Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

See Emily Play released June 16 1967


"I was sleeping in the woods one night after a gig we'd played somewhere, when I saw this girl appear before me. That girl was Emily."

Syd Barrett




On Friday, June 16 1967, The Pink Floyd release their second single: See Emily Play/Scarecrow (Columbia DB8214 mono)

"Syd was listening to all the pop records...I mean we'd pour piss on a lot of them obviously - especially on the blues bands, I was never into the blues bands. I always felt that...even though I was a mate of Eric Clapton's... I always sort of felt that English blues bands...can white men play the blues? At heart I was always a bit suspicious of it...I never really bought that. So we were very conscious that we weren't that, but we'd take that improvisation thing, which was very much with the blues bands, and then sort of...on top of that we were putting like AMM and John Cage, I mean there was an awareness of people like that, and electronic music."
Peter Jenner (quoted in 'Random Precision' by David Parker, the definitive chronology of Syd Barrett's recording sessions)

"See Emily Play" was the second single released by The Pink Floyd, composed by Syd Barrett and recorded on May 23, 1967.

The song was reportedly about a girl named Emily, whom Barrett claimed he saw while sleeping in the woods after taking a hallucinogenic drug . Barrett later stated that the story about sleeping in the woods and seeing a girl before him was made up "...all for publicity." According to A Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey, by Nicholas Schaffner, Emily is the Honourable Emily Young, daughter of Wayland Hilton Young, 2nd 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, having been 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 asked him there in the first place. Afterwards Gilmour would recall this encounter by saying, "I'll go on record as saying, that was when he changed."

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

"Emily tries but misunderstands,
She's often inclined to borrow somebody's dreams till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let's try it another way
You'll lose your mind and play
Free games for May
See Emily play
Soon after dark Emily cries,
Gazing through trees in sorrow hardly a sound till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let's try it another way
You'll lose your mind and play
Free games for May
See Emily play
Put on a gown that touches the ground,
Float on a river forever and ever, Emily
There is no other day
Let's try it another way
You'll lose your mind and play
Free games for May
See Emily play..."





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