Friday, August 5, 2011

Pink Floyd Releases Piper at the Gates of Dawn: August 5, 1967

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The original Pink Floyd: left to right – Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, and Richard Wright

Note: This post revised on January 6, 2012, in honor of the birthday of Syd Barrett (January 6, 1946).

Pink Floyd’s debut album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, tops the Dave’s Music Database list of the best psychedelic rock albums of all time. Critics are generally in agreement. The album has become known as “one of the seminal psychedelic rock albums.” WK Rolling Stone called it “the golden achievement of Syd Barrett,” WK the band’s leader at the time. Q magazine described it as “indispensible” and All Music Guide’s Steve Huey “ranks it as one of the best psychedelic albums of all time.” SH

Click photo for more about the album.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn successfully captures both sides of psychedelic experimentation – the pleasures of expanding one’s mind and perception, and an underlying threat of mental disorder and even lunacy.” SH “This duality makes Piper all the more compelling in light of Barrett’s subsequent breakdown.” SH Before “psychedelic drugs got the best of him, and he abandoned the band to bassist Roger Waters and new guitarist David Gilmour,” BA Barrett piloted “the band through unprecedented sonic excursions.” BA “The lyrical imagery of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is…full of colorful, childlike, distinctly British whimsy, albeit filtered through the perceptive lens of LSD.” SH His “catchy, melodic acid pop songs are balanced with longer, more experimental pieces showcasing the group’s instrumental freak-outs, often using themes of space travel as metaphors for hallucinogenic experiences” SH such as in Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive.

Pink Floyd would soldier on without Barrett, creating some of the premiere rock albums of the 1970s with gems like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. However, it was the band’s first time out when they made this psychedelic masterpiece.


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