Neverwednesday Nights

>> Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's probably a little ironic that I don't think I've featured my favorite band for a Neverwednesday Nights entry. There's actually a few good reasons for that--the fact that the Floyd did few music videos (few of which were any good)1, that their best live tracks tend to be a bit long (sure, I'd love to put "Echoes" up if there's a clip of it somewhere, but it's twenty minutes long), the fact that I don't want you folks to get sick of my obsessions, etc.

Still, it doesn't seem quite right to totally neglect them.

So, here we are: Pink Floyd, 1970, part of a live performance taped for KQED in San Francisco. "Cymbaline," a staple of the Floyd's live sets at the time, from the More soundtrack. And only around nine minutes in length. (You've been warned!) Great song, wonderful keyboard solo from the late great Mr. Richard Wright, and totally worth your time (but of course I'd say that). Hope you enjoy.

1Floyd's short videography can be found here at Wikipedia; it manages to be simultaneously longer and shorter than one might expect, thanks to a combination of several short films from the band's early period being classed as "videos" and the fact that the rise of MTV (and of music videos as we know them) coincided with the band's waning period. The Wikipedia videography is missing the videos for "Dogs Of War" and "Comfortably Numb" that were released around the time of the band's live Delicate Sound of Thunder, and the inclusion of the concert animation for "Welcome To The Machine" seems dubious (the footage, poorly synced to the studio version of "Machine," has indeed been aired as the song's "video" on MTV, VH1 and presumably elsewhere, but was originally created to be projected behind the band during performances of the song during the second set of the '77 In The Flesh tour).

Also dubiously counted as a "video" by Wikipedia appear to be two of the four tracks Roger Waters and his brother-in-law Willie Christie made as part of a half-hour short film made to promote The Final Cut in 1983.

For a band noted for its visual presentation and with an interest in film going back to their first singles, you'd think the Floyd would have made a number of excellent music videos, but it never seemed to be a medium they quite grokked. It's possible the band tended to think too big: after '72, their visual presentations were generally designed to be appreciated by packed crowds in athletic stadiums, and designing something to be seen by somebody standing behind 20,000 other people is a bit different from designing something to be seen on a TV in the living room. Or maybe they overthought things: the MTV-era films and videos--including, for instance, the Final Cut film and post-Waters products like the "Learning To Fly" video--tend to be more concept than substance. ("Well... there's... um... an Indian guy... and... uh... somebody in an airplane... and, uhm, maybe David can be playing a guitar in a wheat field near the end... when can we start shooting?") Or maybe it's simply that Floyd mostly gave up on singles after struggling to write a hit after Barrett left the band in '68; after 1969, practically all of Floyd's cuts were deep cuts and it was largely the rise of album-oriented-radio in the early '70s that contributed to Floyd's surprising success through the rest of that decade.

Confession: I wrote this footnote instead of working on my novel. Now you know the real reason it's so long. Procrastination. Writer's block. Yes, that's irony: I wrote an epic footnote about Pink Floyd music videos to avoid writing and because I was struggling to write.

Mock me. I deserve it.


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