1 Year Til the 30th Birthday Of The CD

The year, 1982.

The first album to be released on CD was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street on October 1, 1982 in Japan, alongside Sony’s CD player CDP-101. 50 CDs were released on this day, with Joel’s nominally number 1, from the the first commercial compact disc pressing plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan – owned by Sony, opened in April 1982.

Earlier in the Summer of ’82, the first test CD was pressed in Langenhagen near Hannover (West Germany), by the Polydor Pressing Operations plant. The disc contained a recording of Richard Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie (in English, An Alpine Symphony), played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan. In August 1982 the real pressing was ready to begin in the new factory. The first CD to be manufactured at the new factory was The Visitors (1981) by ABBA (DDD in SPARS code); a first public demonstration of the new discs was on the BBC television program Tomorrow’s World using The Bee Gees’ album Living Eyes.

Early the following year, on 2nd March 1983, CD players and discs (16 titles from CBS Records) were released in the United States and other markets.

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Pig Over Battersea On Immersion Day

“Here Piggy Piggy Piggy…”

It was a perfectly grey blotched sky, as per the superimposed album cover, with little breeze at ground level but there was the 30 foot Pig battling winds high up. Held down by, and tethered to, 2 cars it was visited early by the Press (but taken down at 10:40 as it was getting just too much for the ground staff to handle). I was informed by the guys working there that there was no marksman on site, so if it took off then that would be it. Hence they were very careful with it. When the wind dropped it was back up.

I happened to be listening to Show #171 – Animals in France, from 22Feb77 – courtesy of The Doc at the time. Perfect.

This was at the other end of the Station, due to building work. Only a handful of other fans on this side, so this is for the rest. With the wind direction the better angle – chosen by the Press – was from the north bank of the Thames across the river. This one’s looking up:

London airspace reported to be safe. For now.

More on Dark Side Immersion version soon…

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Pink Floyd’s First Tour To Japan

40 years ago today…

Fresh from a recording session for Meddle, Pink Floyd leave the UK on their way to Japan, via Hong Kong, on 31 July 1971.

PF took Atom Heart Mother, and an increasingly polished performance of Echoes, to 3 nights in Japan. Their first trip to the country that would embrace the Floyd in a special way – with obis and booklets not released in other countries, and with the release of their first material on CD, that being some 11 years later.

Japan was followed by the first group trip to Australia, for 2 shows, before returning to the UK on 19th August 1971.

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Dark Side 1000 Weeks On Billboard Chart

The Dark Side Of The Moon has officially spent 1000 weeks on the Billboard charts, as of this week 11th June 2011 – http://www.billboard.com/#/album/pink-floyd/the-the-dark-side-of-the-moon/61357, which currently shows “-,1000,1” for “placing last week, weeks on charts, highest position(US)” respectively. Go there after this week and expect the 1000 to still be climbing.

It’s there, it’s done it. More than any other album by quite some distance. It re-entered the Billboard Catalog Album chart at number 47, reaching in the process the very special milestone of 1000 weeks on Billboard’s charts. It provides us with a strap line to our campaign to take “Dark Side from 1000 (weeks) to #1” in the UK (finally) – The Dark Side Of The Moon, with all its popularity, all its longevity, all its Britishness, still hasn’t been #1 in the UK up to this date – but we mean to change that.

Got me wondering though, as it was 1,500 weeks in the charts a few years ago, and has been flagged as over 2250 weeks on Billboard: another stat on another page. It’s great to rejoice, but I’m not convinced by the metrics, and the way sales are logged to charts – different charts, changes over the years, and more recently complications over digital sales.

I’ve emailed Billboard to ask them for the official version, but as yet no response – I’ll post it if/when I get it. Plus, there didn’t seem to be any official news release by Billboard with the story, it’s been left to Floyd sites and keen observers.

1000 more?…

TC

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EMI’s First CD Plant In The UK, Swindon 1986

On this day 25 years ago… 15th May 1986, EMI opened its first UK CD pressing plant in Swindon, in Penny Lane Greenbridge Industrial Estate. Interesting of itself? Well, perhaps if you live in Swindon, or the UK. But there’s more, a DS connection…

The first CD made at the Swindon plant was The Dark Side Of The Moon, using the (first and) new EMI (version 0) mastering – see Vernon’s great information on this.

And when the plant closed 16 years later in 2002, the last CD pressed was TDSOTM ‘The First And Last’, commemorated as such.

Prior to this EMI had other companies manufacture CDs on its behalf, with the EMI name only added to labels, with the ensuing interest around other companies and masterings.

The Swindon plant was not the first in the UK. This distinction goes to the Nimbus CD plant in Monmouth, opened in August 1984.

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Roger Waters The Wall, with David Gilmour

We were lucky enough to be at The O2 tonight for Roger’s The Wall with Dave:

The O2 is a great venue, and with the whole of the stage end covered by The Wall and with the sound effects from each corner, the place was set for a magnificent show. We’d seen Polly Samson’s Tweet the night before, but hadn’t seen the Gilmour blog earlier in the evening saying “Yes, it’s tonight”. And wow, what a night.

The show was stunning, great sound, incredible visuals. Roger’s show a masterpiece, carefully crafted quality producing an amazing show. And to witness Dave’s (unannounced by Roger) appearance on top of The Wall for Comfortably Numb, well… you listen to the crowd’s reaction when they recognise Gilmour. Even Roger is smiling.

Note 1: Rog turns to the wall and looks in the wrong place at first, as in the normal set the chorus is sung (by Robbie Wyckoff) in the middle of the wall, before the guitar solo (by Dave Kilminster) further along, where Dave is. So Rog forgot Dave would appear a little way along the wall too! (Edited out of the official video at 1:28.)

Note 2: (rusty and nervous) Dave gets the lyrics wrong at 3:45 (!). Repeat of “Now I’ve got that feeling once again, I can’t explain you would not understand, This is not how I am” instead of “I turned to look but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, The child is grown, The dream is gone”. (But I think we’ll forgive him.)

Note 3: Incredible effects get even more incredible at 5:30

Note 4: Roger looks happy (throughout!)

Note 5: And with Nick Mason on stage for Outside The Wall at the end of the show (see Roger’s Facebook page again for footage), an unforgettable gig.

Up to this point I’ve said Radio KAOS was my favourite live show. I think it just got beat.

Thank you Roger. Thank you David. Thank you band.

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The Doctor and Floydpodcast.com

I was a fit and healthy Floyd fan from a young age. I remember vividly the clear vinyl copy of TDSOTM my Sister had in late 70s (but didn’t know at the time it was a French import). Whilst older than the classic, I was very young when it was released in 1973. A big Floyd fan through school in the ’80s, I had a better diet than my peers’ choice of U2 and The Cure. I watched the legal battles of the fighting Floyd, as they toured competitively, catching KAOS live in ’87 and the new-PF tour a few times around that period. Yes I dallied with Genesis and Marillion, as you did, but a solid Floyd diet was all natural.

Then, complacency set in. I took my eye off the ball with travelling and working, and then family. Still went to the shows and listened, but other priorities arose; I was lazy and didn’t put any effort into my Floyd work-out routine, and took it for granted. I spent time listening to Radiohead and Tragically Hip, other distractions. I always knew the nutritional value I was missing, but lost my way and it started to show, flabby round the edges, misdirected. Not enough Floyd. Too quiet, I wasn’t Raving and Drooling.

Until, using the power of the ‘Net and surfing, I was looking for information on the famous “Spitting Incident”, and I found the Docs’ podcasts. I hadn’t realised how much I’d strayed, but wealth – and health – of the Floyd material there was re-energising. Podcast #50 being special (Roger’s “Oh for…”). A gold mine: lots of live material (afterall the Floyd were originally more of a live band) with access to additional material, delivered in a professional yet familiar way, in bite sized handy podcasts! Doc, you should have your own infomercial to tell the world how good your ‘casts are.

The Doctor saved me, and now I’m a Floyd gym junky again. The right Floyd diet and Floyd routine, from the expert practitioner, a prescription for the Floyd-Diet. Thanks for all Doc – and for easing the train commute into London.

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‘The Return Of The Son Of Nothing’ (aka Echoes)

40 Years Ago Today…

On the 1st of May 1971, Pink Floyd visited the Abbey Road studios to record parts for the Meddle album. They were under pressure from EMI to release a new record; indeed EMI released Relics later in the month (14th May) to help fill the gap of new material.

Starting in early January, Pink Floyd made 14 separate 1971 visits to recording studios in creating Meddle. On Saturday 1st May ’71 they made their 7th visit to Abbey Road that year. The band had recently returned from a European tour of Atom Heart Mother, and were back in the UK for a string of university gigs, before another planned European tour again in the summer.

Earlier the same week they had made their 6th 1971 visit to Abbey Road for Meddle recordings, and it was just over a week since their last gig in Norwich at the Norwich Lads Club. The set that night led out with the current release, as usual, Atom Heart Mother as the first half, followed by the favourites of the time:

Atom Heart Mother / Fat Old Sun / Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun / A Saucerful Of Secrets / The Return Of The Son Of Nothing

The last song that night, the debut of ‘The Return Of The Son Of Nothing’, was later entitled Echoes after the main recording was finished, and in time for the Japanese tour in August ’71 (the band’s first tour to Japan, a place they would return to on many occasions and owe the earliest Pink Floyd CDs to, and followed by 2 dates in Australia).

Echoes

Echoes was the main event of Meddle, being the whole second half. Meddle was Floyd’s 5th studio album, released on 13th November 1971, but it lacked a central concept. All four members of the band contributed ideas, which were pieced together in a fragmented manner to create the longer atmospheric piece wanted: these small pieces started with ‘Nothing Part 1’, and ‘Nothing Part 2’, then ‘The Son Of Nothing’, and altogether parts 1-24 became ‘The Return Of The Son Of Nothing’.

Meddle was later described as the Floyd’s “first good record” by Nick Mason, and “Half good” by Roger Waters, referring to Echoes as it displayed the style of music that was to manifest into their next studio album. The lyrics of compassion and empathy would later lead into The Dark Side Of The Moon: “Strangers passing in the street by chance two separate glances meet, and I am you and what I see is me.” – this idea is revisited in the tour film for ‘Us And Them‘ with images of commuters walking passed one another, and is an example of the more real and relevant issues that would be at the heart of Waters’ lyrics thereafter.

The first half of Meddle, whilst including what was to become a favourite ‘One Of These Days’, is a series of smaller songs that seem only support the mainstay of the album on side two.

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Eclipse

(Waters) 2:04

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy
beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
everyone you meet
All that you slight
everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
and everything under the sun is in tune
but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.

“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.” (Gerry O’Driscoll, doorman at Abbey Road Studios)

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Brain Damage

(Waters) 3:50

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

“I can’t think of anything to say except… I think it’s marvelous!” (Peter Watts, Pink Floyd’s road manager, father of actress Naomi Watts)

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