PINK FLOYD-CRE/ATION: THE EARLY YEARS 1967-1972.

PINK FLOYD-CRE/ATION: THE EARLY YEARS 1967-1972.

One box set that divided opinion during 2016, was Pink Floyd’s The Early Years 1965–1972. It featured eleven CDs, DVDs, blu-ray discs, vinyl, and memorabilia. There was everything from unreleased material to live recordings and non-album singles. The Early Years 1965–1972 was marketed as the most comprehensive overview of the first seven years of Pink Floyd’s recording career. However, it came at a price.

That price was £375. The Early Years 1965–1972 was the most expensive box set of recent years. This was bound to divide the opinion of even the biggest Pink Floyd fans.

Pink Floyd fans were divided. Many Pink Floyd had no qualms about buying what was a comprehensive overview of the band’s career. There was twenty-five hours of music on a variety of different formats. This had never been released before. For fans who had followed Pink Floyd’s career for over fifty years, this was a must-have box set. This was a once in a lifetime purchase. Other Pink Floyd fans weren’t so understanding.

Indeed, from the moment The Early Years 1965–1972 was announced, their had been outrage among Pink Floyd fans. They took umbrage at the price point. Some tried to calculate how much each item would cost individually. Having done so, they decided that The Early Years 1965–1972 wasn’t value for money. Even when each item was taken into account. Some Pink Floyd fans felt they were being exploited. 

2016 had already been an expensive year for Pink Floyd fans. During 2016, Pink Floyd’s albums were being rereleased on vinyl. Despite having bought the albums several times on different formats, many Pink Floyd fans dug deep and bought the reissues. Unfortunately, there have been reports that a small number of copies of the reissued albums were faulty. So when The Early Years 1965–1972 was announced and the price set at £375, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

To make matters worse, on 5th November 2016, six days before the release of The Early Years 1965–1972, an announcement was made via social media that proved somewhat embarrassing for Pink Floyd. Due to an error, The Early Years 1965–1972 would included an extra disc, Live At Pompeii.

The Live At Pompeii CD had been placed inside the Volume 6: 1972: Obfusc/ation box set, instead of the 2016 mix of the Obscured By Clouds album. As a result, a copy of Obscured by Clouds was included separately in a plastic wallet. It was an embarrassing mistake, and one that critics of the pricing The Early Years 1965–1972 gleefully pointed out. 

By then, rumours were doing the rounds that The Early Years 1965–1972 wasn’t the only way to hear most of the material in the box set. These rumours proved to be true. What Pink Floyd were intending to do, was release the six of the seven volumes separately. Only the seventh volume wouldn’t be released. This meant that everyone had the opportunity to hear most of the music on The Early Years 1965–1972. It was idea that should’ve been applauded.

Many people had no interest in the DVDs, blu-rays or singles. All they wanted to hear was the music on the seven volumes. So releasing the six volumes was the next best thing. Meanwhile, many people were happy to make to with another two CD set that was released by Pink Floyd Records on the 11th November 2016, Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972.

This was the equivalent to a sampler, that featured some of the highlights of The Early Years 1967–1972 box set. A total of twenty-seven tracks had been chosen and feature on the two discs on Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972. This was an important period for Pink Floyd.

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Their recording career began when they realised The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn on the 4th of August 1967. It reached number six in the UK and 131 on the US Billboard 200. This resulted the album being certified gold in Britain and later, in America. For Pink Floyd, this was the start of forty-seven year recording career. During this period, Pink Floyd released a total of fifteen albums, two soundtracks and three live albums. Sadly, one of Pink Floyd’s founders, Syd Barrett only played on their first two albums.

Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd swan-song was A Saucerful Of Secrets, which was released on 28th of June 1968. It reached number nine in the UK and was certified silver. Sadly, by the time the album was released, Syd Barrett had left Pink Floyd. 

His mental health had been deteriorating since mid-1967. This continued right up until the end of 1967. By then, Syd Barrett’s mental health was deteriorating. He was one of the earliest musical acid casualties. One of music’s potential greats would be reduced to playing a minor role on Pink Floyd’s sophomore albums.

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 A Saucerful Of Secrets.

That was tragic. Syd Barrett had written the majority of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. He played a reduced role on A Saucerful Of Secrets. Syd Barrett wrote just the one song, and left the band later in 1968, before the album was completed. Pink Floyd were reduced to a quartet.

By then, Pink Floyd’s lineup featured Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Rick Wright and David Gilmour. He was the most recent addition, joining in January 1968. However, Pink Floyd only played as a five piece between the 12th and 20th January 1968. That would be the lineup of Pink Floyd that featured on the other albums Pink Floyd released between 1967 and 1972.

Just a month after the release of their sophomore album, Pink Floyd contributed Interstellar Overdrive to the soundtrack of Tonite Lets All Make Love in London. The soundtrack was released on 8th July 1968. This must have stimulated Pink Floyd’s interest in soundtracks.

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More.

Pink Floyd’s next album was More, which was released on the 13th of June 1969. More was their third album and their first venture into the world of soundtracks. They had contributed just one track to Tonite Lets All Make Love in London. This time, though, Pink Floyd wrote the entire soundtrack to More. It reached number nine in the UK and 153 in the US Billboard 200. However, in France More reached number two and was certified gold. Since then, More has been oft-overlooked and is without doubt, one of Pink Floyd’s most underrated albums.

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Ummagumma.

Later that year, on 25th of October 1969, Pink Floyd returned with their first double album, Ummagumma. It was a mixture of live material and tracks recorded in the studio. This proved to be the most popular album of Pink Floyd’s career. Ummagumma reached number five in Britain and seventy-four in the US Billboard 200. This resulted in a silver disc in Britain, gold discs in France and Germany and a platinum disc in America, where Ummagumma sold over a million copies. Pink Floyd were now well on their way to becoming one of the biggest bands in the wold.

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As the seventies dawned, Pink Floyd returned to the world of soundtracks. When the soundtrack to Zabriskie Point was released in February 1970, it featured a trio of tracks from Pink Floyd, Heart Beat, Pig Meat, Crumbling Land and Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up. The latter is a rerecording of Careful with That Axe, Eugene. However, later in 1970, Pink Floyd returned with their first studio album of the seventies, Atom Heart Mother.

Atom Heart Mother,

When Atom Heart Mother was released on the 2nd of October 1970, it gave Pink Floyd their first number one in Britain. Atom Heart Mother reached fifty-five in the US Billboard 200, becoming the highest chart placing of any Pink Floyd album. Elsewhere, Atom Heart Mother was proving to be the most successful album of Pink Floyd’s three year recording career. It was certified gold in Britain, America, Austria, France and Germany. However, for Pink Floyd, things were about to get even better.

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Meddle.

Just over a year later, Pink Floyd released Meddle on the 5th November 1971. It reached number three in Britain and seventy in the US Billboard 200. Again, Meddle sold well across Europe, North America and Australasia. Meddle was citified gold in Germany, two times gold in France, platinum in Britain and double platinum in America. Pink Floyd were now one of the world’s most successful groups.

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Obscured By Clouds.

To some extent, the success continued when Pink Floyd released Obscured By Clouds on the 2nd of June 1972. It was based on the soundtrack to the French film La Vallée, which was directed by the Iranian director and producer Barbet Schroeder. He had asked Pink Floyd to provide the soundtrack to La Vallée. Pink Floyd agreed, and the result was Obscured By Clouds. Despite reaching number six in the UK and forty-six in the US Billboard 200, the album was only certified silver in Britain and gold in America. However, the period between 1967 and 1972, which is documented and celebrated on Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972.

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Disc One

Disc one of Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972 opens with two of Pink Floyd’s best known tracks from the early part of their career, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play. There’s also 2010 remixes of Matilda Mother from The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Jugband Blues from A Saucerful Of Secrets. Another of the 2010 remixes is the rocky jam In the Beechwoods. It’s never been officially released before, and is a welcome addition to disc one. However, the decision to remix these tracks will divide opinion. Some Pink Floyd fans will see this as sacrilege. Others will see it as an interesting exercise. Having said that, remixing albums which seems to fashionable is another matter.

Paintbox was originally recorded for The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. However, it never made it onto the album, and made its debut on the 1971 Relics compilation. When The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn box set was released in 2007, Paintbox was included. Its psychedelic sound is a welcome addition to Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972. 

So too is the 1968 single Point Me At The Sky and the B-Side Careful With That Axe, Eugene. There’s also the version of Embryo that featured on Harvest Records sampler Picnic. However, one track many people could’ve lived without is the US Radio ad for Ummagumma. It interrupts the flow of disc one, is a disappointing inclusion.

A welcome addition on disc one are a quartet of tracks Pink Floyd recorded for a BBC Radio Session, on 12th May 1969. Back then, the BBC had the best equipment and engineers. They ensured that the recordings made were of the highest quality. That is apparent on Grantchester Meadows, Cymbaline, Green Is the Colour and Careful With That Axe, Eugene. These tracks show how Pink Floyd had matured and evolved as a band. They were better songwriters and musicians, and were a much tighter unit. That’s apparent on the version of Interstellar Overdrive that was recorded at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, during August 1969. It closes disc one of Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972.

Disc Two.

The first five tracks were written and recorded for the soundtrack to Zabriskie Point. However, only three tracks made it onto the original soundtrack. Even when Zabriskie Point was reissued, On The Highway, Auto Scene Version, The Riot Scene, Looking At Map and Taking Off weren’t included. These versions however,aren’t the original versions. Instead, they’re the  

Zabriskie Point remixes. Some Pink Floyd fans may have preferred the original version, but the remixes give them an opportunity to hear these long lost tracks. They’re among the hidden gems in Pink Floyd’s back-catalogue.

Among the other tracks on disc two are an alternate version of Embryo, which was recorded at a BBC Radio Session on 16th July 1970. There’s also a version of Atom Heart Mother live at Montreux, on the 21st of November 1970. Nothing, Part 14 which is seven minutes long, is described as work-in-progress. It was recorded in 1970, and is an interesting addition. One can’t help wonder what it might have become if it had been completed? The other three tracks on disc two are 2016 remixes. This includes Childhood’s End, Free Four and Stay from Obscured By Clouds. These remixes allow the listener to compare and contrast to the original. Good as they are, most Pink Floyd purists will prefer the original. Having said that, these remixes are a taster of what can be found within the The Early Years 1965–1972 box set. 

Maybe the twenty-seven tracks on Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972 will persuade some Pink Floyd fans to purchase The Early Years 1965–1972 box set. However, it’s a limited edition, and there’s every chance the box set will soon sell out. Many people however, will be put off by the price point. 

They may decide not to upgrade their copy of Cre/ation:The Early Years 1967–1972. Some may decide to buy the six volumes separately. However, that will depend upon the price point. If it’s too high, many Pink Floyd will forego copies of the forthcoming six volumes. That is understandable. There is only so often that a band can go to the well. 

After a while, fans of any band, including Pink Floyd begin to feel like a cash cow, whose raison d’être is to top up the pension fund of their heroes. That’s a sad state of affairs, and a long way from when Pink Floyd were formed in what was a brave new musical world. Maybe though, Pink Floyd will have learnt from their mistakes with the pricing of The Early Years 1965–1972 box set, and the six forthcoming volumes from the box set will be priced reasonably. Ideally, the price point would be the same as most legacy box set. This would be the perfect way for Pink Floyd to thank their loyal fans who have bought fifteen albums, two soundtracks, three live albums and nine compilations. The most recent Pink Floyd compilation is Cre/ation:The Early Years 1967–1972. With its singles, B-Sides, unreleased tracks, remixes and live tracks it’s a tantalising taste of what’s in-store in for Pink Floyd fans on the The Early Years 1967–1972 box set and the six forthcoming volumes that will be released later in 2017.

PINK FLOYD-CRE/ATION: THE EARLY YEARS 1967-1972.

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