Sunday, October 23, 2011
A NICE PAIR
Following the overwhelming success of "The Dark Side of the Moon", EMI decided to re-release the first two Pink Floyd LPs as a cleverly titled double set in December 1973.
What's so clever about it?
A sticker was used to hide the two elements that would have had prospective male buyers pointing at the album cover, coughing out a blast of pot smoke while simultaneously attempting a lewd act of self gratification.
Or so the censor-mad folks at the time imagined. Boobs! Can't let those loose in public...
My copy looks like this.
Quasi-pornographic images aside, surely there was nothing controversial etched into the grooves of these vinyl records? If you are familiar with "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" in it's original format and you own a copy of the US version of "A Nice Pair", then the answer is "yes". Back in 1967, Capitol Records in the US took the already-perfect debut recording from the group, removed "Astronomy Domine", "Flaming" and "Bike" and released it with "See Emily Play" pasted in as the first track.
Getting back to 1973, Capitol executives decided to atone for past tampering, restore the aforementioned missing songs to Piper and cash in on the new-found wave of "Floyd-mania" that now greeted the band. Their marketing plan was sound, as they had the masters at their fingertips. Two discs were already in the can. Add a cover and everyone gets rich.
This is where serious collectors received an unexpected bonus.
"Astronomy Domine" did appear as the first song, though it was the live version from 1969's "Ummagumma" that was used. Crowd noises were erased. "Interstellar Overdrive" was shortened and did not link to "The Gnome" as it did on the UK version. "Flaming" shows up in mono with a different mix. All of this was frustrating to the hardcore fan, though these variances would make this release extremely desirable when it went out of print.
What were the glaring differences between "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and "A Saucerful of Secrets"?
These guys did the first one.
While these fellows completed the latter.
Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of SOAP.