Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast

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"Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast"
Song by Pink Floyd from the album Atom Heart Mother
Published World Copyrights
Released 2 October 1970 (UK)
10 October 1970 (US)
Recorded August 1970
Abbey Road, London
Genre Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, experimental rock, musique concrète
Length 13:01
Label Harvest
Writer Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright
Producer Pink Floyd, Norman Smith (executive producer)
Atom Heart Mother track listing

"Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" is the fifth and final track from the 1970 Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother written primarily by Nick Mason but credited to the whole group. It is a three-part instrumental.[1][2]

Recording and sounds[edit]

The track features Pink Floyd playing in the background as Alan Styles (a Pink Floyd roadie, who appeared on the back cover of Ummagumma)[2] speaks about the breakfast he is preparing and eating,[2][3][4] as well as breakfasts he has had in the past ("Breakfast in Los Angeles. Macrobiotic stuff..."). There are significant breaks before the first and in between all three instrumental parts where only Alan's muttering and movements, with occasional exterior background noise, are heard. Much of Alan's speech is overdubbed throughout the piece in gradually fading echoes e.g. "Macrobiotic stuff" is repeated every couple of seconds, more quietly each time. It was performed live three times in the UK during the winter of 1970.[2]

In addition to the talking, the sounds of Alan making breakfast—such as lighting the stove, cooking bacon, pouring milk and cereal (which makes a popping sound associated with Kellogg's Rice Krispies), loudly gulping and drinking milk or juice, and loudly and vigorously eating cereal—are clearly audible in the background,[2] which adds a conceptual feel to the track. Alan can be heard entering the kitchen and gathering supplies at the start of the track, and washing up and exiting the kitchen at the end; a dripping tap can be heard during both of these instances.[2] On some copies of the vinyl version, the dripping tap at the end of the song is cut into the run-off groove, so it plays on infinitely until the listener removes the stylus from the album,[2][5] an effect obviously lost on the CD release, though the dripping continues for approximately 17 seconds after all other sounds have ceased.

Jam band The Breakfast have taken their name from the song.[6][7]

Sections[edit]

Rise and Shine[edit]

This piece consists of two pianos, bass, Hammond organ, drums, and a steel guitar fed through a Leslie speaker.

During the opening of this section, Alan can be heard muttering to himself, deciding what to have as he begins to prepare his breakfast. He can be heard saying the following: "Oh... Er... Me flakes... Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, toast, coffee... Marmalade, I like marmalade... Yes, porridge is nice, any cereal... I like all cereals... Oh, God. Kickoff is 10am." At the end of this section, the whistling sound of a tea kettle can be heard as the music stops.

Sunny Side Up[edit]

This piece takes the form of a modified fugue, and was written and performed entirely by David Gilmour on two acoustic guitars and a steel guitar.

Morning Glory[edit]

This piece was performed by the entire band. The main instrument is Richard Wright's piano, which was overdubbed three different times (one in the left channel, one in the centre, and one in the right channel). The piece also features very prominent bass, electric guitar, ADTed drums, and Hammond organ. At the end, after saying "My head's a blank", Alan picks up his car keys and leaves via the door. Faintly, a car can be heard starting and driving away.

Personnel[edit]

with:

  • Alan Styles — voice, sound effects

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X. 
  3. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). "The Albums". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 162. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  4. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). "Set the Controls". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 64. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  5. ^ Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "The Amazing Pudding". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 163. ISBN 1-905139-09-8. 
  6. ^ Lee Seelig. "Backstage Pass - What's In A Name?". Archived from the original on 2006-07-24. Retrieved 2006-12-23. 
  7. ^ AJ Keirans (February 28, 2004). "The Breakfast of Champions (Or What's In a Name?)". Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-22.