31/8/14 – See Emily Play/Scarecrow – The Pink Floyd – 1967

Video Of The Day

Song Of The Day

The Pink Floyd 1967 Colour PicOne of the most influential records that led me to immerse myself in music was the Syd Barrett song, See Emily Play by The Pink Floyd (in those days there was a prefix). The record had such a wonderful sound and Emily seemed to be such a mysterious and magical figure – Emily dwelled in a fantasy land that any 9 year old would want to visit. I had no idea about drugs at that age, I lived in the countryside and had a radio (listening to the radio was compulsory). The music from 1967 came out of a dream world, a land of the imagination where things happened beyond the realms of the ordinary.

See Emily Play was The Pink Floyd’s second single and like Arnold Layne wasn’t supposed to appear on their groundbreaking album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn released in the same year. Hit singles were often not on the albums in the sixties and seventies – Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever were not on Sgt. Pepper’s although they were recorded around the same time). In America See Emily Play was added to the album in the hope of breaking the early Floyd commercially as part of the influx of British psychedelia. Sgt. Pepper’s was the biggest album in the world and they hoped this could also soar to the top on the back of The Beatles’ experiments. It didn’t work, although See Emily Play reached N0.6 in the UK, its highest position in America was No.134 . The album only reached No.131 in America whereas in the UK it reached the same position as the single. (Sgt. Pepper’s was released on 1st June, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn on 5th August).

The album was produced by The Beatles’ engineer Norman Smith, he had worked with them up till Rubber Soul and worked with Floyd on A Saucerful Of Secrets and Ummagumma. He also worked with The Pretty Things on S.F. Sorrow and had hits in his own right as Hurricane Smith with Don’t Let It Die and Oh Babe, What Would You Say? in the early seventies. He died in 2008 at the age of 85.

The B-side had an eerie macabre atmosphere with a clippity-clop rhythm and some kind of Middle Eastern wind instrument sound. It made me think that the scarecrow was coming alive, it made me scared of scarecrows for evermore. I have posted a video below consisting of only the words to the song. The See Emily Play videos are a glimpse into The Pink Floyd’s world in 1967, the second video from Top Of The Pops although damaged was thought to be lost and offers some great Syd moments.

Barrett was only in the band for one full album, his erratic behaviour making it impossible for him to continue. His friend Dave Gilmour joined Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright and they went on, against all odds, to conquer the world – Wright died in 2008. Syd Barrett’s LSD experiments may have led him to wander in this fantastic childlike world that he created but it ultimately cost him his sanity – he died in 2006 leaving behind an incredible story and a fascinating legacy.

And yes… I still have the single in the archive.

See Emily Play

Emily tries but misunderstands, ah ooh
She’s often inclined to borrow somebody’s dreams till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play

Soon after dark Emily cries, ah ooh
Gazing through trees in sorrow hardly a sound till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play

Put on a gown that touches the ground, ah ooh
Float on a river forever and ever, Emily
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for may
See Emily play

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See_Emily_Play

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Floyd

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syd_Barrett

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Smith_(record_producer)

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