This week in 1967, Pink Floyd released their landmark debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Other monumental debuts that year include The Doors’ and The Grateful Dead’s eponymous long-players, along with Janis Joplin’s Big Brother & the Holding Company and Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced albums.
Politically and culturally, it was the dawn of a new era, with music taking center stage in the countercultural movement on both sides of the pond. And while psychedelic rock fueled the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, not everybody was on board.
In this 1967 clip from the BBC show The Look of The Week, presenter Hans Keller introduces Pink Floyd as “a bit boring” before grilling Syd Barrett and Roger Waters about their band’s use of loud guitar amps. “I want to ask one fundamental question: Why has it all got to be so terribly loud?” he enquires, bristling with irritation.
"For me, frankly, it’s too loud. I just can’t bear it. I happen to have grown up in the string quartet which is a bit softer,” says Keller, at which point Barrett and Waters share a knowing look.
“That’s the way we like it. And we didn’t grow up with a string quartet,” counters Waters. “I guess that could be one of the reasons why it is loud. It doesn’t sound terribly loud to us.”
“Yes. Actually, not everybody who hasn’t grown up in a string quartet turns into a loud pop group. So, your reason is not altogether convincing,” argues Keller.
Keller’s summary of Pink Floyd ends with more of a psychoanalytical diagnosis than an introduction to one of the world’s most influential rock bands. “My verdict is that it is a little bit of a regression to childhood,” he concludes. “But, after all, why not?”
Why not, indeed?
Get The Piper at the Gates of Dawn here.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.