Atom Heart Mother

Release date: October 10th, 1970

Recorded at: EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London

Total Playing Time: 52'10

 

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Tracks:

Atom Heart Mother (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Geesin) [23:45] Instrumental

a. Father's Shout [00:00]

b. Breast Milky [5:20 (EMI/MFSL) or 02:59 (Echoes-L)]

c. Mother Fore [10:09 (EMI/MFSL) or 05:22 (Echoes-L)]

d. Funky Dung [15:26 (EMI/MFSL) or 10:11 (Echoes-L)]

e. Mind Your Throats Please [17:44 (EMI/MFSL) or 15:25 (Echoes-L)]

f. Remergence [19:49 (EMI/MFSL) or 17:44 (Echoes-L)]

If (Waters) [04:31] Vocals by Waters.

Summer '68 (Wright) [05:29] Vocals by Wright.

Fat Old Sun (Gilmour) [05:24] Vocals by Gilmour.

Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Waters, Mason, Gilmour, Wright) [13:01] Vocals by Alan Stiles.

a. Rise and Shine [00:00]

b. Sunny Side Up [04:22]

c. Morning Glory [08:17]

 

Musicians:

Syd Barrett: Guitars, Vocals

David Gilmour: Guitars, Vocals

Nick Mason: Drums

Roger Waters: Bass Guitar, Vocals

Rick Wright: Keyboard, Vocals

Alan Stiler: Vocals

John Aldiss Choir: Backing Vocals

 

 

Atom Heart Mother (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Geesin)

(Instrumental)

 

 

If (Waters)

If I were a swan, I'd be gone.

If I were a train, I'd be late.

And if I were a good man,

I'd talk with you

More often than I do.

 

If I were to sleep, I could dream.

If I were afraid, I could hide.

If I go insane, please don't put

Your wires in my brain.

 

If I were the moon, I'd be cool.

If I were a book, I would bend for you.

If I were a good man, I'd understand

The spaces between friends.

 

If I were alone, I would cry.

And if I were with you, I'd be home and dry.

And if I go insane,

And they lock me away,

Will you still let me join in the game?

 

If I were a swan, I'd be gone.

If I were a train, I'd be late again.

If I were a good man,

I'd talk with you

More often than I do.

 

 

Summer '68 (Wright)

Would you like to say something before you leave

Perhaps you'd care to state exactly how you feel

We said goodbye before we said hello

I hardly even like you, I shouldn't care at all

We met just six hours ago, the music was too loud

From your bed I gained a day and lost a bloody year

And I would like to know

How do you feel, how do you feel, how do you feel?

 

Not a single word was said, delights still without fears

Occasinally you showed a smile but what was the need

I felt the cold far too soon - the wind of '95

My friends are lying in the sun, I wish that I was there

Tomorrow brings another town and another girl like you

Have you time before you leave to greet another man

Just you let me know

How do you feel, how do you feel, how do you feel?

 

Goodbye to you

Charlotte Kringles too

I've had enough for one day

 

 

Fat Old Sun (Gilmour)

When the fat old sun in the sky is falling

Summer evenin' birds are calling

Summer's thunder time of year

The sound of music in my ears

Distant bells, new mown grass

Smells so sweet

By the river holding hands

Roll me up and lay me down

And if you sit don't make a sound

Pick your feet up off the ground

And if you hear as the warm night falls

The silver sound from a time so strange

Sing to me, sing to me

When that fat old sun in the sky is falling

Summer evenin' birds are calling

Children's laughter in my ears

The last sunlight disappears

And if you sit don't make a sound

And if you hear as the warm night falls

The silver sound from a time so strange

Sing to me, sing to me

When that fat old sun in the sky is falling

 

 

Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Waters, Mason, Gilmour, Wright)

(Instrumental)

 

 

NOTER

Atom Heart Mother was Pink Floyd's first No. 1 record. Up to their ears in avant-garde experimental ideas, the Floyd teamed up with the electronic composer Ron Geesin to create the side-long title track, their most ambitious piece of work so far. By now the group were producing themselves.

 

Nick Mason: "It's an averagely recorded album but a very interesting idea, working with Ron Geesin, an orchestra and the Roger Aldiss choir. Roger and I were quite friendly with Ron. I think I met him through Robert Wyatt. The thing that Ron taught us most about was recording techniques, and tricks done on the cheap. We learned how to get round the men-in-white-coats and do things at home, like editing. Ron taught us how to use two tape recorders to create an endless build up of echo. It was all very relevant to things we did later. Now I listen to it with acute embarrassment because the backing track was put down by Roger and me, beginning to end, in one pass. Consequently the tempo goes up and down. It was a 20-minute piece and we just staggered through it. On the other side, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast was another great idea -- gas fires popping, kettles boiling, that didn't really work on record but was great fun live. I've never heard Roger lay claim to it, which makes me think it must have been a group idea."

 

There is also the beautiful song "If" and "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast", with great sound effects. The thing most people remember "Atom Heart" for these days is its spectacular cover, featuring nothing but cows.

 

David Gilmour: "At the time we felt Atom Heart Mother, like Ummagumma, was step towards something or other. Now I think they were both just a blundering about in the dark."

The title track is embellished with horns and a choir. It is split into six different, named parts, although there is some controversy over where each section starts and ends. The two versions currently accepted are described below. Most of the divisions are marked by a return to the main theme of the piece, played by the group and the orchestra. Stanley Kubrick wanted "free rein" to use music from "Atom Heart Mother" in his film "A Clockwork Orange." The band didn't agree.

 

The album was named during the sessions for the BBC radio show, when the title track needed a name, and Ron Geesin suggested to Roger Waters that he'd look through The Evening Standard and see if he could find a title in there. The paper carried an article about a pregnant woman with a pacemaker, headlined ATOM HEART MOTHER, and the rest (as they say) is history. During this song, there are two voices that can be clearly heard:

 

17:28 - "Here is a loud announcement"

19:08 - "Silence in the studio!"

Alan, from "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" is Alan Stiles, a roadie of Floyd's back then. It's his voice you hear on the track. The kitchen sounds were recorded in Nick Mason's kitchen. The band was never very happy with this piece, which might explain why it was performed live only a few times. During the live performances the band was served tea on stage. Early British pressings of the album had the sound of the water dripping from the tap continue into the trail-off groove in the record, allowing some turntables to play dripping water forever (or until someone turns it off, whichever came first). Alan Stiles can be seen on the back cover of Ummagumma.

 

The cow on the album cover is Lulubelle III. The cow-cover came to be because the band wanted a cover that was as ordinary and un-psychedelic as possible.