing in 'Syd's style and sounds to some extent like he's tying up unfinished business. Julia herself sounds like a close cousin of 'See Emily Play', further in her journey and even further from home. The end result is a song that tries hard to be as childish as Syd always was ('Julie Dream, dreamboat Queen, queen of all my dreams'), but only ends up sounding threatening, possibly reflecting Waters' horror at what had happened to his old friend (he for one always blamed the drugs for Syd' decline, hence perhaps such lines 'as will the misty master break me, will the key unlock my mind, will the following footsteps catch me, am I really dying?' A truly scary finale, full of swampy organ, chattering unintelligible noises and Roger's voice intoning something just out of earshot (which sounds suspiciously like 'Save me!...Syd!...', but Roger has never let on exactly what the words are) makes for one of the creepiest moments in the Pink Floyd canon, a last foray to an increasingly frightening sounding psychedelic landscape before the door is closed for good. Find it on: 'Relics' (1971)

Ridiculing Rick's latest attempt at a single, Roger had a go himself with David in tow (their first landmark collaboration) on Waters' poppiest song [27] 'Point Me At The Sky'. Again Roger's clearly been inspired by Syd here, turning his old friend's key themes of a cosy tradition and an alluring space age into a song about a man's love for his aeroplane. With David becoming a keen pilot later in life (the goggles suit him, as can be seen from the rare promo film), planes will become a key part of the Floyd iconography over the years. However this is still very much a Waters song, dropping the poppier aspects as soon as possible for a rumination over the human condition and how taking to the skies might bring the spell of mundanity ('Playing the game we know'll end in tears, the game we've been playing for thousands and thousands...'). Equating space with time, Roger worries about the population boom and sighs that ';if we survive until 2005 I hope you're exceedingly thin' (funnily enough 2005 is the year of the 'Live 8' Floyd reunion taking a stance against global poverty - how great it would have been if the band had revived this song there!) Sensibly realising that Gilmour has a certain charm and innocence he could never get away with, Roger gives the deeper verses to his new bandmate and unusually keeps the singalong pop chorus for himself. Basically the sound of Roger waving goodbye to himself for several seconds at a time, even this has a certain period charm as Waters spends so long telling us he's going that you start to wonder if he's using a delaying tactic. After all, David's character (given the unlikely name 'Henry McClean' in the song) has been working on this 'dream' for years - what if it doesn't work and comes crashing back to Earth? Though I still say Rick's go was the stronger of the two, this is another great and under-rated song which became even better in live performance when the band add a whacking great instrumental section in the middle and make an even bigger contrast between the two sessions (it was taped in this arrangement for a BBC session in 1969 that sadly still isn't out officially yet; a shame because it's one of the best band performances the Floyd ever gave). Legend had it that after this single flopped the band decided to concentrate on making albums because they clearly 'weren't any good' at writing catchy singles. Actually all six of the early Floyd singles are still amongst the best things the band ever did - certainly the top third at any rate.  Find it on: Good luck tracking this one down too! The 'Shine On' singles disc is about your best bet I'm afraid!

[28a] 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' is Roger's 'breakthrough' moment with the Floyd, a song written not to a Barrett template but one of his own. 'Eugene' is 'merely' an instrumental, the kind of thing that generally gets short shrift on these pages, but the angry unrelenting horror movie vibe, Roger's throat-scalding screams and the descriptive title all point at something a bit deeper than a mere throwaway jamming session. The band really liked this song in fact, keeping it in their setlist long after all the other songs from 1967/68 had died away (it was only taken out to enable the band to play the complete 'Dark Side Of The Moon' live in 1972). There are three other versions doing the rounds all actually better than this one (which hits the accelerator pedal a little too quickly and loses a lot of its menace as a result): a lengthened, slower live version on 'Ummagumma', a studio re-recording made for the 'Zabriskie Point' film soundtrack under the equally descriptive name 'Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up' and the best version, a powerful rollercoaster ride through a concert performance taped before cameras but no audience for the DVD 'Live At Pompeii'. Based around Roger's favourite octave-bouncing bass part and featuring a good use of vocal sound effects from the whole band, 'Eugene' successfully conveys terror, horror and atmosphere through the use of nothing more than an urgent riff, a slow tempo and a title that sounds like a video nastie. Find it on: 'Relics' (1971), with a live rendition available on 'Ummagumma' and a re-recording on 'Zabriskie Point' under the name 'Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up'

Non-Album Recordings Part #4: 1969

There are very few Pink Floyd outtakes around, whether officially or not. While the world still waits longingly to hear the rather food 'Embryo' (an outtake from 1972) the second-best outtake came out as early as 1971 (on the 'Relics' compilation). [23] 'Biding My Time', taped in 1969 a little before the 'Ummagumma' sessions, is a fascinating Roger Waters song, later played live by the band under the title 'Work' as part of their suite 'The Man' (about the daily activities of all of us - although quite which part of my day is best summed up by 'The Pink Jungle I've always been too afraid to ask - perhaps the moment The Spice Girls come on the radio?) 'Biding My Time' though sounds to me, though, as if Roger is thanking his lucky stars that he escaped the '9-5' rat race and ended up in a band, first scowling at and then celebrating his sudden feeling of boredom, because in another life he'd be working too hard to have the luxury of boredom. As a result its important as an early example of Roger thinking along the same lines as the later songs on 'Dark Side Of The Moon' - chiefly when does life stop becoming a rehearsal and starts being for real? Roger starts by sounding bored and listless, with the rest of the band playing what sounds suspiciously like modern jazz. About halfway through though the song all hell breaks loose, thanks to a thrilling mid-pace change that features the whole band playing instruments they didn't actually knew how to play (**). Gilmour's guitar then comes crashing through the middle of the lot of them, a highly charged rock and roll swagger unusual for him and completely changing the mood of the song in one go (the band will re-use this trick on 'Money'). The result is an odd but rather likeable song that really deserved a 'proper' release. Find it on: Relics' (1971)

Non-Album Recordings Part #5: 1970 (Pink Floyd)

Though Pink Floyd recorded at least a dozen songs for the 'Zabriskie Point' soundtrack, only three made the album (with a further four added to the CD release in 1997). The first of these, [  ] 'Heartbeat Pigmeat' is the track that starts the film and seems to have been what director Antonioni most wanted from the band: atmospherics, wordless vocal noises, chopped up extracts from the film and a solid rhythm. It's the sort of thing the band had been doing a lot of in concert by this time, although hearing these songs in the order they were released it still sounds deeply daring and disturbing in context. Though not that powerful here - the incidental music is too intrusive and Rick's Hammond Organ too 'upright' for this sort of a song, while the spoken word bits are irritating - it's a highly important song in the Floyd's development. Nick's pulsed drum beat and the audio verite use of speech both point towards 'Dark Side Of The Moon' while Roger's mumbled echoed phrases are scarier even that 'Eugene'. Find it on: Zabriskie Point (The Original Soundtrack, 1970)

The first real evidence of Gilmour's love for the Laurel Canyon style of music (massed harmonies and acoustic guitars) comes in [  ] 'Crumbling Land', one of the most cruelly overlooked songs in the Floyd catalogue. Sung by Dave and Rock in harmony, it's a case of angelic choir up top while the backing track is a streamlined and catchy a rocker as the band ever played, with Dave's tricky acoustic picking meeting Roger's busy bass head on. Lyrically, too, this does much more than just tell the plot (such as it is): it's the hippie generation represented by the couple in the film giving their reasons for 'dropping out' of everyday life: the man who lives on a hill thinks he's a king surrounded by many 'shiny things, a shiny car, a shiny diamond rings' but he can't fly like the eagle or get 'high' like the hippie and has only a minor grasp of life. A sudden switch to doom-laden blues with Mason's drums heavy and weighty crashes us back to Earth with the scene of a Ford production line with a dealer who 'coughs and dies' himself now that teenagers have seen past the old commercial 'hook' to grab teenagers, the motor car (hippies can travel much further in their mind these days). The 'crumbling land' the title refers to is not what's happening to the hippies in the film at all (badly as things are beginning to turn out for them by this point) but the 'old' world that's so rigid that erosion is breaking it away, while the hippies are free to jump into the unknown ('Here we go, hold your nose and see if something blows!' urges Gilmour, before telling us again to connect with nature and to 'see the sunrise rise'). The track then ends on another, heavier plunge downwards as the world seems to go mad and a van criss-crosses the speakers before apparently crashing into itself (this is taken from the film soundtrack where it's heavily butchered up - it takes places across some five minutes really, compacted to about fifteen seconds here). Many fans think that this song sounds out of place and even Gilmour commented later that he didn't think this song would be used - that Antoninio 'could have got this sort of thing done better by any number of bands'. However it makes perfect sense that a song about what makes the hippie way of life so plausible should be sung in the most contemporary style imaginable (in 1970 CSNY were king, remember) and that it should be a band who'd never tried this sort of thing before embracing the new to enhance the message. Far from being a leftover curio hardly any fan remembers, 'Crumbling Land' is a key song for the film, for the band and for a generation as the high point of hippie hope that already has the grim reality of the commercial world closing in at the very end. An alternate version, still unreleased but a favourite of many bootleggers, skips the 'doomy' bit for a slower and more blissed out version of the 'happier' versions with David and Rick getting an even closer harmonic balance. Find it on: Zabriskie Point (The Original Soundtrack, 1970)

Antonioni hired the Floyd at least partly on the back of 'Careful With That Axe Eugene' so it makes sense that he should get the band to re-record it for his film. The song appears near the end of the film where it's re-titled [ ] 'Come In Number Fifty-One, You're Time Is Up' - a memorable name but one that has nothing to do with the content of the film. The recording demonstrates how much the Floyd have learnt across two years of live performances since putting the 'Point Me At The Sky' B-side version to bed: stretched out from three minutes to five, this version is more mellow and ambient, making the sudden switch of gears into Roger's demonic screams even more abrasive, although he's already hinting at this with a falsetto cry over the first half of the track that in typical Floyd style is beautifully painful. I still think the original version conjures up a little more menace - this version sounds more rehearsed than unhinged - but the Floyd could keep re-recording this track their whole careers and I wouldn't mind; each of the many versions out there has something special and this take is no exception. Find it on: Zabriskie Point (The Original Soundtrack, 1970)

One of the key scenes in 'Zabriskie Point' is a love scene that takes place near the middle of the film, when the two lovers can't keep their hands off each other and turn 'Zabriskie' from a childish hippie film into what was by 1970 a rather adult and X-rated one (marred only by the co-stars clear lack of chemistry and actual dislike of each other). Antonioni was keen on this film and spent a long time trying to work out what he wanted. The Floyd had multiple goes, none of them to his satisfaction, with four 'alternate versions' of the [ ] 'Love Scene' included on the deluxe edition CD set alone. The band's first idea was a gentle piano lick from Rick that's rather retro but surprisingly good, just a few strummed chords away from 'Us and Them' and a rare chance for him to prove his classical qualifications. This can be heard on the CD as 'Love Scene Version Four' - the previous three, not on the CD, are similar but in a sign of things to come have Rick elbowed out of the way more and more by Roger, who starts with a muted and rather tuneless xylophone part that's taken over by the time of version three - a batty idea because the melody gets lost amongst the shimmering echo and ends up sounding like the longest doorbell ringtone in history. Rick is much better alone, with a lovely melodic flow that subtly underscores the emotion Roger tries to underline so ham-fistedly. Someone must have locked Roger safely out the way by the time of version four! Antonioni decided that 'eeet's nice...but eeet's not right' so the band decided to go back to basics and give him what they'd been hired for by the time of 'Version Six' (sadly 'Version Five' seems to be missing, even to bootleggers). This one is more in keeping with the 'More' film soundtrack and features Gilmour upfront playing a gritty Claptonesque blues while the rest of the band vamp uncomfortably behind him (bootlegger's know this one best as 'Alan's Blues' - I don't think it's anything to do with me or my site but if I accidentally invent time travel somewhere along the line I'll let you know). A bit too heavy-handed for such a tender scene, it's a rare miss from the Floyd who were usually good at judging atmosphere in their film soundtracks and at seven minutes more than a bit over-long. Deciding not to ask the band again, Antonioni instead got in touch with the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia who did an hour what Pink Floyd had failed to do in a week, simply sitting down with an acoustic guitar to watch the scene four times and oversee an edit of the best bits from all four takes (all of them included on the deluxe soundtrack CD too). Find them both on: Zabriskie Point (the deluxe CD re-issue 1997)

However it wasn't just the Floyd to blame, as Antonioni also rejected songs and instrumentals that are far superior to most of the music used in the film. The compilers of the 'Zabriskie Point' film don't seem to be aware of it, listing the track we'd known for years as 'Red Queen' as  [  ] 'Country Song', even though the song starts off as purer folk-rock than The Byrds and ends up more heavy metal than Led Zeppelin. To be fair, the CD compilers probably had the rural idyll of the first verse in mind rather than the genre, but that's not really the key part of this song: instead it's a game of chess being played by generations against each other, written with Waters' customary it-says-everything-by-saying-nothing-lyric. The red queen is waiting for the white king to 'make his move' ('and the balance hung upon the head of the one who tried to stay within the shadows'). Skipping out the middle men the white king meets the red queen in private and they hatch a plan of peace together, declaring 'it will be a holiday!' There's also a hint about racism in this song, the two different tribes deciding to combine their colours and so prevent jealousy of either (funnily enough, red and white together make 'pink' - a bit of a Floyd in-joke there perhaps?) Rarely for the Floyd, this track has a happy ending, but no one seems to have told Gilmour, whose guitar gets heavier and louder as the track goes on (sadly a charmingly ramshackle ending, when Roger and Rick drop out early but Dave and Nick are having so much fun they plough on for a further minute or so, is again cut from the official version compared to the bootleg). An alternate take, sadly not yet released, features Rick on harpsichord and Dave on acoustic as an instrumental piece that works rather well and sounds more like period Jethro Tull. Far too good for the cutting room floor, it's a shame the band never returned to this promising song. Find it on: Zabriskie Point (the deluxe CD re-issue 1997)

 Ditto [  ] 'Unknown Song', which bootleggers had come to refer to this track as 'Rain In The Country' after events in the film, so it was a little unsettling for fans to hear this song under a different name after so much time. Another vehicle for Gilmour and his love of Laurel Canyon style music, it starts as a simple 'Dear Prudence' style picked acoustic part (a whole sound 'invented' by Donovan according to him - but then so are at least another dozen styles apparently...), before a more normal electric part comes in over the top and finally a third bluesy part sweeps in from nowhere. Nick's drums join in too about halfway through and finally Roger's bass, though presumably Rick was having a lie down after improvising four straight love scenes. A pretty tune, that had it arrived to Gilmour during the making of a different project might have made for a fine song, it's far too good not to use at least a part of and at four different sections across nearly eight minutes (sadly the CD restricts this to three sections across six minutes, for unknown reasons) this is typically grandiose and Floydian in scope and should have offered the director at least something useable. Find it on: Zabriskie Point (the deluxe CD re-issue 1997)

Other outtakes abandoned during the sessions - and covered in part in our 'unreleased recordings' section near the end of the book - include an early go at the 'Us and Them' melody (for the sequence near the end that breaks out into a riot - trust the Floyd to use their most 'peaceful' song for what became known as the 'Violent Sequence' although Roger seems to have been inspired by the film to write one of his greatest lyrics to accompany it - this was later released as an extra on the 'Immersion' 'Dark Side Of The Moon' set), two minutes of madness that sound like the middle of 'Echoes' without the seagulls twinned with 'The Nile Song' nicknamed 'Fingal's Cave', a harmony drenched 'Crumbling Land' that's slower and looser but with even more frenetic drumming and most charming of all six minutes of 'Oneone', which is a keyboard-and-creepy-voices instrumental a little like the finale to 'A Saucerful Of Secrets'. One day a full album of these odds and ends would make a great little collection filler.

(Syd Barrett)

Meanwhile, the other big Floyd project of 1970 centred around their old star Syd Barrett, who recorded quite a few songs that didn't make the final cut of either solo album but can be found on a slew of re-issues and compilations. Note: technically speaking some of these recordings were made in 1968 and 1969 alongside the released solo songs, but it makes more sense to keep all of Syd's solo recordings together in one year - the one that saw the release of his only two solo albums - so they've all been included here. We haven't, however, mentioned every alternate take out there, largely because they're largely similar to what was released and this section of the book is already getting a bit 'Syd-heavy'. In brief, though, the two alternate versions of 'Octopus', back in 1968 when it was still known as 'Clowns and Jugglers' is a delight, the instrumental of 'Golden Hair' even more beautiful without James Joyce's words and a simpler 'Dominoes' without the overdubs is electric. Most of the rest isn't really that revealing, though.

Though as wayward and madcap as any of his other solo recordings, there's a certain grace and logic about 'Opel' that makes it one of his most palatable recordings, however off-key his vocals get at times. Though Syd, as ever, is speaking in layers this seems to be a song about the worth of jewels if they're scattered across an island no one has ever reached, perhaps also referring to his own isolation and being trapped where no one can find him (that seems to be what Roger thought this song was about: 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' isn't that far removed from this piece). If so then this is a harrowing picture of a man who knows there is no return: 'A bare winding carcass, stark, shimmers as flies cut up meat, an empty way, dry tears...' this is someone who knows he's been left for dead. That doesn't stop him trying to make a connection though, Syd cycling through every last chord he knows as if still searching for someone to share his insanity with and pleads 'I'm trying to find you' with such power that it physically hurts. This song would undoubtedly have been one of the better songs from 'Madcap Laughs' had it been released - instead it became the title track and highlight of Syd's only rarities set. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

'Dolly Rocker' was only ever recorded once for the 'Barrett' sessions before producer David Gilmour decided to pass over it. That was probably a wise move at the time although it's an intriguing snippet for the musical archaeologist, Syd rather defensively claiming the title is 'an old make of dress' and so not as silly as it sounds. Apart from the oft-quoted line 'She's as cute as a squirrel's nut', which Syd makes sound entirely innocent, this is mainly a lengthy description of a girl culminating in a weary last verse where Syd reflects 'Nice to be at home, it's all I'll do - forever'. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

'Word Song' isn't really a song so much as a word association game, again taped only once for the 'Barrett sessions but taken no further. Syd sure knows a lot of big words ('Glaucous' 'Glycerine' 'Gyroscope' 'Ingot' 'Mycean' 'Molten') and even invents one which should be taken up the Oxford English Dictionary right now ('Coral-cold'), but he's lost the ability to put them together to say anything or take any meaning from them. There are no real links between the words that I can see (there are around a hundred in the song - these are just 'highlights') so what it all means or whether Syd just enjoyed these words for the sound they made is a mystery. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

'Swan Lee' sounds like a mess here - a sort of psychedelic surfer's stomp with words about Indians that unwisely features Syd attempting double-tracking, something even our most with-it bands seem to struggle with - but it's the song that after 'Opel' perhaps had the most promise amongst the outtakes. The lyrics juxtapose the urgent activity of as group of Indians for reasons unknown with the peace and solitude of what came after ('The land in silence stands'). However Silas Lang appears to live to write down the tale by the last verse. Is this is another veiled comment on Syd being left behind by the others, switching between the busyness of 1967 and the 'silence' that's stood ever since? Recorded twice, in 1968 and 1969, it's another re-make away from being great. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

'Birdie Hop' is the most unfinished and irritating of the 'Opel' songs. Birdie don't do a lot you see, he just hops alongside Syd's window-ledge; I'm much more interested in the 'antelope rising around a parasol' or later the 'camel who woke up to see the Polish dawn' but alas a line each is all we get before Syd goes back to inventing the birdie dance twenty years early. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)


'Let's Split!' matches a great funky acoustic guitar riff with more wordplay nonsense that sounds like Beatles single 'Hello Goodbye' in its contrast of opposites. Though childish and playful on paper, like many of Syd's works there's a real sense of menace in the performance suggesting that this is masking deeper feelings of being so separated from everyone else he may as well be in a different world, 'out' and 'down' and 'not right'. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

Ominously titled 'Part One' (a part two was attempted but only got as far as the drumming), 'Lanky' is a peculiar free-form jam taped with Jerry Shirley in April 1968 right near the beginning of his Syd's solo 'career'. It's always great to hear Styd's guitar playing and surprisingly he's lost none of his abilities during his difficult few months away, but the jam has nowhere really to go and the other players haven't quite locked into the groove. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

'Milky Way' is another song with promise though, a very Syd-mix of cute and menacing that darts from being a love song into talking about the planets. Recorded for 'Barrett', it's better than a good half of that second album, perhaps left behind because again it seems to obliquely refer to being distant from former friends (Gilmour, as producer, had final say over what to record and include). 'Seems a while since I could smile the way you do' Syd glares, although it would be wrong to call this an unhappy song; all moods are fleeting, tied together by a jaunty acoustic guitar riff that sounds like it should be played on the banjo. 'Give a grasp of life today while you're in the milky way!' warns Syd, whose no longer a 'star' burning bright but has fallen down a black hole. Find it on: 'Opel' (1988)

Passed over for 'Opel' but released on the 'Introduction' sampler twenty years later instead, 'Rhamadan' is a twenty minute song (longer even than 'Dogs' though not quite 'Echoes') that's rather too 'free' a free-form jam session. The closest Syd ever got to jazz, it takes a long time to get warmed up but really gets grooving by the fifth minute and reaches a peak eleven minutes in when Syd starts dissecting his notes and starts playing with a moog, slowing the tempo down. The end result is not unlike the Nick Mason/Carla Bley album 'Fictitious Sports' or Rick's 'Sisyphus; from 'Ummagumma' - which should also give you some idea of just how unlistenable this is. Find it on: though not technically on the 'Introduction To Syd Barrett' CD, the packaging does contain a link to the album website which contains the track for download and - five years on - is still there!

Another Barrett rarity first released in 2001 was 'Bob Dylan Blues', a pre-Floyd pastiche that was recorded near the end of the 'Barrett' sessions. A good natured parody, Syd sounds slightly jealous of the 'poet' whose 'gut and wallet are fat' but whose sold enough songs to 'live like a bird on the wing'. This song sounds less like the more careful and guarded Dylan than the emotional Syd himself though, who is perhaps imagining a future when everyone hangs on his every word and he can get away with acting scruffy ('My hair and shoes are in a mess, but you know I just couldn't care less!') Syd certainly doesn't sound like the reverential 'fan' being told to 'buy all my discs and a hat, and when I'm town go see that!' A nice discovery after so many years of being missing from the Barrett discographies. Find it on: 'Wouldn't You Miss Me? - The Best Of Syd Barrett' (2001)

'Two Of A Kind', performed on a February 1970 John Peel session, is a fascinating little curio. Many fans were impressed by how together Syd sounds on this track, which merges the riff of 'Terrapin' and the drumming of 'Gigolo Aunt' with a bouncy poppy Beatley feel he'd never really attempted before. Syd even sings in tune, twice, growling and singing falsetto in a way that's quite affecting. With no mention of the song made at the time, everyone assumed it was a Barrett song, until being released with the other Peel songs in 1987 where it gets re-credited  to Rick, still working with David as Syd's producer at the time. 'Aha!' everyone went - only this song sounds nothing like Rick's usual work either (except perhaps a slight feel of 'Summer '68' about the nagging riff). When re-used on the 'Wouldn't You Miss Me?' compilation, the song was re-credited back to Syd. When asked which of the pair had written it, Rick is reported to have said that his lawyers told him not talk about it - and sadly it's a secret both men seem to have taken to their graves. A fun, chirpy song that really gets going on the sudden change of key in the middle, this sounds close enough to be a Syd song (who else would sing 'all my blues dispersed' instead of 'falling in love'?) but also a Rick song ('I hope you don't mind, but I love you - we're two of a kind!') to be either; perhaps a Syd song that Rick finished? If so then Syd ought perhaps to have collaborated earlier - this song has a catchier commercial feel that makes it easier on the ears than most of his songs without losing his distinctive personality either. Ironically enough, this track which mirrors both writers is a song about finding your soul mate and realising how similar you are after years of fearing you were alone! Find it on: 'The Peel Session' (1987) and 'Wouldn't You Miss Me? - The Best Of Syd Barrett' (2001)

Non-Album Recordings Part #6: 1974

Unsure quite what they'd done to create what would prove to be the highest selling record of the 1970s, the Floyd went through a period of real uncertainty across 1974. Effectively they came up with two different ideas for their new record before coming up with the 'absence' theme of 'Wish You Were Here', both of which proved to be dead ends - but interesting dead ends. At first Roger's re-action to the fame he'd been looking for all his life was sarcasm, heard on the two audience-baiting numbers performed live by the Floyd that year, 'You've Got To Be Crazy' (which later turned into 'Dogs' on 'Animals') and 'Raving and Drooling' (which later turned into 'Sheep') and can both now be heard on the deluxe 'immersion' set of 'Wish You Were Here'. Sample lyric: 'You gotta keep everyone docile and fit - you got to keep everyone buying this shit!'

This was a last minute replacement for an idea that had never really got past the design stage and has been laughed at ever since as unworkable, but if any band could have got it to work it was the Floyd. Tired of performing their usual roles on their usual instruments and having successfully incorporated spoken word into their last album, next the Floyd decided to make an album using no 'real' instruments at all but utensils all of their fans could use if they'd tried (the idea may have been inspired by Roger's showdown with the 'Live At Pompeii' film director, playing devil's advocate, who asked whether the band were over-reliant on technology and whether any band could play it as well at the push of a button: Roger's largely unprintable response was that they probably couldn't). Two songs were 'finished', although I'd like to think that both are only works in progress for words and melodies to be added later. The most complete of these is [  ] 'The Hard Way', an intriguing title which suggests Roger already had some works to go with its slightly menacing air. The sound of someone (probably Roger) walking round the studio in heavy boots, matched with a tightly pulled elastic band, it's livened up immensely by the addition of a two note riff played using rubbed wine glasses (an idea Paul McCartney had already half-turned into song back in 1970). We then hear what sounds like Nick hitting some tiles and later doing a bit of sawing (the Floyd had once memorably taken a load of work-tools to a gig for their 'Man' suite in 1970, where it covered the section known as 'work' and segued - sort of - into 'Biding My Time'). Though the description of all this is admittedly rather daft, it works well such as it is with enough happening to catch our ears and a strong enough tune to keep the momentum going (though the marcher must be getting very tired by the end!) You'd have to know what the rest of the piece would have been like to pass judgement (could the Floyd ever have spent the painstaking time needed to make a whole album this way?) but it's one of the more inventive moments on the 'Immersion' boxes. Find it on: 'Dark Side Of The Moon' (Immersion Box Set 2011)

[  ] 'Wine Glasses', meanwhile, is the start of what became the opening to 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' before Rick's mournful synthesiser riff got added. So familiar are we fans with the 'finished' piece, that it seems oddly wrong yet strangely compelling to hear one of the layers removed. It's fascinating just how much of the main riff really is played by the 'wine glasses' and the long slow switches of note from one to another, panning across the speakers, has a very hypnotic and spiritual feel to it. Though most fans think 'Household Objects' was the stupidest idea ever, the two extracts we've heard so far suggest it really could have worked, although the man hours needed to complete it might well have caused the band to self-destruct even quicker than the album they made. Find it on: 'Wish You Were Here' (Immersion Box Set 2011)

Non-Album Recordings Part #7: 1979-81

'The Wall' was another of those Pink Floyd albums that only came together late in the day - so late that famously [  ] 'What Shall We Do Now?' was booted off the album so late in the day that it's lyrics still appear on the album's inner sleeve where it was originally supposed to go (instead of 'Empty Spaces', an inferior song that effectively uses the same tune). Goodness knows why it got the boot: 'Now' might well be the best of Roger's many 'list' songs, a punchy 90 second rocker that helps make 'The Wall' less about 'Pink' and more about 'us' or at least the generation Pink represents (it speaks volumes to me that it's here, half an hour into the Wall live shows, where Roger finally acknowledges an audience - typically speaking to the English audience in German on the 'official' CD of the tour). What used to be the hippie dream of love and peace has been slowly turned from a fight against the system into a way of being turned into society's pets, offered comfort and crumbs in return for keeping quiet. This has left Pink and all those like him with 'empty spaces' that can never be filled: 'Shall we buy a new guitar? Shall we buy a more powerful car?' sneers Roger at his finest, as he imagines a life of workers doing more and more to get these comforts such as doing more work hours 'straight through the night'. He turns his ideas on the 'peace' movement too, in an era when there were more wars going on than ever, with life a cycle of 'dropping bombs on the East' and 'contracting disease' in trying to undo the damage. No wonder everyone, Pink included, has stopped communicating: what is there to say that isn't a lie anymore? Roger lists the ripples caused by this effect: 'Take to drink, go to shrinks, give up meat, rarely sleep, train people as pets...' Building to a giant crescendo he reveals how all of these material comforts we've traded our souls away for are nothing of the sort and mean that we can never truly relax, with 'our back to the wall', trying to protect what little we have. So much more important than 'Empty Spaces' (which is just yet another song about Pink's complex love life), this is one of the most thrilling moments of both film and live shows and really, really needed to be on the album. This is, after all, the first realisation of the 'hole' that Pink's going to be filling for the rest of side two, all of side three and a good half of side four before he finally makes good on the realisation here. The live version, especially, features a far more united Floyd than normal too, with some blistering guitar work from Gilmour, power drums from mason and some genuinely inventive Hammond riffs from Rick making the Floyd sound just like the old days. Find the live version on: 'Is There Anybody Out There? - The Wall Live' (2000)

Another song exclusive to the live performances of 'The Wall' was [  ] 'The Last Few Bricks', performed right near the end of the first act where it slots in nicely between 'Another Brick In The Wall Part Three' and 'Goodbye Cruel World'. Written as filler out of necessity when it was realised that, with the best will in the world, the stage 'builders' couldn't always cue the last brick in time for the last note of the first act, it's a great practical way round the problem, a medley full of riffs heard across the rest of the piece. The Floyd had reportedly rehearsed a seven-eight minute version in case they needed it, full of multiple cycles, but in the end the longest ever performed was the 3:26 version released on the 'official' CD in the millennium. Starting off with an immediate reprise of 'The Happiest Days Of Our Lives' (which segues nicely out of 'Brick'), the song becomes a showcase for the choir to be heard in act two and a great showcase for some of Gilmour's rippling guitarwork. The song then segues into the main theme of 'Young Lust' for a few bars before taking a left turn into a blistering guitar version of 'What Shall We Do Now?' and finally collapsing into the bass octave pings and synth criss-crosses of 'Goodbye Cruel World'. It's a clever piece of work, much under-rated, and should perhaps have been in the work from the beginning as a way of re-inforcing the album's main themes before the halfway point, Pink perhaps remembering all the things that have brought him to the brink of suicide. Find it on: 'Is There Anybody Out There? - The Wall Live' (2000)

Non-Album Recordings Part #8: 1981

EMI wanted to cash in on 'The Wall' as quickly as possible so asked the Floyd for a compilation album. Roger, probably wisely, refused to have anything to do with the project and promptly delegated it to Gilmour. For the most part Dave stuck to the obvious songs from the past three albums, with slightly altered edits and mixes to create interest and to fit some of the Floyd's longer songs onto one slab of vinyl. However he faced a pretty major problem: the band only had access to songs from 'Wish You Were Here' onwards due to a complication in the way that the band had passed over from EMI subsidiary Harvest to the main label itself (the two labels were seen as far more separate entities in the US). With no option, Gilmour decided to re-record the popular Dark Side track [  ] 'Money' as closely to the original as he could. Though the song uses the exact same arrangement, the same sound effects and as close as Gilmour can get to the same vocal and guitar delivery, there's something that makes this second attempt sound like a 'hack' recording, where the first was born out of inspiration. Gilmour is already singing this song like he's stopped thinking about what it means (though he's not as far removed as he sounds on the 80s and 90s live Floyd albums) and though technically his lengthy guitar solo may even be superior, it lacks the soul of the hungry young wannabe who really believed in every note with passion. Not that it's just Gilmour's fault: the bass stand-in lacks Waters' authority on the bluesy bass riff, while Nick and Rick's contributions are a little heavier-handed this time around. The result is ironic: a song about the evils of 'Money', ruined by the evils of money as the only reason for this song to be here is so that the band could sell a few extra copies. Find it on: 'A Collection Of Great Dance Songs' (1981)

Non-Album Recordings Part #9: 1983

Written for the 'Wall' album but never used, Roger was keen to make [  ] 'When The Tigers Broke Free' the centrepiece of 'The Wall' film in 1982. You can see why the song so appealed to Roger that he wanted to make a 'statement' with it - of all the songs written about the death of his father at Anzio, this is the most graphic, autobiographical and moving. Roger sings with an ice-cold heart over a lovely warm-hearted melody that's perfectly suited to the brass band backing (and which, surely, is where the inspiration for the Star Trek Deep Space Nine signature tune came from!) Roger intones, as if he's reading out some old war diaries, only his father Eric Fletcher Waters and his allies (The Royal Fusiliers Company Z) aren't war heroes but cannon fodder, sent knowingly to their deaths (as a conscientious objector ordered to the front on pain of death, his dad wouldn't exactly have been looked after). Split into two by the film, in the split between 'third person' and 'first person' narrators, the single version is more powerful for combining the two: this isn't one tale, this is one of many tales, making the loss more personal than just some other dry statistic. The Anzio is held, but 'for the price of a few hundred ordinary lives', Roger's dad's loss marked only by a scroll sent to his mother by 'Kind Old King George' which in the film young Pink finds hidden away in a drawer. In the third verse the scroll seems to have been already stamped before the push happens - 'volunteered' for the mission due to their earlier refusal to fight, Roger reaches breaking point as he yells that 'there were no survivors from the Royal Company Z'. For this he blames not the 'enemy', but their own troops who didn't even acknowledge them: 'most of them dead, most of them dying', reaching a peak of pure bile as Roger drops his reverence to scream 'That's how the high command took my daddy from me!' Though many fans and indeed the rest of the Floyd didn't like this song (it's the one track they really objected to using on 'The Wall'), it's one of Waters' strongest anti-war songs, Roger finally brave enough to stop treating his dad as a metaphor and musing on his loss head-on. Unbearably sad, it's the peak of a cycle that's been running in Roger's songs ever since 'Free Four' back in 1972 decided that actually war wasn't such a good thing. Though less suited to 'The Wall' than some other songs (it is the one piece that makes Pink's story very much Roger's, rather than just a rock star of his generation - there's arguably more autobiographical detail about Syd than Roger across most of the work) and a real curio as a single (where, predictably, it flopped despite being the official sequel to the massive hit 'Another Brick In The Wall'), 'Tigers' is an important piece that gets overlooked far too often and should perhaps have been on 'The Final Cut', whose sombre orchestra it better resembles. As a postscript, after years of singing about it, Roger finally visited the spot where his father fell in 2014 after being in touch with a rare survivor who saw how and where his dad had been gunned (Roger was a little over hasty in declaring 'no survivors' in this song, although there certainly weren't many). Find it on: some (though not all) CD re-issues of 'The Final Cut' and 'Echoes - The Best Of Pink Floyd' (2001)

One of the songs that did make the 'Final Cut', as it were, was [  ] 'The Hero's Return', a nice but brief song about the Teacher trying to adjust to life after the war and taking it on cruelly the boys in his care who so represent life while all he can think about is the death of his own childhood peers. The second verse, which like so many passages on the album, arrives in stop-start fashion after a brief respite in the song, is featured only on a B-side (to 'Not Now John')  and is even madder and sadder, adding a touch of inner humanity screaming away inside.  The 'missing in action' lines run as follows: 'Jesus Christ I might as well be dead! I can't see how dangerous it must be feel to be, training human cogs for the machine, without some shell-shocked lunatic like me, bombarding their still soft shores, with sticks and stones that were lying around, in the pile of unspeakable feelings I found'. This verse isn't necessary to enjoy the song but it does add an extra layer of complexity: this isn't just a song about a bully and why he's a bully, but the bully realising he's become a bully and yet who feels powerless to be anything else. Find it on: Some, but not all, CD copies of 'The Final Cut'

Non-Album Recordings Part #10 (Roger Waters)

The first song written for 'Radio KAOS and which inspired the whole story', typically, wasn't released there but as a B-side long after the fact (to 'The Tide Is Turning'). [  ] 'Get Back To The Radio' makes a nice counterbalance to 'Turning', about the power of music to inspire and make a difference. Roger calls his childhood radio 'an ember glowing in the dark' and thinks that the troubles of the late Floyd days have dimmed it's spark so that it's 'almost grown cold'. Being told that he's 'too old' to be on TV, and anyway 'I will not be a packet of crap on MTV', this also seems to be Roger coming to terms with the fact that his draw as a solo artist is much lower than it was with the Floyd. Roger is incensed that people care about his appearance than what he says but he thinks that he feels a growing trend 'back to the radio', urging Bob Geldof to 'get on with it'. Alas a nice idea is like much of 'KAOS', ruined by a cold-blooded arrangement that makes what should be a warm and revealing song sound as bad as the rubbish empty pop songs Roger aims his attack at. The tempo is also so slow and not in a good way. Find it on: the 'Tide Is Turning' single (1987)

Released as the exclusive flipside to 'Radio Waves', [ ] 'Going Back To LA' is in many ways a better song, less reliant on period technology than most of the album. The plot follows on, though Billy's name swaps with Benny quite often, an innocent naive caught at the point where his family are in trouble (the story, apparently, is that his dad's been locked up for being part of the 1985's miner's strike, though good luck trying to work that out from the lyrics!). He's more fussed about the policeman kicking protestors, though, while his family deny that there's anything 'goin' on', though Billy/Benny is too smart to deceive.  Eventually Billy is packed out of the way, sent to a rich uncle who lives in LA and told all the reasons why his new life will be better, full of coded warnings about all the evils waiting for him. The album makes a lot more sense with this album added somewhere in the second half, actually, although it's still more of a plot device than a song. Find it on: the 'Radio Waves' single (1987)

[  ] 'Molly's Song' was also originally part of the 'KAOS' story, though no studio recording ever seems to be made. The song was however performed live by guest singer Doreen Chanter, complete with opening Billy and DJ dialogue about hacking into computers. Set, like 'LA', in the time of the miner's strike, this is a simple song about the pain of a mother missing her child and sounds dangerously anonymous and clich├ęd without any sign of the usual Roger Waters touch in the song except for his beloved switch of gears midway through. Chanter sounds awful, though to be fair she's not exactly given vintage material, and unlike the other two flipsides, shockingly this song seem to have been left off Roger's worst album because it simply wasn't good enough. There is one great line at the end though as Molly waves farewell to Billy's camera monitors: 'Goodbye little spy in the sky, they say that cameras don't lie!' Find it on: the single 'Who Needs Information?' (1987)

Non-Album Recordings Part #11: 1998 (Roger Waters)

Though Roger's solo best-of 'Flickering Flame' came packed with lots of rarities, the rarest of the lot was a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door', recorded for the even rarer film 'The Dybbuk Of The Holy Apple Field' (an updated Biblical story filmed in present day Jerusalem, which is more interesting than it sounds but not by all that much). At the risk of knock-knock-knocking Bob, I've never felt that Dylan was up to Roger's level as a writer and that this oft-covered slowed down dirge was one of his bigger mistakes anyway. Goodness knows why Roger felt the need to cover it (this is, I believe, the only cover song of his career and you'd have expected it to be more cultish and obscure somehow) and he doesn't exactly cover himself in glory with a lazy over-echoed vocal that only adds the tiniest bit of emotion compared to the original anyway. The stars here are Waters' girl chorus, who add the punchy gospel strength Waters lacks and Doyle Bramhall III who adds another tasteful Gilmour pastiche on the guitar work. I wouldn't go out of your way to hear it though: Roger would have sounded much better tackling something else like, say the 'sarcasm of 'It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding'.  Find it on: There is a soundtrack album apparently though I've never seen it (Roger only provides this track though - everything else is film music by Rick Wentworth) (1998) - you can also hear it on Roger's 'Flickering Flame' (2002)

Non-Album Recordings Part #12: 1999 (Roger Waters)

A much better film soundtrack song was 'Lost Boys Calling', heard over the end credits of the Italian film 'The Legend Of 1900'. The tale of a gifted pianist who was found abandoned inside a ship and brought up hiding from the authorities, returning to live on ship when he can't take living in the 'real' world but overwhelmed by guilt at not being able to save his friends and family when the ship is shot down. You can see why the story would have appealed to Waters, similar to his own 'Wall' story and touching on Syd's tale again and he turns in a song that arguably outclasses the film and is easily the best of his soundtrack scores. A promise that he isn't really 'gone' ('I would not leave you here alone') presumably from the dead musician himself switches to another character in the modern era who can still hear the music recorded by the doomed houseband and the 'lost boys calling' in the silence. Roger even slips a verse more akin to his own story about his lost dad in towards the end, referring to the First World War that takes place largely off-screen ('The men were gone until the West was won...You never took us fishing, dad, and now you never will'). However while the version of the song used in the film itself is one of Roger's better productions, with a lovely warm vocal and a tempo just the right side of slow, the rather overblown demo version - which is to date the only one available officially on record - is something of a slog. Roger's voice cracks, the synths are that bit too heavy (oh for Rick Wright about now...) and only Waters could make a demo sound too cluttered and full of things happening. The wrong version of the right song got used here... Find it on: 'Flickering Flame' (2002)

Non-Album Recordings Part #13: 2000 (Roger Waters)

The lone 'new' song released on Roger's live set 'In The Flesh?' (and still never given a studio recording) is the big finale 'Each Small Candle'. Built around the same premise as most of 'Amused To Death' (i.e. utterly miserable and terribly long, but undeniably right and with a surge of hope near the end), it fits well after the run of songs from that album bravely tucked away till the end. The opening is atmospheric and makes better use of the backing singers than most songs played that night, taking nearly two minutes until the vocals start. Though another of Roger's 'listing' lyrics, it's a stronger example than some in his canon. It sounds like a great last speech being delivered by someone so the higher powers can hear him, perhaps at an execution or in a last interview from his cell. Roger tells us that he's frightened of nothing and no one 'but the blind indifference of a merciless, unfeeling world'. Roger can't help it - his heart breaks every time he sees one human being acting nastily towards another: a woman with a small infant on a bombed Albanian farm who never did any harm to anyone. But hope is at hand and not all men are evil and ignorant. Roger sees a soldier from the other side, 'the enemy', stopping to comfort her despite the risk of court-martial if he's found and getting a timid smile and a tiny wave when his troops depart, grateful for the crumb of comfort. In Roger's eyes the bigger acts can be stopped if we keep up these small acts of kindness, with 'each small candle' represented by each 'bleeding heart', lighting a 'corner of the dark'. A lengthy final verse brings the song to a crescendo with the list of all the dominoes that might topple from this one act: the children who are allowed to be children not soldiers, where the grip on the world by 'desperadoes' slips and falls, where science makes even the greatest and mightiest of men feel small and humble. Like a few of the lesser songs on 'Amused' the melody isn't quite up to the power of the lyrics and rather floats along, lacking the sting the song feels it deserves (though that might just be down to the fact this is a live recording and therefore harder to handle and get right). However it's another fine Waters rant that chooses it's targets with care and bodes well for the next rock/pop Waters album - if we ever actually get one that is...Find it on: 'In The Flesh' (2000) and 'Flickering Flame - The Solo Years Volume One' (2002)

Non-Album Recordings Part #14: 2001
(David Gilmour/Roger Waters)

If you ask me, plinkty-plonk pianist turned TV presenter Jools Holland has a load of dirt on some great people. How else would people agree to keep coming back to his TV show 'Later...' for some of the most cringe-worthy interviews ever or agreeing to make cameos on his curiously small sounding 'big band' albums? He must have a whole file on Gilmour, who rarely appears on any programme but seems to be forever on Jools' shows. Anyway, probably the worst recording in this whole book is the moment Gilmour went to Holland, as it were, to record a guitar part for a cover of 'I Put A Spell On You' alongside other guest Mica Paris (the biggest mis-match since Sonny and Cher). A noisy, over-produced production and a vocal that even at 'rest' makes Clare Torry sound like she's thinking about dinner more than death on 'Great Gig In The Sky', the only thing that stands out is Gilmour's classy lead guitar work. Unfortunately though there's not much of it: after an ear-catching opening he largely goes to sleep. Small world, big band, waste of time and talent. Just as well George Harrison was on the same CD, then, because there's no way I'd allow two Jools Holland albums in the house. Find it on: Jools Holland 'Small Word, Big Band' (2001)

Meanwhile, though Roger's compilation 'Flickering Flame' featured lots of rarities it only actually featured one truly 'new' song, 'Flickering Flame' itself. An unusual country-rock song, with a truly wretched vocal from Roger trying his best to sound like he comes from Nashville rather than Cambridge, it's a sequel of sorts to 'Each Small Candle'. Roger, in the middle of a messy divorce to his second wife, dreams of a future when he'll be free of obligations but then starts worrying about saying goodbye to the countryside he's grown to love nearby. He seems to start having hallucinations where the cast of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' appear out of nowhere till the police escort them away (for not being 'real'?) but then Roger then starts thinking of American Indians, vowing to fight down to 'my last gun' to make sure the land won't be taken away from him. In another sudden shift Roger's imagining his own calling to the great gig in the sky and imagines it happening while he's watching a hip and happening band play while eying a pretty girl - this musician, if you will, amusing himself to death. Just as he starts to feel desperate, so he's reminded about all the good things in life and starts to enjoy himself instead, with the song changing tack from country-rock weepie into a genuinely uplifting track. Roger even begins to list again, a sure sign that he's feeling more himself: 'When a new song strikes the right note, when a clearing sky saves an old boat, when an instrike smites the mote from thine own eye, just out of sight and beyond the next range, I feel the heat of a flickering flame'. Not the best Waters track by any means with the first half needing at least another re-write, but like a few other of these post-'Amused' tracks there's a half-decent record here if you ever fancy putting this 'missing' songs together.   Find it on: 'Flickering Flame' (2002)

Non-Album Recordings Part #15: 2004 (Roger Waters)

Still the last 'normal' (i.e. non opera) songs by Roger a decade on, [  ] 'Leaving Beirut' and sister song 'To Kill A Child' were released as a limited edition single in Japan and available for download from Roger's website elsewhere. An update of  'The Final Cut' and 'Amused To Death' for the 9/11 era, this song recalls a trip the teenage Roger took with his friends the first time his mum allowed them out with the car. Hitch-hiking across Europe, Roger eventually ended up in the Lebanon, where he was greeted with warmth and kindness by the locals who still looked up to the English following the exploits of World War Two. Painting the picture of a country who have little but were happy to share it with foreigners, the young Roger is awed and slightly dumbstruck by their keen-ness to offer lifts and give up their beds to sleep on the cold hard floor. This though is the past, made to feel like the 'present' thanks to a spoken word part that's in the present tense and suggests that Roger had already written at least this part of his long-awaited autobiography by 2004. Using his favoured switches of tempo, Roger next has Europe bombing the hell out of his former friends, comparing their warmth with our coldness and asking for God's sake why: 'is the bombing a punishment or a crime?' In the song's best line Roger reflects on how the English were once greeted as heroes, but is now just a US stooge' before sarcastically debating the extent of George Bush's education in a verse that sounds like a coda to 'Pigs (Three Different Ones)'. Next up its Blair's turn: 'Not in my name Tony, you great war leader you, not in my name, terror is still terror whoever gets to frame the rules'. Alas the end of the song turns into a list again, of all the things about America that are great, before triumphantly shouting 'don't let the Christian right fuck it all up for you and the rest of the world!' Response to this song, bravely performed each night on Roger's US tour that year, was mixed, getting frostier the further South he went. It's also caused controversy since, with many people detecting a touch of anti-semitism in Roger's pro-Lebanese, anti-Israel comments. As the song makes clear, though, Roger has seen the Lebanon first-hand and knows that even if the world leaders have muffed things up the people he met, now innocent victims, are unlikely to have changed so much in the intervening years. To my ears Roger's always been careful to be a lot more pro-Lebanon than anti-Israel (fascinatingly the 'side' Nick and by association Dave 'picked' on the 1985 'Profiles' album) and always anti-war, but that hasn't stopped him causing controversy wherever he goes. Find it on: Roger's website (2004)

At a mere (!) three minutes compared to its companion's twelve, [  ] 'To Kill A Child' feels like a much flimsier song. Performed with the same nearly-contemporary edge of 'Radio KAOS' Roger recites rather than sings and tells the story of a child in bed to the soothing tones of a Donald Duck nightlight. We're clearly meant to think he's from the West, until the bombs break in and reveal that he's living in the East and just happens to like Donald Duck and doesn't know or care about the differences between the two worlds. As so often happens, Roger sees the young as a blank slate that gets 'filled in' by society and claims, quite reasonably, that it's having his town destoyed and his family killed that turn him against the Western world. Roger also demands why he too might die in a bombing campaign with a series of rhetoric questions: greed? envy? because they can? Alas a promising idea is lost underneath an anonymous tune, faceless production and the worst Waters vocal yet, smug and off-key. Find it on: Roger's website (2004)

Non-Album Recordings Part #16 : 2007 (Roger Waters)

Opening with a child's repeat of the question once asked of Pink on 'Comfortably Numb' (Is there anybody in there?), Roger again tells the world that he loves us all but that he doesn't know why he bothers sometimes when none of us seem to be flipping listening. [  ] 'Hello I Love You' is Roger declaring that children are smarter than adults - they've picked up the emotions that their parents have grown blind to on the news and claims that denial isn't good enough anymore. Mentioning his past in an attempt to get more people to listen, Roger claims that the modern world drives us all mad and that he'll join us there 'on the dark side of the moon', but first e have to actually acknowledge what's going on. An ugly, angular guitar riff gives way to more Waters shouting on a track that makes him more than ever to be a 'grumpy old man' : 'Shut the shop, make the technobabble stop!' he implores, before worrying about the next generation 'who will have to separate from our past' if they are to escape turning into the same themselves. All this is typical Waters, then, but not exactly typical children's film fare, where this song no doubt gave the viewers of the film 'The Last Mimzy' (about a soft toy rabbit who turns out to be an undercover alien) sleepless nights despite the oddly comforting name. Find it on: 'The Lazt Mimzy' (Soundtrack Album) (2007)


Non-Album Recordings Part #17: 2009 (David Gilmour)

Though David Gilmour has always done lots for charity, especially to help the homeless, it's rare that his concerns have appeared in his music - traditionally he's long taken the view that moaning about injustices was Roger's job. 'Chicago' is the one exception, a spirited cover of a Graham Nash song that was recorded partly as a 'thankyou' for the Crosby-Nash guest appearances on 'On An Island' (you can hear Graham's original on his 1971 solo album 'Songs For Beginners', written for the Chicago Seven who were locked in chains and prevented from speaking at their own trial over a bomb plot). The best tribute Nash could have hoped for, though, was another politically aware, injustice-baiting record with this cover recorded to raise money and awareness for  Gary McKinnon, a Scottish computer hacker who faced 70 years in an American prison for, effectively, interfering with American computer systems to show how rubbish and unprotected their systems were. More of a part time hobby than a concentrated attack to take down the American Government, the talk of sentences and teeth-gnashing in the United States were well out of proportion for the crime. David and his fellow guests, The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde and our old pal Bob Geldof aren't exactly built for murderous rage and compared to the original they come off a little flat, especially given the modern production values. It's a typical reserved English cover of a snarling American track, not with-standing the fact that Graham is Mancunian (he was more American than the Americans by 1971!) However they both suit a song that's more blues-based than most CSN tunes, with a pulsating repetitive organ part that's perfect for Gilmour's snarling guitar lead and a plea that it's not too late to change the world. Gilmour even changes the lyrics, presumably with permission: 'Won't you please end up in London and join us side by side!' A nice re-paying of a debt that Gilmour had owed to the CSN songbook since the days of 'Fat Old Sun' and 'Crumbling Land'. Find it on: a download only single (there was never a B-side if you're wondering!)

Other Floyd related articles from this site you might want to take a peek at:




‘Obscured By Clouds’ (1972) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/pink-floyd-obscured-by-clouds-1972_3681.html

‘Animals’ (1977) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pink-floyd-animals-1977.html

'The Wall' (1980) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-76-pink-floyd-wall-1979.html

'The Final Cut' (1983) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/pink-floyd-final-cut-1983.html

'A Momentary Lapse Of Reason' (1987) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2013/12/pink-floyd-momentary-lapse-of-reason.html

'Amused To Death' (Waters) (1992) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/review-96-roger-watters-amused-to-death.html

The Best Unreleased Pink Floyd Recordings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/the-best-unreleased-pink-floyd-songs.html



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