I came late for the party. The Pink Floyd party that is. And even then it was only that wacky, hallucinogenic early period that ever caught my fancy. I expended considerable effort to gain some enjoyment from their 70s heyday recordings, but frankly it all still leaves me cold. But that early Syd Barrett material is another story. Especially those first three singles released before Syd's internal psychic battle resulted in his departure from the band. Arnold Layne beat the Kinks to the tranvestite-themed punch by three years. Needless to say it never garned any US airplay, but what a wonderful little trippy tune it is, along with its witty description of Arnold's predilection for stealing women's undergarments from a clothes line.
As for Syd, he managed to record a couple of solo albums before his internal demons rendered him unable to continue. One of the off kilter tunes from The Madcap Laughs - his first LP - is also a personal favorite. When I listen I imagine an acoustic Kinks song with chord changes inspired by Charles Ives and a lyric that is so obtuse that even John Lennon would be in awe. Ladies and gentlemen, please leave us here to close our eyes to the Octopus ride: