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11 March 2011

On this day in history: First Pink Floyd single released, 1967

In 1965 bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Richard Wright, and guitarist/vocalist Syd Barrett formed the Pink Floyd Sound. Over the course of the next two years the quartet's style developed from straight rhythm and blues to extended instrumental experimentation. The more psychedelic sound meant that the band became a popular fixture of the London underground music scene, particularly at the short-lived UFO Club on Tottenham Court Road.

On 29th January 1967, they recorded a number of songs at the Sound Techniques studios in West Hampstead, funded by Joe Boyd, co-founder of the UFO Club, and the band's booking agent, Bryan Morrison. The tracks recorded included a version of "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Arnold Layne", for which they also filmed a promotional video (seen below). Two days later they signed to EMI records for a £5,000 advance as The Pink Floyd.

On 11th March 1967, EMI released Pink Floyd's first single with "Arnold Layne" on the A-side and "Candy and a Currant Bun" on the B-side, both written by Barrett. "Arnold Layne" managed to reach number 20 in the UK charts, in spite of some radio stations banning it because of the song's rather risqué subject matter. The song told of the activities of a transvestite who acquired women's clothes by stealing them from washing lines. Barrett based the Arnold on a real person who stole garments from the washing lines of his and Water's mothers, both of whom took in female students as lodgers.


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2 comments:

Con Artist Trickster said...

Pink Floyd is one of the most brilliant bands in the world, musically and artistically. I still remember how magnificent their Wall concert was.
And it's not a surprise that they were already controversial since their very first single release.

Stepterix said...

Thanks for the comment. I am a big Floyd fan too. I nearly wore out my tape of The Wall.