Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Shine On You Crazy Platinum

Happy New Year and welcome to the first post of 2016! I am having some weird computer issues and can't play music on my PC, but that doesn't mean I can't share music!
They call the 70th anniversary the platinum one, in advance of the diamond on the 75th. Today would have been the 70th anniversary on Earth of one of the primary architects of psychedelia and the founder of one of history's greatest bands.
Drugs derailed him almost immediately, and he died young at 60, but not before he set into motion what could accurately be termed a musical revolution whose implications still resonate today.
Before he came on the scene, things were moving in the general direction he was pointing towards, but not with the confidence and vision he displayed. He wasn't built to mime the same song on American Bandstand for the 47th time in a row, and he had serious issues with dangerous, mind-altering substances, so he didn't last very long in music... but while he did, he altered the entire landscape of what was possible and permissible.
He initiated and piloted one of the most impactful and important groups ever to pick up instruments, even though he only lasted for a single, unbelievable record, nearly all of which he wrote. He made just three albums on his own... one of which wasn't released until decades after his supernova had faded away. Most people under 40 do not know his name,  even as they enjoy the fruits of the labor he inspired and helped conceive.
Not many people could say they are the parent of something or someone significant to the grand scheme of things, but then not many people were Syd Barrett, himself arguably the father of Psychedelic Music. Words don't describe the legacy of the band he started -- he named it Pink Floyd, after the Blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council -- and their inaugural, magical record The Piper At the Gates of Dawn
Recorded down the Abbey Road Studios hall from and at the same time (and released the same day) as the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's opus, there is no overstating what the first PF album means and what it signaled as far as a left turn in music. There were certainly stirrings of psychedelia before it, but for its time it was possibly the most mature, dazzling debut statement ever made by a Rock band. It regularly and deservedly occupies the upper echelons of whatever Top Albums Ever list you're wanking today.
It lasted the better part of a year before drugs and fame made him so out there that his bandmates just "forgot" to pick him up for a gig one day, and of course the rest is history.... they even made a whole record about him. He died at the too young age of 60 ten years ago from diabetes, but in musical terms the threads he began will live forever plus one day, exercising a vast and acknowledged influence over artists from David Bowie to Jimi Hendrix and on into modern and future times.
To celebrate the life of this most madcap genius, I've got a heaping helping of most of the available video and film footage of the man, all shot in 1967 during Pink Floyd's meteoric rise to prominence. It was constructed from the best possible sources by the team at Harvested, one of the pre-eminent PF archival fan labels, and it provides as good a snapshot as anything of what Syd's little revolution was all about.
Pink Floyd
Video Anthology
Volume 1, Revision A (1966-1967)

01 "Syd's First Trip" (music: Remember a Day)
Home Movies
Gog Magog Hills, London
Summer 1966
8mm home movies of Syd’s first mushroom trip filmed by Barrett's friend, film student Nigel Gordon, in the Gog Magog Hills in the summer of 1966. The footage on this DVD has been edited to an early instrumental version of Pink Floyd’s Remember A Day.

02 Interstellar Overdrive
03 Nick's Boogie
London 66 - 67
Sound Techniques Studios, UFO Club & Unknown Venue, London
1.11.1967 / 12.30.1966 & Early 1967
Live in the studio performances of Interstellar Overdrive and Nick’s Boogie filmed for Peter Whitehead’s Tonight Let’s All Make Love In London documentary. This footage is intercut with live performances at UFO and an unknown venue.

04 Interstellar Overdrive
Scene Special: It’s So Far Out, It’s Straight Down
UFO Club, London
A live performance of Interstellar Overdrive filmed at the UFO club for the Granada TV documentary Scene Special subtitled It’s So Far Out, It’s Straight Down.
Broadcast on 2.7.1967.

05 Untitled Instrumental
unknown venue, London
Early 1967
A live performance of an untitled instrumental was filmed by underground filmmakers Diane and Sheldon Rochlin for their cult film Dope.

06 Untitled Instrumental
Die Jungen Nachtwandler
UFO Club, London
A live performance of an untitled instrumental and the general scene at UFO was filmed by German TV to be included in the one-hour documentary Die Jungen Nachtwandler.
Broadcast on the Bayerischer Rundfunk TV network on 7.3.1967.

07 Arnold Layne
Wittering Beach, UK
late February - early March, 1967
A promotional film for their first single. Filmed at Wittering Beach on the south coast of England by Derek Nice, this promo premiered at the UFO club on 3.10.1967.

08 Home Movies (music: See Emily Play)
Abbey Road Studios, London
April, 1967
8mm home movies filmed outside of Abbey Road Studios and on an unidentified beach. The footage on this DVD has been edited to the band’s second single, See Emily Play (edited version by HRV Records).

09 Arnold Layne
Bouton Rouge
The Netherlands
An alternate black and white promotional film for Arnold Layne was shot in Holland and featured on the French TV show Bouton Rouge.
Broadcast on ORTF2 on 5.21.1967.

10 Pow R Toc H
11 Astronomy Domine
Look of the Week
BBC Lime Grove Studios, Shepherd’s Bush, London
Live performances of Pow R Toc H and Astronomy Domine followed by Syd and Roger being interviewed by Hans Keller for the TV show Look of the Week.
Broadcast live on BBC2 TV.

12 Scarecrow
British Pathe News
Suffolk, England
A colour promotional film for Scarecrow was featured in the British Pathe News which was syndicated throughout the ABC cinema circuit in the summer of 1967.

13 Apples and Oranges
American Bandstand
ABC Studios, Burbank, California
A mimed performance of Apples & Oranges was featured on American Bandstand followed by an interview with Dick Clark.
Broadcast on the ABC network on 11.18.1967.

14 Untitled Instrumental
Tomorrow’s World
Stanhope Gardens, Hampstead, London
The Pink Floyd were filmed at former landlord Mike Leonard’s house for an edition of the BBC show, Tomorrow’s World. The band performed an untitled instrumental to accompany a demonstration of Mike’s sound and light experiments.
Broadcast on BBC1 TV on 1.17.1968.

15 Jugband Blues
Central Office of Information
December, 1967
It was reported that this film was being viewed by the band at the Central Office of Information on 9 December, shortly after this song was recorded, for inclusion in a cultural exchange variety show.
Recording date and location are unknown.

bonus clips
01 Interstellar Overdrive
film: San Francisco, 1968
music: 10.31.1966
Anthony Stern developed the concept of the impressionistic documentary with the making of this BFI financed film. The film features a very early version of Interstellar Overdrive as performed by Pink Floyd.
Recorded at Thompson Private Recording Studios on 10.31.1966.

02 Scarecrow (outtakes)
British Pathe News
Suffolk, England
Outtakes from the Scarecrow film.

Total time: 1:11:58
bonus clips: 16:00

Syd Barrett - guitar, vocals
Roger Waters - bass, vocals
Richard Wright - keyboards, vocals
Nick Mason - drums

latest revision of a 2011 NTSC DVD from the Harvested label
The Harvested folks did a bang-up job assembling this and honestly it plays as a great window into European TV in the mid-1960s even if you have no interest in the tunes. But as a document of the earliest manifestations of Pink Floyd and a look at what they were with Syd at the helm, it is just north of indispensible and I'd heartily encourage you to pull it down and see for yourself. As you do, remember what music was before 1967 and what it became afterwards, and don't forget that today's birthday boy, troubled as he was, had more than a little to do with making that transformation a reality.--J.
1.6.1946 - 7.7.2006

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