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

March 25, 2017

Awesome Artist of the Week logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming
Infinitely inferior Fuss about Floyd logo by yours truly

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[Album 527/1001]

I’m a little disappointed with Pink Floyd.

Specifically, with The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

Though not because the musical experience was inherently disappointing.

For you see, a part of me was secretly hoping that The Piper would be a disappointing listen, that it would be a bit of a let down.

Alas, it exceeded my expectations and ruined a perfectly good narrative.

Which is a shame, as the “We have a piper down” scene from So I Married An Axe Murderer would have fit so nicely with a ‘thumbs down’ review of The Piper!

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I can see how people might view this album as an uneven listen.

It doesn’t exactly flow seamlessly but I found that the eclectic mix was a selling point.

Following up a nearly 10-minute instrumental jam with a 2-minute ditty about a Gnome?

I’ll take it!

I’m not sure if it’s the best Pink Floyd album I’ve heard, but it’s certainly the most intriguing.

I’d say The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is an interesting intro to an interesting group, released during a particularly interesting year for music.

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In hindsight, the title, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, feels like a bit of a metaphor for albums from the year 1967.

Bagpipes are an acquired taste.

For many, the noise is unbearable (ye olde joke about the difference between onions and bagpipes? nobody cries when you chop up bagpipes).PinkFloyd-album-piperatthegatesofdawn_300

For other listeners however, there’s no substitute.

Some might say the same for psychadelic music, which arguably peaked in 1967.

Many fans happily play psychadelia to this day, others would rather not hear it again for (at least) another 50 years.

I find the visual of The Gates of Dawn even more striking.

Though I’m a big fan of the albums in the chart above, it feels like 1967 was the start (or at least an early part) of a really special musical era.

A strong year on its own, but even more interesting when you consider the new directions of the music that it would inspire.

Which is also probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned about Floyd this week: while each PF album has its stand-alone merit, the records are more interesting as a part of a career set.

A discography worth fussing over.

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Verbalize the Positive

A tip of the hat (or three) to my friend Bruce for his weekly 1967 series, for always striving to appreciate albums in their proper context & because of both of the above, for being a catalyst in the creation of this review!

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From → 1960s

22 Comments
  1. Probably my favourite PF album (I love what Barrett did with their sound)!

    • Nice! I’m curious to revisit these in a few years as WWYH was instantly appealing, this one feels like the most interesting, and The Wall didn’t really resonate. But Floyd feels like one of those groups where I could change my mind, in 5 years, I may be praising the Wall!

  2. I don’t quite “get” Piper. It feels more like an interesting start rather than a great album in itself. That said – I have listened to the song ‘Bike’ many many times.

    • And Bike was the standout for me too! Such a curious bunch of tracks to wrap up the album – like you Andy, I’m not sure if I ‘get’ it, but there was something quite intriguing about the full set

      • Yeah they’re a very interesting band. I’m always surprised by how such an unconventional act could end being so insanely popular. The way that their music changed drastically over a short period, and the different ideas they tried – very intriguing.
        I think the albums got better with time (except perhaps Ummugumma and, to a lesser extent, Atom Heart Mother – which are probably not as good as their predecessors). Then peaked with the stellar trifecta of Meddle, Dark Side and Wish. Animals was then a bit of a misstep, but the Wall is worthy of its classic status. I don’t really know they’re stuff after that.

      • I do applaud bands that keep trying new things – one definitely couldn’t say they kept repeating Piper over and over again. I’m not sure if I’ve heard an album like it, from before or since ’67!

  3. Thanks for the shoutout, Geoff.

    Piper definitely benefits from my favourite word: Context!

    (The ’67 series is not quite weekly at Vinyl Connection, but could be if I acquired a generous benefactor! But seriously, the fifty-year posts interspersed with other musicks due to my need for a little variety even in that wonderfully abundant musical year).

  4. I don`t think I’d call it the most intriguing, but I’m not really a fan of Syd Barrett. I prefer some of Floyd’s more musical, and less whimsical, experiments.

    I have a 3 CD version of this that I haven’t played in almost a decade.

    • Barrett has a solo album is on the 1001 as well, haven’t got there yet.
      Whimsical’s a good term for side 2 especially.
      I was talking to a colleague at work the other day who said ‘the final cut’ was his favourite – so I suppose with Floyd, there’s something for everyone!

      • Man I LOVE The Final Cut. I am with your work friend. It is not my favourite but I do love it! (My favourite is often Meddle)

      • Not familiar with Meddle (yet) but interesting to read that Dark Side was their 8th album. Maybe a bit like rumours being the hit at album #11 in the discography, I think many (myself included) forget the band may have looked & sounded a lot different leading up to the big hit!

      • All true! When Whitesnake hit is big in 1987, I thought they were a relatively new band. I thought they were only on their second album. Nope they were on their 7th!

      • It could be argued that Dark Side was really their 5th official studio album though. ‘More’ and ‘Obscured by Clouds’ were soundtracks, and ‘Ummugumma’ is pretty much a live album with half an hour of soundscape filler added to it.

  5. Another Floyd album I haven’t heard. I like the idea of the eclectic mix, though. It must rank fairly highly if it made the 1001 list. One day I’ll get there! I mean, if there’s a track your daughter digs, it’s gotta have some merits!

    Also, the Stones put out two albums in 1967 (Their Satanic Majesties Request, and Betwen The Buttons). Can’t wait to see where they fall on the continuum!

    • Surprisingly, neither of those ’67 stones offerings made the list. But I think everything they did for the next few years after ’67 is on there!

  6. Also, I love that SIMAA scene.

    • As do I! I find it’s a tipping point in the film, where the rest of the film isn’t as strong. Perhaps some might say the same about Floyd, where the post-Wall output wasn’t as strong?

  7. My parents used to go and see them around this period a lot. Also it’s named after my favourite chapter in ‘The Wind in the Willows’ what could be better?

  8. I haven’t heard this one, but it sounds like one I should probably pick up.

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