early pink floyd videos

When I was a big Pink Floyd fan (c. 1987 to 1995 or so), I was more into the bloated later Floyd, after Roger Waters took control and started making rock operas and concept albums about the Falklands War and George Orwell. But, like many indie types, I’ve evolved a much greater appreciation for the strangeness of early Floyd — basically from the earliest Syd Barrett days through to Dark Side of the Moon’s steps toward the mainstream.
And now, thanks to the recent increase in the ease of posting videos online, a budding early Floyd videography is budding. They were a visual band from the beginning, and here are some of the video highlights I’ve found online.
Arnold Layne, their first single, featuring fun with mannequins, masks, and sand.
See Emily Play, the gloriously amateur video for their second single, complete with Nick Mason’s rubberlimb drumming. (Apparently taken from Chinese state-run TV, if the logo in the top left is to be believed.)
Scarecrow, an ode to primitivist, hippie-back-to-nature culture.
Jugband Blues, one of those man-Syd-probably-does-hear-voices songs. Listen to those lyrics (“It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here / And I’m much obliged to you for making it clear that I’m not here… / And I’m wondering who could be writing this song”) and it’s not to imagine him turning out to be nuts.
Flaming, a nifty bit of psychedelia, sort of a Doors-for-children.
Careful With That Axe, Eugene. Now that’s early Pink Floyd, the sort of spacy song that demanded drug use. Featuring some quality tire-squeal shrieking from Roger. (It wakes up around five minutes in.) Here’s a visually better version from the Live in Pompeii video. For the lava fans out there. And another, from Australia.
Let There Be More Light, a structurally awkward early Waters composition, featuring David Gilmour (Syd’s replacement) on guitar and complete with groovy chicks in the audience.
Astronomy Domine, also featuring early Dave. A reminder that Nick’s drumming wasn’t always so limp. Maybe my favorite early Floyd song, although this performance is truncated and not that great. Another version, slightly fuller sound, and looking in spots like it was lit by D.W. Griffith.
Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun, another classic. I imagine heroin feels a little bit like this song.
Point Me At The Sky, an early single (“And if you survive till 2005 / I hope you’re exceedingly thin / For if you are stout you will have to breathe out / While the people around you breathe in”).
One of These Days (I’m Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), off Meddle, featuring growly guitar and one of the all-time great monotone bass lines. An instrumental classic.
Bike, an early Barrett song, set to some Cartoon Network visuals.
Best of all: A great video of Syd and Co. playing Interstellar Overdrive, the band’s first great epic. (And one of the first songs I ever learned to play on guitar. That opening bass line is great.) Taken from 1967’s Tonite Let’s All Make Love in London, an idea I can endorse. (Warning: Hippie nudity.)

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