Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) - little did anyone know at the time . . . .
Pink Floyd (with Syd Barrett) – little did anyone know at the time . . . .

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Pink Floyd In Session For Top Gear – December 19, 1967 – BBC Radio 1

It’s hard to convey, some 47 years later, just how much of a revelation it was, listening to Pink Floyd for the first time. In 1967 they were bending ears and blowing minds under the direction of Syd Barrett, the driving force and guiding light behind the band. They went beyond expectations and took Psychedelia to new heights. And at the time they were considered just a little too weird for most tastes. And they were controversial. Their first 2 singles were busy being banned from various radio outlets. See Emily Play was thought to be about masturbation and Arnold Layne was thought to be about a cross-dresser. Both songs raised eyebrows, but were just popular enough to sustain the band and create a need for more.

Sadly, the period Syd Barrett was with the band was painfully short. Drugs and coming mentally unhinged were in danger of destroying the band. So rather than fall apart, Syd was quietly replaced and then removed. And even though he was no longer with Pink Floyd, his presence has been felt, to one degree or another, for the rest of the band’s history. Syd went on to a solo career, but that didn’t last long either. And Syd faded into seclusion for the rest of his life.

So, frustratingly little of Pink Floyd during those early days has either been preserved, reissued or discovered. Occasionally a tape surfaces, made by a fan who just happened to be recording the BBC at the time. But most of the Pink Floyd sessions (and there were not many), either didn’t survive or were taped off the air by fans with a full gamut of results.

This session, recorded in December 19, 1967 features Pink Floyd in session for the Top Gear Program, hosted by John Peel. It’s made the collectors rounds over the years, and most of those tapes are in pretty bad shape. In recent years a better copy has surfaced, made by another radio fan, who managed to do a good job. And even though it wouldn’t be considered for an official release, as a historic document of a band during pivotal days, and playing two songs which were never officially released, it’s essential.

In case you aren’t familiar with this period of Pink Floyd, and the inestimable contributions Syd Barrett made, these are the four tracks from that session:

1. Vegetable Man
2. Scream Thy Last Scream
3. Jugband Blues
4. Pow R. Toc H.

It’s always been a source of endless speculation what Pink Floyd would have been like, had Syd Barrett not left and had they continued in this direction. Maybe it would have ended up the same way. Maybe there never would have been Dark Side Of The Moon.
Maybe they would have gone off in different directions and done other things.

At least during Syd’s time with the band, the possibilities were endless.

Play loud.

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