Pink Floyd – The Early Years

by John Holbo on November 16, 2016

When I was in high school I had a friend who was ga-ga for early Floyd, who infected me with that bug. Piper At The Gates of Dawn and Saucer Full of Secrets. Syd Barrett solo – not a lot of that, but we got what we could get. I laughed in Doctor Strange when “Interstellar Overdrive” came on. Nice homage to the Strange homage on the album cover. So if money is no object, you would naturally buy the insane, ludicrous, absurd box set that just came out. But money is an object. So just re-listen to those old albums again any old way, and listen to the really interesting NPR interview/DJ session with Nick Mason (the drummer). Bob Boilen: where did your unique drum style come from? Nick Mason: I was trying to sound like everyone else. And the equally interesting interview with Joe Boyd, co-manager of the UFO club where the Floyd were a kind of house band for a brief time. (I only now learned it’s pronounced ‘eupho’ – oh, I get it. A pun.)

Then listen to some Leonard Cohen. Then return to our previously scheduled post-election despair. Under the fold, Bowie’s cover of “See Emily Play”:



Gabriel 11.16.16 at 9:09 am

I think Cohen’s ‘You Want It Darker’ is Cohen’s best album since ‘Various Positions’, and it seems I’m not alone. The poetry of a man struggling with the tattered remnants of past relationships, an always-tattered relationship with God, and a death he knew was not far off. As above, so below. Pure alchemy.

How rare is it that an 82 year-old artist dies and the first thing one mourns is those never-to-be great albums now lost forever?


Nick 11.16.16 at 3:52 pm

I think that Dr. Strange is on the cover of A Saucerful of Secrets, not Piper . . . but it’s been many years, not sure.


dn 11.16.16 at 5:04 pm

You Want It Darker is a masterpiece. I just about cried when I heard Cohen sing the line: “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap”.


mrearl 11.16.16 at 7:22 pm

It is a fine thing to be said of you that you were doing some of your best work at 82 and even with the end in sight. As fine as can be.


Lee A. Arnold 11.16.16 at 7:52 pm

John have you ever heard anything by Porcupine Tree? Steven Wilson started out in the Floyd sound and it evolved into some great stuff. He has long since branched out into several projects. The following rocker is hands-down one of the best tracks of the last 15 years, everything from crashing guitars to interludes with quiet voice part harmonies. He did two versions. This best one is hidden without mention on the Deadwing CD, a full 5 minutes after the last listed track ends. I found it by accident, not turning off my old CD player.

“Shesmovedon” (2005)


tarylcabot 11.16.16 at 10:43 pm


tarylcabot 11.16.16 at 10:45 pm

Previous comments – sorry about the formatting, but I’m not used to using HTML quotes. was trying to just highlight your quote about “insane, ludicrous, absurd”


Hal 11.16.16 at 10:50 pm

Gabiel @1,

Yes, alchemy. And – to my mind – another confirmation that the Nobel people picked the wrong bard for their 2016 prize.


John Holbo 11.17.16 at 1:36 pm

Wow. I just listened to that new Leonard Cohen album. If that isn’t album of the year, then there’s some other really really good album out there. I’m amazed. Why can’t I be a baritone like that? (But I’m not willing to die for it, just to be clear.)

Is there some chance that Leonard Cohen is still alive and trying to communicate but no one can hear him because his voice is so low that only dogs and whales can hear it now? Maybe there should be a second opinion?


mrearl 11.17.16 at 10:21 pm

Though Leonard’s is probably better, in fact there’s at least one other really good album out there. I’d recommend your attention to the Drive By Truckers’ “American Band.”

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