‘See Emily Play’ was their first song to crack the top 10 in 1967, and they didn’t manage another until ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ topped the charts in 1979. As a “serious” albums band in the 70s, singles were considered low priority to a group like Pink Floyd (Led Zeppelin, for instance, never released a single).
During the second part of the 60’s, The Pink Floyd (as they were known then) became regulars at the Roundhouse in Camden as well as the legendary UFO Club.
The name The Pink Floyd was used right up to the late 60’s – the ‘The’ disappeared not long after the departure of Syd Barrett. Syd’s acid-induced schizophrenia got so bad that the band had no option to go on without him, and they parted company on the way to a show in 1968.
Syd moved back in with his parents in Cambridge and became a recluse. He recorded two solo albums with the help of his replacement, David Gilmour: ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’.
Barrett famously turned up at Abbey Road when Roger Waters was recording the vocal for ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ about him. He’d put on excessive weight and had shaved his eyebrows and lost most of his hair. His appearance was so disturbing that Waters and Gilmour reportedly cried.
Pink Floyd also played as The Tea Set in their earlier incarnation. This moniker was settled upon for a while at least after a plethora of name changes, which included: Sigma 6, Meggadeaths, the Abdabs and the Screaming Abdabs, Leonard’s Lodgers, and the Spectrum Five.
A film of their 1967 Alexandra Palace show – part of the legendary ‘14 Hour Technicolor Dream’ – still survives and is available on DVD. Yoko Ono is there performing an art installation, and John Lennon is captured among the crowd, although at the time the pair had not met.
In 1968, Pink Floyd headlined the first ever free gig in Hyde Park with Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in support. Not a bad bill… and nada as well!
The 1970 album name ‘Atom Heart Mother’ was apparently inspired by a newspaper headline about a woman being fitted with the first ever atomic pacemaker.
The cow on Pink Floyd’s ‘Atom Heart Mother’ album had a name too, which was Lulubelle III. Sadly Lulubelle is no longer with us.