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"Le Canzoni dei Pink Floyd" - Christian Diemoz Print E-mail

Le Canzoni Dei Pink Floyd by Christian DiemozIn Italian. Published by Editori Riuniti, November 2002. ISBN: 88-359-5313-8

Joining the groaning bookshelves is a new book by Christian Diemoz, an established music journalist, aimed principally at our Italian friends. The book is indeed, written entirely in Italian, with presumably no current plans to do an English language translation.

"Le Canzoni Dei..." takes a slightly different approach to normal - it looks at the history of the band via the lyrics. As part of that, it reproduces all the band's lyrics (including all the subtle dialogs included as background "flavour" - some of which are incredibly difficult to hear, let along transcribe!) and translates them into Italian whilst trying to keep all the meaning and inflection there. As I am not a strong reader of Italian, I cannot tell exactly how well he has managed this aim, but gave the whole book my best shot. Took a while but I am pleased I persisted.

The book is split into sixteen chapters - covering the fifteen albums, with the sixteenth looking at tracks which didn't appear on any album - singles, unreleased tracks, etc.. The book runs to around 350 pages, and disappointingly, the only pictures are shots of each album cover (why does AMLOR have such a poor picture though?). This is a shame after a great cover shot of the band outside Alexandra Palace. Production and personnel details of each recording are also included.

Each album is prefaced with a passage talking in detail about what lay behind the album - events affecting the band, and so on. There is impressive detail about each and every song; some album are naturals to be able to ramble on and on about (indeed, there is at least one book coming out soon about The Wall, and another on Dark Side Of The Moon, for example) but Chris is able to talk intelligently at the right sort of length about every track - down to the likes of Bike and Seamus.

Pink Floyd have never played down their British culture and throughout their history they have included many references that mean little or nothing to those who've not lived in the British Isles. Chris has made a good effort to explain some of these things. This is useful as it allows one to follow the concepts subtly referred to, often forming a crucial part or phrase, in their songs. For example, despite their whimsical sound, a lot of the early Syd Barrett-penned titles were complex, and spiritual. Obviously not Bike though!

He has also carefully examined some of the influences and references that pepper their work - for example, the early work all features nods to the I-Ching, Tolkien, Hilaire Belloc, and Graham's Wind In The Willows. Later work moves more towards autobiography and Chris examines how the lives of the band members affected their writing and performance. Understanding this is a key to a deeper appreciation of the band and their music.

For our Italian readers, this is a good wrap-up of all Floyd's work, with some perceptive commentary throughout, and a decent amount of background detail behind each song and album. For people who cannot read Italian, it is a worthwhile compendium of all their recorded works - including things like Biding My Time, Embryo and others, which don't normally figure in lyric collections.

With the events surrounding the solo albums, and the rich narrative in most of these works, Chris has got an ideal follow-up to this book to consider, should he want to commit time to a second volume.

 
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