If (Pink Floyd song)

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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 at Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic folk, progressive rock, progressive folk
Length 4:31
Label Harvest
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters
Producer(s) Pink Floyd, Norman Smith (executive producer)

"If" is a song by Pink Floyd on their 1970 album Atom Heart Mother.[1][2] This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[3]

The lyrics are clearly inspired by the homonymous poem by Rudyard Kipling, at least for the compositional scheme; only that, while the great poet turns to his son, Waters turns to himself.


Written and sung by Roger Waters, like "Grantchester Meadows" before it, "If" carries on a pastoral and folky approach,[4][5] but instead deals with introspection.[6] The song is in the key of E Major.


The song was performed live at a John Peel session on 16 July 1970, at BBC's Paris Theatre, London. Waters performed it on several occasions,[5] during the 1984/85 'Pros and Cons' tour, and in support of Radio K.A.O.S. in 1987. For these performances, "If" was expanded with additional lyrics and chord sequences.


In a review for the Atom Heart Mother album on release, Alec Dubro of Rolling Stone gave "If" a negative review, calling the song "English folk at its deadly worst. It's soft and silly." Dubro said the same for "Fat Old Sun".[7] In a more positive review, Stephen Deusner of Paste described "If" as one of Roger Waters' best compositions.[8] In another positive review, Irving Tan of Sputnik Music believes "If" contains "very introspective lyrics that end up making a memorable outing", but also believed the track was not as well-written as some of his later and earlier pieces.[9] Tan also believed the track was reminiscent of "Grantchester Meadows", another Waters-penned track from Ummagumma a year before.[9]



  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  2. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X. 
  3. ^ Guthrie, James. "James Guthrie: Audio: Building A Compilation Album". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). "The Albums". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 162. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  5. ^ a b Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "The Amazing Pudding". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 162. ISBN 1-905139-09-8. 
  6. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). "Set the Controls". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 63. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  7. ^ Dubro, Alec (10 December 1970). "Atom Heart Mother". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Deusner, Stephen (6 October 2011). "Pink Floyd: Atom Heart Mother ("Why Pink Floyd?" Reissue)". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 22 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Tan, Irving (18 September 2010). "Review: Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother | Sputnikmusic". www.sputnikmusic.com. Retrieved 23 July 2017. 

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