It’s simple to forget that Pink Floyd had been round long earlier than The Dark Side of the Moon made them one of many largest bands on the planet. That 1973 album and classic No. 1 LPs like Wish You Were Here and The Wall that adopted typically shadow the truth that earlier than Dark Side, the band recorded 7 albums, none of which managed to crack the Top 40.
The massive box set The Early Years — 1965-1972 is a sturdy reminder that Pink Floyd had an extended historical past earlier than The Dark Side of the Moon logged greater than 900 weeks on the chart. Over the course of 27 CDs, Blu-rays and DVDs, the group’s historical past — beginning with demos recorded by the group the yr it formed and ending with a remixed model of the album that came out right earlier than the one which lastly broke them — unfolds piece by piece, as members come and go (singer and guitarist David Gilmour changed the band’s unique visionary, Syd Barrett, not long after its debut album was released) and the band wipes away the psychedelic shadings of its early work and expands into extra experimental territory.
The Early Years divides the story into six volumes , most dedicated to particular person years that neatly divide into album eras. And with every successive record, Pink Floyd inched closer to the thick, progressive sound that anchors Dark Side. The musical area between 1967’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and 1972’s Obscured by Clouds, the LP launched 9 months earlier than Darkish Facet, is immense. However The Early Years — which paperwork all of it step-by-step with beforehand unreleased songs, reside cuts, live performance footage, TV and radio appearances and more — makes all of it appear to be probably the most logical of progressions.
How did Pink Floyd get from their odd debut single, “Arnold Layne,” a couple of clothes-stealing transvestite, to the epic “Echoes,” one in all their most celebrated pre-Dark Side tracks? Songs just like the 25-minute live version of “Atom Heart Mother” with brass, choir and strings from a 1970 BBC session and the varied soundtrack work collected right here connect the dots.
As a result of not one of the seven albums from the interval are represented right here, a minimum of not with variations of songs you’ve heard before, The Early Years tends to get a bit repetitive at occasions . To their credit score, although, Pink Floyd had been continually evolving their materials onstage. For instance, a live model of “Interstellar Overdrive” with Frank Zappa barely contains the acquainted riff that drives the track.
And those moments, together with the handful of previously unreleased tracks from Barrett’s short tenure with the band, are the set’s most intriguing ones. Videos documenting varied promotional appearances by means of the years — the place the band was forced to lip- synch tracks, with Gilmour typically filling in for the departed Barrett — additionally assist to type a more vivid image of the primary couple years, once they had been typically faced with condescending and sometimes rude TV hosts.
The Early Years isn’t designed for casual followers, the ones Roger Waters later railed in opposition to on albums like The Wall. It’s a deeply dedicated collection with more than 125 songs and 15 hours of video that aim to be the definitive phrase, outside of the albums, on the group’s first chapter. There have been larger, and grander, issues to come. However with out these tracks, they by no means would have gotten to the masterpieces that made them one in all rock music’s biggest bands.