Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

6. Pink FloydThe Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

So here was psychedelia – a new glittering nova swirl in the Western skies. These were the explorers and these were the messages they sent back to us. The Floyd emerged from the new British underground of the 1960s – happenings, hallucinogenic drugs, experimental art and film. Simultaneously, across the Atlantic, the Velvet Underground were emerging – performing as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, using smoke lights and projections, feedback and wild distortion. The Floyd could easily have been the Brit Velvet Underground – but this was Britain after all. They were middle-class British architecture students with good manners, from good families – and the music they made naturally reflected that – pastoral longings from Wind In The Willows, science fiction scenarios from Dr Who, articulated through sonic experiments indicated by The Kinks, The Who and mainly The Beatles.

They used engineers and producers who were the Abbey Road apprentices of George Martin. These were the impeccably competent – even inspired – backroom boys, who would oversee and patiently fix onto tape all the magnificent indulgences of later generations, from Bowie, Roxy and almost every band who meant anything.

One of them, Chris Thomas, would work with Roxy Music on creating all their best records and later even define the sound of the Sex Pistols – those skills would allow him to produce the most powerful drone and chop guitar sound ever committed to any medium. Ironic, in view of Lydon’s “We Hate Pink Floyd” T-shirt.

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