Saturday, 15 January 2011
Pink Floyd - Singles and Compilations
When Pink Floyd issued “Dark Side Of The Moon” in 1973, it established them as leaders of the Prog Rock scene. “DSOTM” was not so much nine (or ten, depending on which version you have) songs, but rather two long suites of music. Here was an album to listen to, in order, from start to finish. You do wonder, had CD’s been around then, whether or not the band would actually have made it all into just one long song. Although an edited version of “Money” appeared as a single in the US at the time, there were no singles from the LP in the UK. In fact, the Floyd had not released a single in their home country since 1968, and would not do so until 1979.
And yet, at the start of their career, the band had been quite prolific at issuing 45’s. They released no less than five singles in 1967/68, and with one exception, the material on these singles consisted of songs that were not included on any Floyd album at the time. But for some reason, unlike other “heritage” acts, the band seem to have avoided any real attempt at including these songs on most of their compilation albums. Even today, of these nine “rarities”, two are still only available on CD in a box set which retails at £100+. In this blog, I will look at all of the band’s UK singles, and how most of their compilation albums actually created NEW rarities, rather than providing a home for the existing ones.
The Early Singles
For the record, the five singles that the band issued at the start of their career were:
Arnold Layne/Candy And A Currant Bun (DB 8156)
See Emily Play/The Scarecrow (DB 8214)
Apples And Oranges/Paint Box (DB 8310)
It Would Be So Nice/Julia Dream (DB 8401)
Point Me At The Sky/Careful With That Axe Eugene (DB 8511)
"The Scarecrow" was lifted from the band’s debut LP, “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” - everything else on these 45‘s were exclusive to the format. The first two singles were fairly sizeable hits, but from “Apples And Oranges” onwards, the singles sold poorly and failed to chart. As a result, there became a desire in later years by fans to try and get hold of these songs, and the value of those later singles rose quite significantly as years passed by.
The first attempt to try and compile some of the nine rarities was on a European only LP called “The Best Of The Pink Floyd”. It included all but two of these rarities - neither side of the “Point Me At The Sky” 7” was included. The version of “It Would Be So Nice” was a radio version featuring a reference to “The Daily Standard”, the original version - I am reliably informed - referred to the London newspaper “The Evening Standard” and this radio version was created at the request of BBC for fear that this would otherwise be seen as advertising on a commercial-free station. One sided promo copies of “It Would Be So Nice” apparently feature a shorter mix, by the way. So, six rarities and an “alternate” mix was a good start. A 1974 reissue of the album called “Masters Of Rock” used a new stereo mix of “Apples And Oranges” instead of the original mono single mix, but despite a stereo mix of “Julia Dream” being in existence by this point in time, the mono single version was used again on the reissue.
The first UK LP to compile some of these rarities was 1971’s “Relics”, issued in the UK on the EMI budget label, “Starline”. Housed in a variety of different sleeves worldwide, the original UK version came in a textured white sleeve, with a pen and ink sketch by drummer Nick Mason on the cover. On the face of it, “Relics” was a bit of a hot-potch of songs - A sides, B sides, album tracks, and even a previously unreleased song in the form of “Biding My Time” - but look closer, and you could see that some thought had gone into the tracklisting. The band’s debut single, “Arnold Layne”, opened the set, side 1 closed with a B-side, “Paint Box”, and “Bike”, which closed “Piper”, also closed this LP as well. As well as “Arnold Layne”, another A-side “See Emily Play” made the set, whilst three of the four B-sides - “Julia Dream”, ”Careful With That Axe Eugene” and the aforementioned “Paint Box” all appeared, but new stereo mixes were used instead of the original mono mixes from the singles. Furthermore, a track lifted from “Piper”, “Interstellar Overdrive”, faded out early - making this version a good five seconds shorter than the original LP version. “Relics” is considered still to be one of the most important Pink Floyd best-of’s, which explains why it was reissued in a new cover, along with the rest of the band’s back catalogue, on Cassette and CD in the mid 90s. It's also worth noting that "Arnold" and "Emily" appeared not in their original mono form, but in simulated stereo on both the original LP version and the reissue - a common practice in the early 70s.
As the 70s progressed, no attempt was made to compile the missing rarities onto a compilation LP. “Careful With The Axe Eugene”, despite being a B-side, was now one of the more well known songs from the early singles, having appeared in live form on 1969’s “Ummagumma” as well as “Relics“. It was also featured in the 1972 film "Live At Pompeii", and had even appeared in alternate form on a soundtrack album to the film "Zabriskie Point".
1979 And Beyond
In 1979, the band released their first UK single for over a decade. “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” was lifted from “The Wall”, where it was segued into from “The Happiest Days Of Our Lives”, and then segued into “Mother”. The track was therefore altered for the single - the ending faded out early, whilst the intro was actually altered by including a now famous guitar riff before the vocals started. The b-side, “One Of My Turns”, also differed to the version originally on “The Wall”.
In 1981, the band released the ironically titled “A Collection Of Great Dance Songs”, consisting of mostly quite well known Floyd tracks. Of the six songs on the LP, all of them - in their original album form - cross faded into or from other songs, so everything on the LP would have a new start or ending - or both. “Another Brick” was included, but was a curious hybrid of the single and album mix - it included the guitar intro from the 45, but faded out later, whilst “Money” was a completely new recording. In the US, the band were now signed to Columbia, and the label who owned the rights to material from “DSOTM”, Capitol, refused to licence the track to the band‘s current label. Lead singer Dave Gilmour simply got round this by re-recording the song himself, playing everything on the new version except the saxophone solo. The collection therefore succeeded in creating even more rarities than was in existence before, but is thankfully still available on CD.
In 1982, “The Wall” was made into a movie, and a new soundtrack was composed for the film. A new song, “When The Tigers Broke Free” was written, whilst other material from the original LP was remixed, or re-recorded. A 7” single offering “Tigers” on the A-side, with a new version of “Bring The Boys Back Home” on the flip was released in the summer, and despite plans for a soundtrack LP including these plus all of the other reworked material from the film, the soundtrack LP was never released.
In 1983, Pink Floyd released “The Final Cut”. By now, keyboardist Rick Wright had been more or less forced out of the band, with co-lead singer Roger Waters now taking the reigns. The album was pretty much all Waters’ own work, written as an anti-War LP in protest against the Falklands Conflict. Only one song on the entire LP featured Gilmour as vocalist, “Not Now John”, and this was also the only single taken from the record. The single was issued on both 7” and 12”, with a “censored” version of the track appearing on both of the formats. The b-side was an extended version of album track “The Hero’s Return”, called “The Hero’s Return (Parts 1 & 2)”. “The Final Cut” was re-released on CD in 2004, with “When The Tigers Broke Free” as a bonus track, but rather strangely, it appeared not at the end, but midway through what was originally side 1 of the LP.
In the US, another compilation album appeared the same year. “Works” was issued by Capitol to try and deflect sales away from Columbia’s release of “The Final Cut”, and like “Dance Songs”, created more rarities than it compiled. Of the early singles, only “Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play” made the cut (and both in simulated stereo again, rather than mono), but “See Emily Play” cross faded into the next song on the LP, “Several Species Of Small Furry Animals…”, so doesn’t count in the "housing the old rarities" list! The LP did contain a big rarity in the form of “Embryo”, recorded by the band for a 1970 Various Artists LP, and although played on stage by the band at the time, it was never included on a Floyd LP until now. Of the six remaining songs, “One Of These Days” was remixed and sounded noticeably different to the original mix on 1971’s “Meddle”, “Fearless” segued into a new semi-quadraphonic mix of “Brain Damage”, and “Eclipse” also appeared in newly remixed form. This meant that only three of the ten songs appeared here unaltered - the aforementioned “Embryo”, “Free Four” and “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun”. Impressive.
By 1987, Waters had left the band, claiming the band had reached their natural conclusion. Gilmour and Mason disagreed, and re-recruited Wright (only as a session musician at first, due to “legal” issues) to form a new version of the band - resulting in much bad blood between Waters and the rest of the band for a good 20 years. The new line up released “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason”, and suddenly fell in love with singles again - issuing no less than three from the LP. Edited mixes of “Learning To Fly” and “One Slip” appeared on the CD issue of the first single from the album, along with an alternate mix of “Terminal Frost” as an extra track. Live versions of “Run Like Hell” and “On The Turning Away” appeared as B-sides of the studio version of “On The Turning Away”, the second single - the A-side was also edited, but for radio promos only. Single three, “One Slip”, came backed with a live version of “Dogs Of War”. Although the Floyd would release a live LP “Delicate Sound Of Thunder” the following year upon which all these tracks would appear, the versions released on the live LP were from different shows to those sourced for the B-side versions.
Shine On - And On
In 1992, the situation regarding the early singles was finally solved. A 9-CD box set, “Shine On”, was issued, featuring 7 Floyd albums and an exclusive set called “The Early Singles” which included the A and B sides of all of the five Columbia 7” singles from 67 and 68. Well, sort of. The version of “Paint Box” was actually slightly longer than the original 7” mix, for some reason, with a longer faded ending. The main problem with this release was that it was exclusive to the box set - and copies of the box set have always tended to sell for £100 or more, so it wasn’t a very cheap way of getting the rarities.
In 1994, the band released what remains to date, their last studio album - “The Division Bell”. Two singles were issued from the album, with edited mixes of the A-sides appearing on most formats. “Take It Back” came backed with a previously unissued live version of “Astronomy Domine”, originally the first song on their first LP, and regularly played as the opener on the 1994 tour. The second single, a double A side release of “High Hopes” and “Keep Talking”, came backed with a live version of “One Of These Days”, taped during August 94.
In 1997, Pink Floyd released a mini album called “1967 - The First Three Singles”. It was released to coincide with the 30th anniversary reissue of “Piper”, and other Floyd CD’s from the back catalogue were also repressed at the same time. The CD was available at a reduced price if purchased with other Floyd CD’s, or £5.99 if bought individually. It made the likes of “Candy And A Currant Bun” and “Apples And Oranges” more widely available than previous, and although the original mono mixes were used in most cases, the version of “Paint Box” was once again longer than the 1967 original. Of course, by limiting the release to the 67 singles, this meant that “It Would Be So Nice” and “Point Me At The Sky” still remained fairly obscure. The five “non album” tracks from this set also appeared on an expanded edition of “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” in 2007.
In 2001, possibly sensing there would be no more Floyd material, EMI released what was planned to be the defintive Pink Floyd best-of, “Echoes”. In an attempt to recreate the cross-fading that was so prevalent on most of the post Syd-Barrett records, the majority of the set featured cross-fades between most of the songs, meaning that nearly everything on the set appeared in a slightly different form to the original versions. Other songs were also edited to be able to squeeze more material on, and only three or four songs appeared here in their original album/single form. A vinyl box set was also issued, where a handful of songs that either started or ended one of the sides of the record, used slightly different mixes to the CD equivalent. The only stand alone singles on the collection were “Arnold Layne”, “See Emily Play” and “When The Tigers Broke Free” - no B-sides made the set. And again, the version of "Tigers" crossfaded into the next song on the collection, so differed from the original 7".
And so, with the band now pretty much defunct, what is still missing? Well, it's probably easier to list what isn't missing. Basically, the 1967 stuff is on the 3-disc "Piper" reissue mentioned earlier, and "Relics" will give you "Eugene" and "Julia Dream". "When The Tigers Broke Free" is on the current edition of "The Final Cut" but "Shine On" is the only real home for "It Would Be So Nice" and "Point Me At The Sky". It has been claimed that the reason no real effort has been made to make these two songs more widely available is that the band hated both of them. "Point Me At The Sky" was reissued in Italy in 1973 on Harvest, and I managed to get a copy a few years back for about a fiver, whilst "Masters Of Rock" can usually be picked up quite cheaply. Whilst all of the other A sides and B sides are tracks available on Floyd LP's, the versions from the singles - being either live versions or alternate mixes - remain available only on those singles. It's amazing to think that singles dating from as far back as 1979 are still home to unique Floyd material.
Listed below are the most important Pink Floyd singles releases - formats which offer nothing in terms of rare mixes, etc are omitted. 7” and CD Singles are the default formats shown. Also listed are details of the UK compilation albums - any released in the “CD Era” will have details of the relevant CD pressing, otherwise the vinyl release is shown.
PINK FLOYD SELECTED SINGLES DISCOGRAPHY
Arnold Layne/Candy And A Currant Bun (7”, Columbia DB 8156)
See Emily Play/The Scarecrow (7”, Columbia DB 8214)
Apples And Oranges/Paint Box (7”, Columbia DB 8310)
It Would Be So Nice/Julia Dream (7”, Columbia DB 8401)
Point Me At The Sky/Careful With That Axe Eugene (7”, Columbia DB 8511)
Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) (Single Version)/One Of My Turns (Alternate Single Version) (7”, Harvest HAR 5194)
When The Tigers Broke Free/Bring The Boys Back Home (New Version) (7”, Harvest HAR 5222)
Not Now John (Obscured Version)/The Hero’s Return (Parts 1 & 2) (7”, Harvest HAR 5224, 12” version exists which includes album version of “John” as bonus track)
Learning To Fly (Edit)/One Slip (Edit)/Terminal Frost (Album Version)/(DYOL Version) (CD, EMI CDEM 26)
On The Turning Away/Run Like Hell (Live)/On The Turning Away (Live) (CD, EMI CDEM 36, also on 12“)
One Slip/Terminal Frost/The Dogs Of War (Live) (CD, EMI CDEM 52, also on limited and “normal“ 12“ editions)
Take It Back/Astronomy Domine (Live)/Take It Back (Edit) (CD, EMI CDEMS 309, fold out booklet, Red Vinyl 7” and Cassette editions also exist which do not include album version of “TIB”, other CD editions exist in "normal" sleeve)
High Hopes (Edit)/Keep Talking (Edit)/One Of These Days (Live) (CD, EMI CDEMS 342, limited edition with seven art cards. Standard edition also released without cards, and diff cat number)
1967 The First 3 Singles (CD EP, EMI CDEMD 1117)
Note: Coloured vinyl 7” versions of “Learning To Fly”, “On The Turning Away”, “One Slip” and “High Hopes” were pressed, but without the ‘rare’ B-sides.
PINK FLOYD UK COMPILATIONS
Relics (1971, LP, EMI Starline SRS 5071)
A Collection Of Great Songs (1981, LP, Harvest SHVL 822)
Relics (1994 version reissued in new cover, CD, EMI CDEMD 1082)
Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd (2001, 2xCD, EMI 536 1112)
I will cover other Floyd releases, such as the “London 66/67” and “Zabriskie Point” releases in a future blog, as well as looking at the original studio albums.
Pink Floyd Discography: http://www.pinkfloyddiscography.org/
The Pink Floyd Archives: http://www.pinkfloydarchives.com/