Pink Floyd: Relics

ON THIS DATE (41 YEARS AGO)
May 14, 1971 – Pink Floyd: Relics is released in the UK.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
Relics is a compilation album by Pink Floyd released on this date in May, 1971 in the UK. The album was released on 15 July in the United States. Initially released by Starline, the compilation was reissued by Music for Pleasure in the United Kingdom; Harvest and Capitol distributed the album in the United States. The release of Relics was sparked by the success of Atom Heart Mother which peaked at #1 on the British charts.
Pink Floyd achieved their greatest success after their enigmatic leader, Syd Barrett, left the band. Originally released in 1971, Relics documents the transition from Barrett’s LSD-influenced psychedelic rock to Waters’ manic-depressive psychedelic rock. The organ-laced “Arnold Layne,” and “See Emily Play” with its harpsichord break and nonsensical lyrics, are representative of the mod-pop music coming out of London circa 1967, at which Barrett excelled. The instrumental “Interstellar Overdrive” hints at the type of extended space-rock jams that Roger Waters and the rest of the band would seize upon once Barrett left.
Keyboardist Rick Wright contributes two tunes, “Remember a Day” and “Paintbox,” showing that he was coming into his own as a songwriter before his creative voice was squashed by the overbearing Waters. By 1971 it was clear that Pink Floyd was Roger Waters’ band, with the occasional contribution by one of the other members, most notably guitarist David Gilmour.
The album cover was designed by drummer Nick Mason, and according to him is the only concrete product of his years at architecture school in the Regent Street Polytechnic. When the album was released on CD, former Hipgnosis partner Storm Thorgerson had a real-life version of the contraption on the cover made and presented it to Mason. It still resides in Mason’s office. Both Thorgerson and his assistant, Peter Curzon, came up with the idea after viewing the head sculpture which had been constructed by John Robertson and which appeared on the album sleeve of The Division Bell.
REVIEW
by Andy Kellman, allmusic
Since Relics is a compilation and not a regular studio album, it tends to be overlooked when thought of as one of Pink Floyd’s better releases. It might not be regarded as a classic psychedelic masterpiece in the manner of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and it certainly won’t ever achieve the multiple platinum status of Dark Side of the Moon, but it’s a pretty good place to start with the band’s early catalog. Originally issued in 1971, Relics culls from the band’s first five singles (two A-sides and three B-sides, including the non-album pop classics “See Emily Play” and “Arnold Layne”) and picks album material that capitalizes on the band’s versatility while making it a thoroughly palatable listen. From Piper, you get the goofy childishness of “Bike” and the mesmerizing “Interstellar Overdrive,” one of the band’s trademark instrumental freak-outs; “The Nile Song,” taken from the More soundtrack, is one of the heaviest songs the band recorded. A little bit of everything that made early Pink Floyd can be found here. Without a doubt, the disc is an essential part of the band’s discography, not to be disregarded in lieu of its overlap with studio album material.
TRACKS:
“Arnold Layne” (Syd Barrett) – 2:56
       * Single A-side released 11 March 1967
“Interstellar Overdrive” (Barrett/Waters/Wright/Mason) – 9:43
       * From The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967
“See Emily Play” (Barrett) – 2:53
       * Single A-side released 17 June 1967
“Remember a Day” (Wright) – 4:29
       * From A Saucerful of Secrets 1968
“Paintbox” (Wright) – 3:33
       * Single B-side to “Apples and Oranges”
“Julia Dream” (Waters) – 2:37
       * Single B-side to “It Would Be So Nice”
“Careful with That Axe, Eugene” (Gilmour/Waters/Wright/Mason) – 5:45
       * Single B-side to “Point Me at the Sky”
“Cirrus Minor” (Roger Waters) – 5:18
       * From Soundtrack from the Film More 1969
“The Nile Song” (Roger Waters) – 3:25
       * From Soundtrack from the Film More 1969
“Biding My Time” (Roger Waters) – 5:18
       * Previously unreleased
“Bike” (Syd Barrett) – 3:21
       * From The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967
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Filed under 1960s, Nick Mason, Pink Floyd, psychedelic, Relics, Richard Wright, Roger Waters, Syd Barrett

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