Atom Heart Mother is the first Pink Floyd album to enter my list of 50 year releases. First of all I would like to get a few facts straightened out about the release. During my research I found some mismatches on several sources, but I will take my data directly from the official Pink Floyd homepage. The release date differs between some days between 2 and 10 October 1970. Wikipedia and Discogs are both brilliant sources for information about music, but one have to keep in mind that they are based on users, providing the information.
Normally, when the information conflicts, I would take that Discogs provides more accurate info than Wiki, since the users base primary are collectors of music. But in this case I am pretty sure the release date of the first UK press on Discogs were misleading, stated to be 10 October. This is, according to the official homepage, the US release date, and hence a former post, some Americans sometimes think that a release in the US overrules the release date in a bands own nation. (not to offend anyone). Which I guess happened in this case. So, now I have edited the Discogs first press release and entered the correct date, then we will see if it stays there – or gets overruled by another editor.
Another mismatch is about which of Pink Floyds albums are considered as studio albums. Releases before Atom Heart Mother are: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), More (1969) and Ummagumma (1969). Resulting in some sources stating that Atom Heart Mother is the fifth studio album, among them Wikipedia. The issue here is the album More, which actually is a soundtrack to the movie of the same name. About drug addiction on the Spanish Island Ibiza, directed by Barbet Schroeder, and the first album without Syd Barret. So, even it IS recorded in a studio, as most soundtracks are – except if they are played live on the scene, it should not be considered as a regular studio album in my opinion. And it seems like whoever edits the official homepage, agrees with me since it says:
2 October 1970
Pink Floyd’s fourth studio album Atom Heart Mother was released in the UK, and reached No. 1 in the charts. Tracklisting: Atom Heart Mother; If; Summer ’68; Fat Old Sun; Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast. The name of the cow on the album’s front cover was Lulubelle III. (source)
So, Atom Heart Mother was a studio album for sure, recorded at the usual Abbey Road studio in London from March to August 1970. It is often compared to Ummagumma in it’s construction, since they are both dedicated to the band as a whole on side one and more individual on page two. None of them are my personal Pink Floyd favorites, I find the debut The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Wish You Were Here, Animals and especially Dark Side Of The Moon far more better Also Relics, the 1971 compilation, is one of my favorites. That said, Pink Floyd have not made any bad albums, none at all, period!
Atom Heart Mother reached, as stated above, nr. 1 in the British lists and was followed by a world tour by the same name. Or, actually the world tour started before the release at the Bath Festival of Blues & Progressive Music in England 27 June and was performed in Seattle, US, on the UK release date – 50 years ago today. The tour ended in Birmingham (UK) 21 October 1971.
For an instance, don’t happen often with these older releases, I actually own and listen the UK first press. Labeled as
Harvest – SHVL 781 /1E 062 04550. Identified by the matrix/run-out A-1G / B-1G and without the EMI box on labels. The vinyl almost plays as NM, but the Gatefold sleeve has some writing with a pen (I did not do that!) and it has some damages around the edge, repaired with tape. No Harvest Records inner sleeve… And not for sale 🙂
Next Pink Floyd album coming up will be Meddle, 31 October next year. Keeping up the PF production of a album per year, since they formed in 1965..
Roger Waters – bass guitar, classical guitar , lead vocals
David Gilmour – electric guitar, slide guitar, steel guitar, acoustic guitar, classical guitar, bass guitar, drums, percussion, vocals
Richard Wright – organ, piano, vocals
Nick Mason – drums, percussion
EMI Pops Orchestra – brass and orchestral compositions
Hafliði Hallgrímsson – cello
John Alldis Choir – vocals