Pink Floyd in Guildford on 2nd February 1967

Guildford’s music venues & ‘first shows’

A good number of venues in Guildford have showcased big name groups over the years, but the site of Pink Floyd’s first and only show in the town may be a surprise.

pf-rm-67Pink Floyd, shone with lights, from the Record Mirror 25th March 1967

The Rolling Stones’ first show in Guildford was at The Wooden Bridge (pub with function room) in March 1963 where, as a club band, they played a couple of times a month during the summer of ’63 before the start of their first UK tour; in October ’63 this took them to the Guildford Odeon (cinema and music hall), just after The Beatles first and only show in Guildford at the Odeon in June’63.

The Yardbirds’ first Guildford show in December ’63 was at the Civic Hall (an arts and entertainment venue; the evening was headlined by the Stones, and was organised by promoters Ricky Tick at Guildford Civic Hall, now gone and replaced in 2011 by ‘G Live’.). Their recently recruited local boy Eric Clapton (born in Ripley near Guildford) featured on guitar, though he had been gigging around Surrey since ’62. The Yardbirds went on to play regularly at The Plaza Ballroom when it became the Ricky Tick, from December ’63 until April ’65, first with Clapton and then Jeff Beck.

The Plaza Ballroom (a converted cinema, now a casino) was THE music venue in Guildford between ‘63 and ‘65, hosting – as The Plaza Ricky Tick – The Who in May ’65 for their first show in Guildford: all the local Mods walked out when they started playing as they didn’t consider them very good then. By the time of The Who’s second appearance in December the venue was packed, with a younger crowd.

The Harvest Moon Nightclub, on the upper floor of the Rodboro Buildings (the site of the first purpose-built motor vehicle factory in Britain in 1901), had its windows ‘blacked out’ with red paint for a darker club atmosphere – making it hard to see across the road to The Plaza opposite. The Harvest Moon first saw Clapton in March ’66 as part of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Mayall had played The Wooden Bridge in August ’63 and become a regular at The Plaza until October ’65. Clapton first appeared with Mayall at The Plaza in April ’65, post Yardbirds; he’d switched bands and sides of the road.

Most of the venues hosting music were not licensed for alcohol in those days, which meant that they could choose their opening hours and didn’t need permission to stay open all day, or all night if they chose. The Harvest Moon was open all day and evening during the week and all night on Saturdays. The nature of the venues, how they were booked and how they were promoted influenced the bands that appeared.

Ricky Tick clubs were run by the legendary Philip Haward and John Mansfield (who either as great judges of music trends or being lucky) switched from jazz to R&B early on, then to soul bands and on to ‘Progressive’ – before pulling up stumps in ’67. As much as anyone, Haward and Mansfield were responsible for spreading good quality live R&B and soul music over the South East of England. Guildford was their second club, opened in February ‘63 and the most regular after Windsor, along with clubs in Reading, Harpenden, Hounslow, Newbury amongst others. The music scene covered a wide circuit that also included The Birdcage at Portsmouth and the One-O-One Club at Brighton.

In March ’67 Pink Floyd performed 3 shows in 24 hours, starting at the Ricky Tick Hounslow, followed by the New Yorker Discotheque in Swindon, and then the Shoreline Hotel in Bognor.

The Guildford Ricky Tick had started at The Wooden Bridge in early ‘63, followed for a few gigs at Worplesdon Village Hall, before it found a home at The Plaza ‘dancehall’, hired firstly on Fridays: Fridays were spent at the Ricky Tick because you simply had to be there after watching ‘Ready Steady Go’ on TV (though it later switched to Sundays). On a Friday five bob (25p) would get you in to see the likes of The Yardbirds, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie & Inez Foxx, Graham Bond, Zoot Money, Chris Farlowe, Georgie Fame, and John Mayall. In between the live music, a DJ would play R&B sounds, old and new.

By ’65 The Plaza was mainly a bingo hall and eventually bingo drove out the Ricky Tick that moved in February ’66 to The Harvest Moon for a couple of months, before ending up at The Stoke for four months, until their last Guildford event in October ‘66. Their departure was an opportunity for new promoters.

pf-stoke-70

The Stoke Hotel’s old entrance until the 1970s; the function room is to the left

Cadenas

The Stoke Hotel, on Stoke Road, near Stoke Park (which itself can boast the first known ‘documented reference’ to the game of cricket in 1598) had always run ‘dances’ in their back room, even if not on a regular basis. The building was converted into a pub in 1870 as an outlet in the growing local brewing industry, and in time becoming a hotel and adding a function room.

Cadenas was started and run by ‘Doug & Robin’ from Haslemere (a 30 min drive south of Guildford), but new to the promoting game they didn’t have much idea what music would be popular in the clubs; they concurrently managed Top Of The Tree, a local group they used as support whenever they could, more as an excuse for ‘D & R’ to get up and sing themselves. Their initials “D” and “R” appeared at the top of their promotional posters.

When Cadenas was looking for a venue The Stoke had been ‘broken in’ by the Ricky Tick and was one of the few ‘music’ venues available: cheap enough also for new promoters; and licensed. Cadenas was hoping to fill the gap in clubs, but it never really took off – in part because it was held on a Thursday; the day before pay-day and fewer people went out on a Thursday. Before they petered out, putting on a couple of ‘dances’ at local village halls, their first night was at The Stoke: ‘Thursday, February 2nd, 1967’. The night the Pink Floyd played Guildford (and coincidentally Pink Floyd’s first professional show, the day following EMI’s announcing the group’s first record deal.)

Buzz was picking up and word was going round that the Pink Floyd were ‘different’; they were getting regular write-ups in the Record Mirror (‘RM’), the hippest music paper at the time. In London they were quickly becoming the ‘darlings of the Underground scene’, but outside London the Floyd was still an unknown quantity. Whilst other Progressive bands such as Cream had a history, they were not yet considered an emerging ‘must-see’ by the majority of Guildford teenagers. Had they built more of a name outside London, and given a couple more months, then The Stoke may have been full to bursting; but on February 2nd ’67 it was not.

pf-rm-67-q

Pink Floyd quote from the Record Mirror 8th July 1967

Pink Floyd at Cadenas

Doors opened 7:30pm with the show at ‘8 to 11’; the cost on the door to get in was a standard 7/6 (37 1/2p); there were no tickets. The pub charged for the room hire and took the bar takings. (In 1963 you paid 5/- to see Arsenal Vs Man Utd at Old Trafford, and 10/- to see the Chelsea Vs Spurs FA Cup final standing up and 22/6 for a seat.)

As was the norm for a Pink Floyd show, there was no support group – this was their usual choice (and more likely to have been accepted by an upstart promoter, even as the band were so ‘new’), but this was unusual for local gigs. There was not even a DJ. The only band on the bill, the Pink Floyd, played two sets.

Half way through the first half they blew the fuses and had to play things like “It Takes A Worried Man” acoustically, improvising and generally messing about on stage until the problem was fixed.

The set list for the show likely – intended to have – consisted of trusty favourite songs of the band, including Interstellar Overdrive, Matilda Mother, Pow R. Toc H., Astronomy Domine, and Let’s Roll Another One (soon to be Candy & A Currant Bun, once censored, the B-side to their impending first single); plus early versions of emerging material that was already coming under further commercial pressure from EMI, including Flaming, Scarecrow, Bicycle, and Arnold Layne (soon to appear as the A-side of their first single).

Problems with the electrics were not uncommon for early Floyd shows, given the relatively high amount of equipment they took with them on the road. (One reason they didn’t have a support band was the time required to set up their equipment before a show.) Larger amplifiers consumed larger amounts of power from unprepared small venues. Extra was needed to boost their ‘unusual loudness’ and power their lights. The pioneering light show, for which they were rapidly becoming known as much as – if not more than – the music, involved projecting dynamic ‘liquid movie’ images at the band while they played on stage (partially obscuring the band except for their shadows, which themselves also became part of the show, in contrasting colours).

“The Pink Floyd psychedelic pop group did weird things to the feel of the event with their scary feed-back sounds, slide projections playing on their skin – drops of paint run riot on the slides to produce outer space/prehistoric textures on the skin – spotlights flashing on them in time with a drum beat.”   The International Times October 1966

At The Stoke this was a revelation – especially as it involved a roadie half way down the dance floor with a stand, holding the projectors pointing them towards the stage. At best the psychedelic show, honed for London audiences, was very different to that The Stoke was used to, but lost power meant no lights AND less of the planned music. (The role of dedicated lighting technician was a role deemed so important even the band referred to them as “one of the group”: said Floyd’s drummer Nick Mason of lights engineer Peter Wynne Wilson, who had taken over from the first lighting manager Joe Gannon as the complexity of the shows increased.)

The audience that evening, mostly Mods with a sprinkling of ‘Long Hairs’ who were into music, numbered about 50. On the whole they were not too impressed by the show, possibly because they couldn’t dance to it, being more accustomed to the likes of Geno Washington. Indeed after the problems of the first set, the crowd spent most of the second set in the adjoining bar – some of those who were there remember being distinctly underwhelmed by the Floyd that evening.

To the extent that the ensuing gaps in music lacked atmosphere, and with no music before or between the sets, Cadenas were persuaded to take on DJs for their future club nights, to accompany the subsequent booked acts that included Herbie Goins & the Night Timers, The In-Crowd, and Ronnie Jones & the Blue Jays.

As the fourpiece band compromising Syd Barrett, Rick Wright, Nick Mason, and Roger Waters, Pink Floyd were actually on a rapid rise: making within 5 months their first Top Of The Pops appearance on the BBC in July; embarking upon their first US tour that November. (Though Syd was to leave group within 12 months, early ’68).

de-cad-67

Cadenas’ promotional poster for 16th February 1967 (2 weeks after Pink Floyd)

The Cadenas poster shown is for the Thursday a fortnight after (there was no show at Cadenas the week between, on Feb 9th, but thereafter it was open every Thursday until Ronnie Jones played in March ’67). All later Cadenas posters had this look, so it’s very likely the first night’s poster had this style – perhaps there is a ‘Floyd first night’ Cadenas poster still out there, hidden away, waiting to be uncovered…

pf-stoke-16-fr

The Stoke pub’s function room today in 2016

Thanks to David Else (the resulting and subsequent DJ) for his recollections from that night and for the picture of his Cadenas poster.

If any of the other 49 there that evening read this then please do get in touch and share your memories.

pf-stoke-16

The Stoke Pub & Pizzeria today in 2016

TC

For more information on:

http://themodgeneration.com/profiles/blog/a-suburban-mod-s-forgotten-story-part-3 on the local ‘60s music scene

http://sparebricks.fika.org/sbzine21/features2.html on Pink Floyd’s lights

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Calling All 70s Gig Goers, “Were you there?”

Before the memories fade further, we want to collect them.

If you attended a live show of Dark Side between February 1972 and July 1975 please get in touch and let us know:

  • If you have have vague memories and you only remember the highlights,
  • if you have a thorough recollection*, maybe you want to write up a review of the gig to share with us all
  • Or, if you simply want to say you were there…

*maybe you were the only one not taking, er, vitamins that night?

And if you know others who were there, please ask them to wrack their brains too. Please start noting and sending in your memories, and we’ll put the structure together here to ‘house’ them. Recorded for posterity yes, but simply fun to relive and enjoy.

TC

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More “Here Piggy Piggy Piggy” (The Dark Side of the Pig)

Here Piggy Piggy Piggy 2

From underneath the pig, Wembley Stadium 14th Sept. 2013:

  • This was Roger’s first (and to be last) show at Wembley Stadium
  • Roger played 4 times solo at the Wembley Arena (Empire Pool)
  • The Floyd (with RW) played 14 times at the Empire Pool (Wembley Arena)
  • The Floyd (w/o RW) played twice at Wembley Stadium (I was there 6th Aug. 1988)
  • The Wembley Show 14th Sep 2013 was #213 of the modern The Wall tour
  • This Wall tour consisted of 216 shows in 3 years
  • This means Roger’s “gig rate” since this tour began is 20% (meaning he performed the show one in every 5 days over this period)
  • For mere mortals, this equates to a “gig rate” of 30% for someone working a normal job – i.e. if you 5 days a week, with holidays – and they’d perform the largest touring show ever 12 days a month (for 3 years)
  • Roger turned 70 the week before this latest show, so not bad for an old man (HB Roger).

While we’re stat’ing, some on Wembley:

  • The modern Wembley Stadium officially opened in May 2007
  • It is the second largest stadium in Europe, capacity 90k (only the Nou Camp is larger at 99k)
  • It is the second most expensive stadium in the world, cost £800m (only the new Meadowlands in NYC cost more at £1bn)
  • For music shows, such as The Wall, the capacity is 90k (75k seated & 15k standing)
  • The last event at the old (twin towered) Wembley Stadium was England’s 0-1 defeat to West Germany, when Dietmar Hamaan scored the winner (I was there for that too)
  • The last English player to score at the old Wembley Stadium was Tony Adams (really) in May 2000
  • The very first football game at the newly build Wembley Stadium in 1923 had the highest reported attendance of any sporting event, with officially 125k people but unofficially 250k (as the first game was declared “no ticket” thousands showed up to watch, kept off the pitch by police on horseback in the “white horse cup final” of 1923).

Done. As I think Roger is.

Thanks Roger, it’s been good (now please record that new material…)

TC

 

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Floydpodcast.com Goes Live For 200th Show

Brain Damage, the definitive Pink Floyd radio show, on floydpodcast.com, goes “live” this weekend to celebrate its 200th show.

The Doc goes back to his roots as radio DJ to bring us the exceptional floydpodcast.com live and on the air – the podcast we love, real-time!

Broadcast via a flash based stream the show is still free, and still excellent: you can make live requests via Facebook or email. Since 2004 The Doc has been nursing my ears with his unmissable show. Show your support by tuning in and listening to what should be very special show.

All that you do, All that you say.

Catch you there, TC

 

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Storm Thorgerson Passed Away Today

The very sad news today that Storm Thorgerson passed away, age 69, having been ill for some time.

One of the original Cambridge crew of friends, Storm became of the most sought after graphic designers particular in the music industry. From Hipgnosis through to Storm Studios, his work will live on to be enjoyed by us all.

Storm designed the cover for The Dark Side Of The Moon (then drawn by Hipgnosis designer George Hardie) in response to Rick Wright’s request for “something simple and dramatic”. The prism and the refracted light will forever be part of Dark Side.

David Gilmour released a fitting note on Storm.

Many notes of condolence from fans today on Roger’s Facebook page.

The tolling of the iron bell. Thank you Storm for the unforgettable images.

TC

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Dark Side Only Made #2 In The UK (And What Beat It To #1)

The date, 31st March 1973.

The Dark Side Of The Moon entered the UK Official Charts at #2 spot on the 31st March 1973 in the 13th (and unlucky) published chart of 1973. It was in fact the highest position it would make in the UK, and slipped down to 5th the next week. Remarkably in its 40 years of incredible success Dark Side has never been #1 in the UK.

So, what “hugely successful album, from a super-band music-heavy-weight”, beat TDSOTM that week and denied it the opportunity for the #1 spot?… that dubious honour goes to K-tel’s ’20 Flash Back Greats From The Sixties’ by ‘Various Artists’. (Really.)

K-tel 20 Flash Back Greats Of The Sixites

It remained at the top spot for 2 weeks! With hindsight, the success and longevity of Dark Side would make this look quite strange. The week before top spot was taken by ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ by Alice Cooper, and after the imposter’s 2 week stay at the top the next number one was ‘Houses Of The Holy’ by Led Zeppelin. (Not so bad.)

OfficialCharts 1973 w13

Compilation albums sold well at the time. The K-tel compilation albums of the late 1960s and ’70s were the result of a licensing deal between the original ‘As seen on TV’ Canadian marketing giant and the record companies of the day. Ronco, the US equivalent of K-tel, also ‘heavily pushed’ a proliferation of compilation albums from various artists in the ’70s. The Floyd were up against extensive TV advertising ‘muscle’ – a K-tel UK example:

The week after (in the 14th UK chart of 1973) another compilation ’40 Fantastic Hits From The 50s And 60s’, this time from Arcade Records (a Dutch record label specialising in compilations), entered at #2 behind K-tel’s “number one” album, pushing Dark Side further down. The music market was “expanding at a phenomenal rate”, Roger’s own words (1973), and compilations did very well, evidently. 1980s compilations in the UK would go on to be dominated by the (infamous) ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ series.

(The original plan for DS40 was to help Dark Side make #1 in the UK, but the release of the Immersion set put pay to that in 2012. Perhaps we’ll regroup for DS50 in 2023 – and keep our fingers crossed that K-tel doesn’t release a compilation at the same time…)

TC

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40 Years Old – Again!

The “official stated” birthday for Dark Side today: http://darkside40.pinkfloyd.com/

Any excuse to listen…

darkside40(Read here for: actual/real release dates of The Dark Side of the Moon.)

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Dark Side Enters The National Recording Registry

Today The Dark Side Of The Moon was voted into the US National Recording Registry.

The purpose of the Registry is to celebrate and preserve important sound recordings. Those deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States.” Recordings are selected yearly by the National Recording Preservation Board, and ‘saved’ in the Library of Congress.

This ‘legislative hall of fame’ is to safeguard America’s sound recording heritage. “Congress created the National Recording Registry to celebrate the richness and variety of our audio heritage and to underscore our responsibility for long-term preservation, to assure that legacy can be appreciated and studied for generations” – sound familiar?

Since 2002, 375 ‘sound artefacts’ have so far been installed, including: Edison’s earliest cylinder recordings; the first official transatlantic telephone conversation; the first recording of ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’; sounds of the ivory-billed woodpecker; F. D. Roosevelt’s 1941 address to Congress; as well as Elvis, Chuck Berry, Sinatra, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Simon & Garfunkel, R.E.M. – and now Floyd’s Dark Side.

Of particular note is that Dark Side “received the highest number of public nominations among this year’s picks“.

The 2012 National Recording Registry entries are (in alphabetical order):

  1.  “A Program of Song,” Leontyne Price (1959)
  2. “After You’ve Gone,” Marion Harris (1918)
  3. “Bacon, Beans and Limousines,” Will Rogers (Oct. 18, 1931)
  4. “Begin the Beguine,” Artie Shaw (1938)
  5. “Cheap Thrills,” Big Brother and the Holding Company (1968)
  6. “Crossing Chilly Jordan,” The Blackwood Brothers (1960)
  7. “Descargas: Cuban Jam Session in Miniature,” Cachao Y Su Ritmo Caliente (1957)
  8. “Einstein on the Beach,” Philip Glass and Robert Wilson (1979)
  9. “Hoodoo Man Blues,” Junior Wells (1965)
  10. “Just Because,” Frank Yankovic & His Yanks (1947)
  11. “Music Time in Africa,” Leo Sarkisian, host (July 29, 1973)
  12. “Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s,” Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, et al. (1960-1962)
  13. “Ramones,” The Ramones (1976)
  14. “Saturday Night Fever,” The Bee Gees, et al (1977)
  15. “Sounds of Silence,” Simon and Garfunkel (1966)
  16. “South Pacific,” Original Cast Album (1949)
  17. “The Audience with Betty Carter,” Betty Carter (1980)
  18. “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd (1973)
  19. “The Shape of Jazz to Come,” Ornette Coleman (1959)
  20. “The Twist,” Chubby Checker (1960)
  21. “Wild Tchoupitoulas,” The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)
  22. “You Are My Sunshine,” Jimmie Davis (1940)
  23. D-Day Radio Broadcast, George Hicks (June 5-6, 1944)
  24. President’s Message Relayed from Atlas Satellite, Dwight D. Eisenhower (Dec. 19, 1958)
  25. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Van Cliburn (April 11, 1958)

At #322 on the Registry’s list is the Apollo 11 broadcast from the moon by astronaut Neil Armstrong, from 21st July 21, 1969. Apollo 17’s lunar landing broadcast by Commander Eugene Cernan was used in a working version of Dark Side in Jan’73, pre-Clare Torry.

The full National Recording Registry is here.

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40 Years Old Today!

40 years ago today… The official US release of Dark Side (plus the real dates!…)

Happy Birthday Dark Side!

On the 10th March 1973 The Dark Side Of The Moon was released in the US, officially.

The Floyd were performing the sixth night (on their eighth US tour), at The Gymnasium, Kent State University, in Ohio. David Gilmour made a bet with band manager Steve O’Rourke that the album wouldn’t crack the US top 10: the album hit number one on the US Billboard charts for one week on the 28th April 1973, 7 weeks later.

US release date: 1o March 1973*; US charting date: 17-Mar-73 at #95 (highest US chart position was #1 some 7 weeks later on 28-Apr-73).

UK release date: 24 March 1973*; UK charting date: 31-Mar-73 at #2 (highest UK chart position was #2 that week on 31-Mar-73).

*The More Likely Release Dates Of Dark Side…

Something didn’t seem to stack up with the official album release dates, so I investigated: given the chart calculation processes in both the US and UK – see date layout below – and when their respective sales weeks start, the official dates seem unlikely.

So here are the more likely release dates – and if anyone has an original receipt of their purchase on the first day of release in the US and UK please let me know!:

US probable release date: 1 March 1973*; release date must have been before the 3rd of March, with the first of the month being a deadline for production and distribution of the album (and anything less seems too ambitious, given the sessions at Abbey Road only ended at the end of January, 4 weeks before).

UK release date:  19 March 1973*; Mondays are, and were, the normal release day to ‘catch as much of the sales week’ as possible, with a release date of the 24th only allowing one day’s sales to have resulted in Dark Side entering the chart at #2.

DS40 US UK Release UK

But what’s in a few days. Many happy returns Dark Side; let’s all sit down today and make sure we listen – in entirety – to one of the best and most successful albums of all time…

TC

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Dark Side Voices & Original Question Cards

40 years ago today… The now infamous voices were added to the final mix of the album, this week, from 22nd January 1973.

Up to December 1972, Dark Side had progressed to a near final state, in clear phases of development: as a pretty tight musical set from a year on the road along with visits to Abbey Road to lay down the bulk of the material. Abbey Road Studio 3 was booked intermittently through January ’73 with the band needing to agree the final mix – but there was something missing, with one of the last additions being the voices and laughter.

Essential Colour

A last minute addition to the album, the voices were recorded during informal interviews, as responses to questions written on cue cards shown to any and all individuals present in Abbey Road at the time, while the band were finishing mix.

Roger Waters had been flying fishing with Adrian Maben earlier that January in ’73, and suggested Adrian visit the band at Abbey Road in order to record extra footage, to extend the Live At Pompeii film. He recorded footage of the band playing in Studio 3 – staged footage, as the instruments and music tracks had been taped by then, though it is possible the scenes of Roger working at the VCS3 are ‘real working shots’ – and talking in the canteen. Adrian wanted to show the creative process, the band’s humour, and interplay between band members, including the banter sparking off each other:

“Are you happy with the filming?” Maben
“What do you mean, happy?” Waters
“Well, do you think it’s interesting?” Maben
“What do you mean, interesting?” Waters
—Roger Waters, being interviewed by Adrian Maben.

The conversation goes on to range from Nick Mason’s preference for “apple pie without the crust” to the ‘nationality of oysters’, in some of the most intimate footage ever of the band. Interestingly some of Adrian’s questions focus on the potential tension and problems of being in a band – given their perceived longevity having been together for 5 years. It was questioning that was to be mirrored in Water’s cue cards days later.

The questioning process, and obviously stilted responses, are likely to have been a trigger for a ‘better way’ to solicit responses. Roger was after ‘spontaneous’ words and phrases to add a natural human touch to the record. The voices were initially planned as bridges or segues between the songs, later becoming a vital touching layer above the music.

“They provided essential colour for the record” Roger Waters (2003)

Anyone and everyone present in Abbey Road that day were asked: band crew, roadies,  studio staff. Wings led by Paul McCartney were using Studio 2 to put finishing touches to Red Rose Speedway (having recorded the tracks in the previous October): Paul and Linda McCartney were both interviewed, but their responses were deemed too polished and were not chosen, though famously their recently joined guitarist Henry McCullough’s (I don’t know I was really drunk at the time” did make it in. Who was asked helps date the questions – we can’t be sure of date but it was likely after the middle Sunday, otherwise Clare Torry would probably have been asked; I’m uncertain if Chris Thomas was.

Roger’s description of the question cards

This is the handwritten explanation by Roger Waters, from the Immersion set, 2011:

“People often ask me about the voices on Dark Side. I was trying to gather audio snippets to mix into segues on Dark Side. Rather than interviewing people I came up with the idea of writing a series of questions on cards. The cards would be in a stack on a conductors stand in front of a mike. We would scour Abbey Road Studios for willing guinea pigs, bring them to the studio, sit them down, roll tape and then ask them to respond to each card in order.

As I recall the first card was something irrelevant and innocuous, like “What’s your favourite colour?” and the last was the more enigmatic “What do you think of The Dark Side Of The Moon?”

I can’t remember the ones in between, except for:
Are you afraid of dying?
When were you last violent?
Were you in the right?
Do you ever think you’re going mad?
If so why?

End of Story.”

The Original questions

There were about 10 to 15 questions on cards, including:

  1. “What’s your favourite colour?” (to ease the interviewee in)
  2. “Why do rock and roll bands split up?”
  3. “When was last time you thumped someone?”
  4. “Why did you do it?”
  5. “Did you think you were in the right?”
  6. “Do you still you you were in the right?”
  7. “Are you frightened of dying?”
  8. “Why are you frightened of dying” (the likely prompt to Puddie Watt’s “I never said I was frightened of dying”)
  9. “Do you ever think about the dark side of the moon?”
  10. “Do you think you’re going mad?”
  11. “If so, why?”
  12. “What do you think of The Dark Side Of The Moon?”

The questions reflected the themes in the music: life, travel, time, death, religion, money violence, and madness – with violence and death tending to produce the ‘best’ responses. The last to be interviewed was Roger “The Hat” Manifold, a roadie with the band. By the end of the sessions the cards themselves had been lost, so Roger Waters asked the questions himself without cards, while David Gilmour recorded from the control room.

The Question Cards 2013 – DS40

The voices were to add a reality that touches the listener, complementing the music and haunting, along with the theme of madness on the final mix. We then wondered what the questions might be 40 years on… in 2013 with “Speak To Me” DS40.

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