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Life, the Universe & Pink Floyd: Rare Hitchhikers Guide returns to vinyl in RSD Print E-mail
Written by Mark Naisbitt   
Friday, 20 March 2020
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - 2020 RSD 3LP release

In these times when many of us are stuck at home, either due to lockdown, or self-isolating, we were delighted when Mark Naisbitt, a BD regular, got in touch with an article he'd written about the link between Pink Floyd, and Douglas Adams - specifically his Hitchhiker's Guide project which spanned book, radio, TV, film and commemorative towels (amongst other things). If anyone else out there fancies adding their thoughts about, well, anything Floyd related really, do please get in touch. We'd love to include your contributions to the site!

To celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Douglas Adams epic Sci-fi comedy a rare, specially reworked version returns to vinyl which may be of interest to Pink Floyd fans. Author Douglas Adams and the band have a long time association. The original BBC radio series made its debut in 1978 and quickly became a cult hit evolving into books, TV and a couple of vinyl albums which Floyd fans would appreciate. Adams re-wrote the script for the first six episodes and they were recorded for the two albums, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (part one) by Original Records in 1979 and part two, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, following in 1980.

So what's of interest to Floyd fans?

Well, the original radio show ended with our heroes stealing a spaceship belonging to the admiral of a battle fleet. Adams, friends with Floyd at the time, altered the ending so that they steal a black, completely frictionless ship intended to crash through a star as part of the exotic light-show by the intergalactic rock band Disaster Area who are really Adams referencing Floyd going through the Wall-era protracted bust up at the time. Floyd, of course, previously released Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, which doubtless gave Adams the idea. The album version was the basis for the subsequent BBC TV series in 1981.

The album features the famous cover, 'Don't Panic' ,in large friendly letters, by Hipgnosis, who worked on covers for Floyd & ELO among many others. It also contains a line not in the radio version. Upon landing on the barren planet Magrathea, Arthur Dent mentions to Ford Prefect, "Ford, do you realise that robot can hum like Pink Floyd?"

Douglas Adams maintained his association with Floyd and suggested the title The Division Bell to them. He also played guitar with the band on stage during one of the Earls Court Pulse gigs in 1994. It was on his 42nd birthday, a number of significance to Hitchhiker fans! This is documented in Nick Mason's book Inside Out and videos are around on YouTube.

Sadly, Adams died suddenly of heart failure in 2001 aged only 49. David Gilmour played at his memorial service in 2001, and also at what would have been Adams's 60th birthday party in 2012. Adams official biography is called Wish You Were Here.

As part of this year's Record Store Day (now delayed to June, subject to change depending on how the current situation develops) the original radio series are being re-released on vinyl by the Demon Music Group. Hitchhiker's Guide (the first book) is being coupled with the second book's series, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, on three 180g coloured vinyl LPs. After years of being expensive second-hand rarities, Floyd fans who enjoy the Guide can now get their hands on a copy. However, they're being limited to 750 copies...Oh well, grab one while you can! For this ageing Hitchhiker, it's almost worth getting a new vinyl deck to time-travel back to '78 with Arthur, Ford & Zaphod for some fun, adventure and pretty wild things for less than 30 Altairian dollars a day...

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