11:44 AM GMT 21/05/2013
Yet there followed in some ways the most fascinating period of the band's career as, between 1968 and 1971, they strove to find a sound and a style with legs. Of the many paths they tried - psychedelic freakout, film soundtrack, symphonic splurge, themed multi-part epic, standard songform - some turned out to be dead ends but all resulted in unique, amazing music and all in some respect fed back into the choices - beginning with the Meddle album in 1971 - that came to define their mid-'70s mastery.
Pink Floyd expert Mark Blake tells their switchback story, illustrated by rarely seen shots of the group in Amsterdam in 1968 and augmented by insights from famous Floyd fans including The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne. Think of the following audio-visual cornucopia as your soundtrack...
1. Astronomy Domine, 1968
There was, and always would be a home for Pink Floyd on French TV. Here they are on Bouton Rouge with Syd Barrett only recently on his Bike, and David Gilmour looking a bit uncomfortable in the spotlight.
2. Corporal Clegg promo, 1968
Roger Waters' saturnine, war-themed ditty (they'd have to get used to that) indicated that life after Syd would be "heavier". Terrible lip-synching all round.
3. Let There Be More Light, 1968
September 7, 1968 and our heroes are playing A Saucerful Of Secrets' episodic opener at Le Bilboquet, Paris. Feel sorry for the young Parisians trying to find a groovy beat at 1.30...
4. The Committee, 1968
Floyd's first soundtrack effort was for director Peter Sykes's peculiar Carroll-meeets-Kafka fantasy about a serious young swinger (Paul Jones - not bad at all) who SPOILER ALERT! decapitates a fellow with a car bonnet and appears to think little more of it. Enjoy the band's tape-FXy intro, their augmentation of various shadowy administrative doings (around 12.23) and experimental, incidental weirdness to close (from 41.33). Kazoo features.
5. Cymbaline, 1969
"It's groovy," insists the anti-heroine of Barbet Shroeder's drug-soaked hipster-odyssey, More, as she gets down to Floyd's soundtrack highlight. Also enjoy the almost Can-esque title theme...
6. Royal Festival Hall rehearsal, 1969
In April 1969, Pink Floyd presented two themed opi - The Man, and The Journey - neither of which would ever emerge on an official Pink Floyd album. At one stage they would saw wood and hammer nails onstage, but here they noodle their way through a fascinating rehearsal.
7. Moonhead, 1969
The BBC asked the group to play live as they broadcast footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing. They duly jammed on segments of The Man (see above), marking Pink Floyd's inaugural trip into what Waters called "inner, not outer space".
8. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun / Careful With That Axe, Eugene, 1969
Falling back on a pair of live favourites at Festival Actuel in Amougies, Belgium, on October 25. At 7.10, Roger Waters seems uncannily prescient of Gerald Scarfe's screaming heads in The Wall.
9. Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up, 1970
The final, explosive scene from Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, as accompanied by a close relation of Careful With That Axe, Eugene. Crumbling Land is probably Pink Floyd's superior contribution to the soundtrack, but the question remains: "Who shat upon the cat?"
10. The Body, 1970
Roger Waters and Ron Geesin collaborate on a whimsical score for Roy Battersby's sexy, adventurous bio-documentary, with as many sounds as possible body-generated. Geesin was soon to return to provide orchestral arrangements for Atom Heart Mother's side-long title-track.
11. Grantchester Meadows, 1970
Roger Waters' Atom Heart Mother reverie, as performed on One Hour With Pink Floyd a live special from San Francisco's PBS-style TV channel, KQED.
12. Embryo, 1970
Captured at August 8's St. Tropez Music Festival, France, another live regular that never made it onto wax (although a shortened version later appeared on Harvest's prog-tastic Various Artists comp Picnic: A Breath Of Fresh Air).
13. Atom Heart Mother, 1971
Austrian beats and freaks enjoy Floyd's polarizing epic, mit Orchester!
14. Echoes, 1971
Meddle's wondrous apogee serves as the centerpiece of Adrian Maben's groundbreaking concert film, Pink Floyd: Live At Pompeii - or, if you prefer your Echoes with a splash of H2O... . Give us a ping, Rick!
Selected and annotated by Danny Eccleston
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 5:26 PM GMT 28/01/2013