Pink Floyd: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Labor Day weekend, I'm on the go, so just a quickie here -- Pink Floyd's legendary debut.

Though I'd heard a little of the band's music during my pre-teen indoctrination into classic rock radio, it was the release of The Wall in 1979, when I was 13, that I became a huge (one might say obsessive) fan of the band, working my way backwards to Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, etc. It was only after getting my arms around 70's-era Floyd that I picked up the debut (as part of a 2-LP package called A Nice Pair, which coupled it with the follow-up, A Saucerful of Secrets).

I knew I was to expect something entirely different from the "classic" run of 70s albums, given that the debut was the largely the work of Syd Barrett, who departed shortly thereafter in the midst of an LSD-abetted mental breakdown. But I was still surprised by just how different it was, a blend of Barrett's whimsical psychedelic pop (like the joyfully goofy "Bike" and "The Gnome" and "Scarecrow") and a couple spacier tunes ("Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive") that would dominate the band's sound in the wake of Barrett's replacement by David Gilmour. (Oddly enough, the double-LP vinyl I originally purchased inadvertently included a later live version of "Domine"; it wasn't until I bought the CD years later that I heard the original, superior Barrett version.) A personal fave at the time, and ever since, was the wonderful "Lucifer Sam," a fun little slice of catchy psyche-pop built around a basic but enduring blues riff.

It's a wonderful and unique album, still fascinating all these years later, and the sort of record where I'm sure everyone who owns it has some story about their discovery of it. (My only knock on it is that, like a lot of British albums of the era, the contemporaneous singles were left off the record; just how imagine how perfect this would have been with "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" appended.)

Anyway, have a great weekend, and here's some Syd.

"Lucifer Sam":
And a live, Syd-less "Astronomy Domine":