It was a big week for future legends in West Hampstead, just up the way from Abbey Road. David Bowie had been working at Decca Studios, and today a young band called the Pink Floyd went into Sound Techniques with producer Joe Boyd to record their first single.

The presented something of a problem as the Floyd were leading exponents of a new wave of heavy psychedelia, and most of their songs were in the 10–15 minute range. It was decided that “Arnold Layne,” about a transvestite who steals women’s clothing from washing lines, was the closest thing they had to a pop song. Said drummer Nick Mason,

We knew we wanted to be rock’n’roll stars and we wanted to make singles, so it seemed the most suitable song to condense into 3 minutes without losing too much.

For the B side a song called “Roll Another One” was chosen, though it was retitled “Candy and a Currant Bun,” presumably to avoid freaking out the squares. The original version is strangely hard to find, but this should give you the flavor:

At this point the Floyd was still very much Syd Barrett’s band; he was the songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist. One year and one album later he would be kicked out of the band for being too crazy to work with.

Just to bring things full circle, many years later David Bowie would sing “Arnold Layne” (with David Gilmour on guitar) at a 2006 Barrett tribute concert. (He also recorded the Barrett-era Floyd classic “See Emily Play” for Pinups.)

Well, it seems we have wandered a bit from the nominal subject of this blog. But not to worry, we’ll check in with John, Paul, George, and Ringo tomorrow.

0 0 votes
Article Rating