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|Single by The Pink Floyd|
|B-side||"Candy and a Currant Bun"|
|Released||11 March 1967 (UK)
24 April 1967 (US)
|Recorded||29 January 1967, Sound Techniques Studios, London
27 February 1967, EMI Studios, London
|Label||EMI Columbia (UK)
|The Pink Floyd singles chronology|
"Arnold Layne" is a song by the English psychedelic rock band The Pink Floyd (later simply Pink Floyd) and is their first single released, shortly after landing a recording contract with EMI. It was written by Syd Barrett, their co-founder and original frontman. Although not originally included on the band's début album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, "Arnold Layne" is featured on numerous Pink Floyd compilation albums.
The song's title character is a transvestite whose primary pastime is stealing women's clothes and undergarments from washing lines. According to Roger Waters, "Arnold Layne" was actually based on a real person: "Both my mother and Syd's mother had students as lodgers because there was a girls' college up the road so there were constantly great lines of bras and knickers on our washing lines and 'Arnold' or whoever he was, had bits off our washing lines."
Recording and production
In January, Pink Floyd went to Sound Techniques studio in Chelsea (they had been there previously, to record two songs for Tonite Let's All Make Love in London). Here, the band recorded "Arnold Layne" and a few other songs: "Matilda Mother", "Chapter 24", "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Let's Roll Another One" (which was renamed to "Candy and a Currant Bun", at the lead of Waters). Nick Mason on the choice of "Arnold Layne": "We knew we wanted to be rock'n'roll stars and we wanted to make singles, so it seemed the most suitable song to condense into 3 minutes without losing too much". The band had tried to re-record "Arnold Layne" after signing up with EMI, but the Joe Boyd version from January was released instead. The song would be Boyd's last production for Pink Floyd.
Boyd mentioned in several interviews over the years that "Arnold Layne" regularly ran for ten to fifteen minutes in concert (with extended instrumental passages), but the band knew that it had to be shortened for use as a single. He has also said it was a complex recording involving some tricky editing, recalling that the middle instrumental section with Richard Wright's organ solo was recorded as an edit piece and spliced into the song for the final mix.
Both "Arnold Layne" and "Candy and a Currant Bun" were mixed into mono for the single. Both have never been given a stereo mix, though the four-track master tapes still exist in the EMI tape archive.
A black and white promotional film of "Arnold Layne" was made in late February 1967, directed by Derek Nice and featured members of Pink Floyd dressing up a mannequin before showing it around a beach in East Wittering, West Sussex. This promo, made for £2,000, was meant to be screened on 3 April 1967 for the BBC's Top of the Pops show, but cancelled when the single dropped down the chart. Another promotional film was recorded for the song, this time filmed on 29 April near St Michael's Church in Highgate. It is the only known footage of Barrett lip-synching to the song. It was shot in the spring[ambiguous] of 1967, around the time that his mental deterioration began.
The single was released on 10 March 1967 in the UK, backed by "Candy and a Currant Bun". The band's management, Blackhill Enterprises, had paid to boost the single's chart position, as manager Andrew King stated: "We spent a couple of hundred quid, [...] trying to buy it into the charts. The management did that, not EMI." However, despite reaching number 20 in the UK singles chart, the song's unusual transvestism theme attracted the ire of pirate radio station Radio London, which deemed the song was too far-removed from "normal" society for its listeners, before eventually banning it from radio airplay altogether.
All tracks written by Syd Barrett.
- "Arnold Layne" – 2:52
- "Candy and a Currant Bun" – 2:38
- Syd Barrett – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, lead vocals
- Richard Wright – Farfisa organ, backing vocals
- Roger Waters – bass guitar
- Nick Mason – drums
David Gilmour version
|Single by David Gilmour|
|from the album Remember That Night|
|Released||26 December 2006|
|Recorded||29 May 2006 at Royal Albert Hall, London (track 1); 30th May 2006 at Royal Albert Hall (track 2); 27 July 2006 at Klam Castle, Austria (track 3).|
|Length||3:30 (with David Bowie)
3:23 (with Richard Wright)
|David Gilmour singles chronology|
David Gilmour, during his solo tour promoting On an Island, unexpectedly added the song to the setlist near the end of the American tour on 17 April 2006 show at the Oakland Paramount Theatre. This incarnation of the song was sung by Richard Wright and remained in the setlist until 31 May.
On 26 December 2006, two live recordings of the song, from Gilmour's On an Island shows at the Royal Albert Hall were released as a live single, which peaked at No. 19 on the UK singles chart. One version had guest vocals by David Bowie. Both versions are featured on Gilmour's DVD/BD, Remember That Night (Bowie's version on disc one and Wright's version as a bonus on disc two).
- Track listing
All tracks written by Syd Barrett.
- "Arnold Layne" (with David Bowie) – 3:30
- "Arnold Layne" (with Richard Wright) – 3:23
- "Dark Globe" – 2:23
- David Gilmour – Fender Telecaster electric guitar, backing vocals (tracks 1-2), acoustic guitar, lead vocals (track 3)
- Richard Wright – organ (tracks 1-2), lead vocals (track 2), backing vocals (track 1)
- Jon Carin – keyboards, backing vocals (tracks 1-2)
- Phil Manzanera – guitar, backing vocals (tracks 1-2)
- Steve DiStanislao – drums (tracks 1-2)
- Guy Pratt – bass guitar, backing vocals (tracks 1-2)
Pink Floyd 2007 performance
On 10 May 2007, Pink Floyd, featuring Gilmour, Mason and Wright (minus Waters, who had appeared onstage earlier in the evening) performed for what was to be Wright's final live performance, at The Barbican, London, for The Madcap's Last Laugh, a tribute show for Syd Barrett organised by Joe Boyd. At the end of the show, they were introduced as surprise guests and Wright sang his band's first single one final time. This also saw the final performance by Pink Floyd with Gilmour now concentrating on his solo career, Mason on his motor racing, while Wright died in September 2008.
- "30 Wild David Bowie Duets and Collaborations > David Gilmour, "Arnold Layne" (2006)". Rolling Stone. 11 January 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- Chapman, Rob (2010). Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2.
- Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 31. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
- Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 32. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
- Cavanagh, John (2003). The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. New York [u.a.]: Continuum. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8264-1497-7.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 201. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 212. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 192. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. p. 193. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Cavanagh, John (2003). The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. New York [u.a.]: Continuum. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8264-1497-7.
- "PINK FLOYD | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Gilmour to release Barrett single
- Chapman, Rob (2010). Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head (Paperback ed.). London: Faber. pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0-571-23855-2.
- "Echoes: the album credits". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- "David Gilmour | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 12 July 2012.