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The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (33⅓ #6)

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  154 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Through a series of interviews with a wide range of people connected to Pink Floyd in their earliest days (including Nick Mason, Peter Jenner, Jenny Fabian, Storm Thorgerson, Duggie Fields and Peter Whitehead), John Cavanagh paints a vivid picture of how this remarkable debut album was created. He brings to life the stories behind each track, as well as Pink Floyd's ground ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published September 17th 2003 by Bloomsbury Academic
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Paul Bryant

This album is an entracing whirligig of English psychedelia of the Alice in Wonderland-meets-Pooh Bear-and an elf-on a croquet lawn-in the 5th dimension variety. The English type of acid music was so different from the American. This was often because English people had not actually taken any acid but had just read descriptions of acid trips and what acid music was supposed to be in the newspapers. English psychedelia had one foot in Croydon and the other in Tibet :

I'll sing you a song with no w
I have become a fan of the 33 series of books analyzing influential LPs ever since encountering the one about Jethro Tull's "Aqualung", which articulated quite a few of the album's musical qualities I have appreciated for a long time but also been unable to explain exactly why until now. This one I've been even more curious to read, not just because Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is probably the album that's done the most to shape my taste in music but also since PF might be the singl ...more
Feb 27, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd, freakbeat, UK psych
Shelves: rock-sleaze
My favorite of the 33 1/3 book series. The slant the author takes on this book is not the Syd Barrett acid tragedy, but rather a healthy look at what the psych scene in London was at the time.

Points the author made:
That Barrett was 100% in charge of the band and the music and not quite far gone yet.
Barrett was the only real hard-core acid head while the rest of the band were beer drinking mates.
Pink Floyd wanted to be pop stars while Syd didn't really care much for stardom even back in the day.
his was a near perfect 33 1/3 style book. good information about the band, the world at the time, recording process and struggles. the focus is very strong on just this album. now to listen to the record FOR THE FIRST TIME! (crazy, i know.)
The structure is a little chaotic - Cavanagh skips the formation of the band entirely and jumps straight to the recording of the album, interspersed freely with interesting anecdotes from the Swinging London scene at the time. I learned a lot about the intersection of the counter-culture and the British recording industry. I also gained a better, more even-handed understanding of Syd Barrett's talents. He wasn't an otherworldly genius, or just a crazy person who took lots of drugs. Those were el ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Nathan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people on LSD
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
While not the hugest Pink Floyd fan, I found this book enjoyable in the manner that Cavanagh writes. He includes similar story lines as other writers in the series, but he manages not to go too far into detail, which keeps the book fresh.
If you are a music junky, you should be reading these 33 1/3 books. I've read the one about my favorite album (Double Nickels on the Dime) and a Bob Dylan classic (Highway 61 Revisited) and both times I appreciated the music more fully after reading. This one is about Pink Floyd's first album which I've listened to but not memorized like Dark Side and The Wall, and once again the book has opened up the music a bit. I knew very little about early Pink Floyd with the exception of Syd Barrett's LSD ...more
Tobin Elliott
This was okay. Maybe it was because it was Pink Floyd's first album, maybe it was because the focus was more on the provisional band leader at the time, Syd Barrett.

I seem to prefer more of a "part two" thing with bands. I prefer Sammy Hagar to David Lee Roth in Van Halen. I prefer Brian Johnson to Bon Scott in AC/DC. And I prefer Roger Waters' version of Pink Floyd better than Syd Barrett's.

Whatever the reason, while the author really tried to capture the mood of the time, I feel as though som
Greg Brozeit
A nice piece on Pink Floyd's mostly overlooked The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the only complete album featuring the troubled genius Syd Barrett. He was the key figure in the band who was later replaced by David Gilmour. One can only wonder how different the sound of Pink Floyd might have been had Barrett remained healthy. On the other hand, he was the preeminent influence on their greatest works.

This book is for Pink Floyd fanatics and musicians interested in the technical details and history o
Yet another rather disappointing entry in the 33 1/1 series. I've been a Johnny-come-lately with respecting to appreciating Pink Floyd's debut album for what it really is - one of the ground-breaking works of the late 60s. This book does little to provide a contextual framework for why this album was made the way it was. Rather, it spends a lot of its time focusing on the less interesting aspects of creating an album such as this. I will have to turn to other books to get a real feel for what it ...more
Moreno Hogervorst
I liked the album better.
Dragan Nanic
My first meeting with the 33 1/3 series was Low and it set high standards that Piper at the Gates of Dawn just doesn't live up to. It is more a mish-mash of parts of interviews that are often hard to follow. It gets better towards the end, but it also talks more about the Syd, consciously avoiding mad epithet.
Peter Reintjes
Somewhat overstates the importance of The Pink Floyd debut album, but nicely fills in historical information.
I know very little about early Floyd, and this was a very good introduction. Enjoyable.
This was a good read. Highly recommend it to anyone that loves Syd Barrett.
Ken French
A little dry, but nice to read about Syd without all the breakdown stories.
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