Thom Yorke may be trying to inspire other artists to leave streaming music behind, but for now, artists are signing up left, right and center.
Pink Floyd recently caved and released its entire catalog on Spotify. That’s everything from their debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn through that bat-shit, two-disc behemoth, The Wall. Here are three great songs you can now rock without digging up and dusting off your long-gone jewel cases.
“Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk” from 1967’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
By: Dave Hurwitz
When you think about it, 1967 (aka the “Summer of Love”) was the most important year to date in the history of rock music. Albums released that year included The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, The Velvet Underground & Nico and Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced.
As the hippy, flower-power movement geared up to change the face and sound of America, Pink Floyd burst onto the scene that same year with The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and music would never be the same.
Floyd’s debut is their only album with Syd Barret, a truly gifted guitar player and songwriter and one of rock n roll’s most tragic figures, at the helm. And while Barret wrote most of the songs on that first record, “Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk” marks the only track written by Roger Waters, who of course would go on to be the driving creative force behind Floyd’s epic discography.
The song starts out with a spooky, distorted voice chanting “doctor, doctor,” and the manic musical frenzy begins. The highly experimental sound (for the time) starts off with a bang and only gets more intense as it progresses. The lyrics, “I’m in bed / Achin’ head / Gold is lead / Choke on bread / Underfed / Gold is lead / Jesus bled / Pain is red,” are like jolts of lightning that give the frantic nature of the track. Keyboardist Richard Wright and Barrett taking turns bringing the tune into maximum overdrive. We can hear the brilliance of Waters first emergence in this song. There is not a moment that doesn’t thrill the listener and it allows for a psychedelic ride.
“Echoes” from 1971’s Meddle
By: Zach Fischer
“Echoes” showcases both the collective orchestral genius of Silver Age Pink Floyd and the experimental playpen “serendipity” from the Golden Age. In it, you hear traces of the concept albums to come and echoes of “the room of musical tunes,” carrying you from bare, near silence to the fattest riffs Floyd’s ever put down. It is a turning point for the band, and, to this reviewer, the apex of Pink Floyd’s discography.
Fun facts: Echoes almost got Andrew Lloyd Webber sued and syncs up perfectly with the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey (better than Dark Side and Oz).
“Young Lust” from 1979’s The Wall
By: Pete Rizzo
When artists receive the “classic rock” label, they undergo a rebranding in the process, losing their jagged edges until they become products. You know, t-shirt designs you can sell to high school kids. Perhaps, because of this, we tend to think of Pink Floyd as a spacey, cerebral band – the one best exemplified on The Dark Side of the Moon. It’s the album that resonates and sells the best, and the image we most identify with as a culture.
One of the reasons I love “Young Lust” is that it blows the doors off this digestible, one-note caricature. The riff on this song is gigantic, akin to an AC/DC creation. This is a pirate song. David Gilmour’s vocals are as ragged as sails blowing the wind, and his harmonies with Roger Waters are as smooth as the tide below.
The music fits so perfectly with the message of the narrator, our stranger in the town. You can picture him kicking down doors, demanding to be satisfied. The lyrics “I need a dirty woman, I need a dirty girl” aren’t particularly grimy by today’s standards, but there’s something about this song and the way it’s constructed that make it feel like an unwanted tongue in the ear. And something tells me that’s how they wanted it.