Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You'll lose your mind and play...

On May 23 1967, Pink Floyd recorded their second single release, See Emily Play at the Sound Techniques Studio in Chelsea. (Originally titled Games for May it was composed by Syd especially for the May 12 concert event with the same name.)

The song is about a girl named Emily, whom Barrett once said he saw while sleeping in the woods one night after he had taken a hallucinogenic drug. An article in Mojo magazine called "See the Real Emily" supposedly shows a picture of Barrett's Emily. Barrett later reportedly claimed that the story about sleeping in the woods and seeing a girl before him was made up "...all for publicity." Some speculate that Emily is the Honourable Emily Young (b. March 13, 1951), daughter of the Baron Kennet and nicknamed "the psychedelic schoolgirl" at the UFO Club.

Barrett, reportedly, wasn't happy with the final studio cut. He protested against its release, which producer Norman Smith has speculated was based on Barrett's fear of commercialism. During the sessions for the song, David Gilmour was a visitor to the studio, after being invited by Syd. He was shocked by what he perceived as a change in Syd's personality, and Syd did not appear to even recognise his old friend, despite having invited him there in the first place. For many years Gilmour would recall this encounter with the saying, "I'll go on record as saying, that was when he changed."

The slide guitar work on the song is said to have been done by Barrett with a Zippo lighter. The train depicted on the single's sleeve was actually drawn by Barrett himself.

See Emily Play was released June 16 1967 and reached #6 in the U.K. charts.


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