Exposé Online banner

Pink Floyd — Piper at the Gates of Dawn
(Capitol 50999 028935 2 5, 1967/2011, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-05-24

Piper at the Gates of Dawn Cover art

Of all the 60s / 70s classic groups out there, maybe the one I'm most fatigued by is Pink Floyd. A year or two ago I had a chance to listen to the Dark Side of the Moon box that had come out but at the very least I had found out I hadn't put enough years in between now and the overplay on classic rock radio to be able to see where I sat with it. Pretty much anything after that album I feel the same about, but I was also surprised when one night a friend played "Echoes" from Meddle and even that I couldn't get particularly excited about even though it's certainly a classic of theirs. But there's one album in their canon, their very first, that still continues to impress with every listen over the years. It's probably one of the most influential albums ever made, even great bands like Gong manage to sit on its foundation. Not only are there some of the earliest space rock excursions on it ("Astronomy Domine," "Interstellar Overdrive"), but the album is also the home for some of the most well crafted psychedelic pop of the times, in fact only Sgt Peppers or maybe the early Hendrix albums sit comfortably next to the album in terms of the sheer breadth they encompass. Many of the songs, of course, were written by Syd Barrett, whose presence would haunt the group long after his departure, songs like "Lucifer Sam," "Matilda Mother," "The Gnome," and "Bike." So many of these felt like a loss of innocence, songs that start almost childlike at there core but become the springboard for a great deal of experimentation that practically declared the end of the mid-60s pop era as bands rushed into the studio in the wake of Rubber Soul and Revolver. The band never made an album quite like it again; without Barrett their style would change considerably as they evolved over the next few years and while later albums would perhaps be at least influential, I don't think they ever quite matched this one in terms of a sui generis imaginative lightning strike.


Filed under: Reissues, 2011 releases, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Paolo Angeli - Tibi – Part concert, part love letter to an instrument, this is a fascinating piece of work. Recorded in Bologna, Italy in 2009, this is a one-man concert by Paolo Angeli on a highly modified Sardinian...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues