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Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother - happy 40th anniversary! Print E-mail
Written by Christopher Hughes   
Monday, 11 October 2010

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart MotherCelebrating its 40th anniversary this week is Pink Floyd's rather wonderful, if sometimes overlooked, Atom Heart Mother. An album which came together with the help of composer and musician Ron Geesin, the eponymous title track spans one side, with the other side including Floyd classics such as If, and Fat Old Sun.

To help celebrate it, BD regular Christopher Hughes has been thinking about the album, and shares his views on why, for him, it is such an important album in the Floyd's back catalogue. Over to Christopher:

Where does one start?

At the beginning I suppose ... I love this album from the opening haunt of brass to the final drip.

I love its cover. I love how the idea of it was to 'find something so not Rock-n-Roll and stick it on there', and yet the music inside turned out to be some of Pink Floyd's most pastoral efforts ever. I also love how she's brown and white while all the rest are black and white...

I love the complexity of the title track juxtaposed with the simplicity of side two.

I love the gatefold version of the cover. I love its rough b/w imagery countered against the stark, full colour clarity of the front and back covers.

I love the live versions of the tracks.

I love the back cover. The trifector of cows, the similar patterns, the slight angle of the camera, the slightly pale blue sky and green grass with the vivid black and white of the hides.

Atom Heart Mother - back coverI love the irregularities in the bass/drum track of the title track despite it sitting in the middle of what pretends to be very regulated.

I love the nonsense subtitles of the title track and the common sense subtitles of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast.

I love the blundering nature of the brass in the title track and the structured nature of the brass in Summer '68.

I love how the title track comes to this full on, multi layered, many instrumented, glorious end, leaving me going "wow", then almost instantly the simplicity of the acoustic guitar for If starts up.

I love how on the lp the full on glorious end to the title track left me going "wow" and just sitting there as the aura of it all drifted and floated about the room in its own silence.

I love the interplay between Rick and DG during 'd.Funky Dung', all the while Big Rog on bass making it all funk and no dung.

I love how "If" straight out says "I'm barking but lovely, and so would be very happy if you saw the lovely more than the barking". A beautiful love song and sentiment.

I love the honesty of Summer '68 in regards to shagging groupies. All very revealing considering the band's, particularly Rick's, privacy. I also love how the honesty isn't cock-rock immaturity, but instead expressed in that English pastoral way that the Floyd could manage time and again.

I love Fat Old Sun. I love driving to and from work, through the countryside, past dairy cattle, sheep and pigs as well as a plethora of native animals (all the Aussie stereotypes of kangaroos, koalas,
kookaburras and their partners in crime ... not always starting with 'k'... I see on a daily basis) singing Fat Old Sun. I love driving along singing any of the Floyd canon, and any of this particular album. But I do so love the lyrics to Fat Old Sun in the context of rolling hills, the wheat and sorghum paddocks and all they offer up.

I love the live versions of Fat Old Sun and how they turned that simple pastoral effort into a rip roaring tune. Some of the extended jamming in 1971, then coming back in to repeat a verse is Pink Floyd at their very best in that time.

I love the simple idea and brilliant delivery of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast. I particularly love how it is a full breakfast, which I only have on weekends or holidays, which in turn gives the song an even more relaxed feel to it. I also love DG's acoustic guitar work throughout the track, offering up some of his best efforts of any Floyd tune.

My only sadness comes from the band and/or record label seems to not love the album as much as I do, by not celebrating it turning 40 in any way at all. It would be too much to expect a reissue with a 2nd cd of live versions (The BBC stuff is plain glorious!), but surely some sort of hoo-hah over their first No1 album would be forth coming? I suspect that after Piper's celebrations a few years back, the next one will be the umptidozenth re-issue of DSotM. Oh well.

S'all good. We have a marvelous album anyway that I have been spinning all week long and will continue to do so for another few decades or more at least ... I hope :-)

Happy 40th Birthday Atom Heart Mother. Long may you Moo!

 
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