Pink Floyd History 1969

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The previous chapter in Pink Floyd’s history timeline took us from the departure of Syd Barrett to David Gilmour getting settled into the band. There was the 1968 World Tour, the release of the first single with David Gilmour on, the release of The Committee and Saucerful of Secrets band. Lots of concerts sometimes more than one per day. A busy time indeed.

Pink Floyd Timeline : 1969

10 January 1969

Pink Floyd replace Hendrix Again at London’s Fishmonger’s Hall

Jimi Hendrix pulled out of a planned gig at London’s Fishmonger’s Arms (as a warm-up for his Royal Albert Hall shows) and was replaced by Pink Floyd.

Pic: 1969 Jimi Hendrix Royal Albert Hall London

1 February 1969

More album Recording Sessions at Pye Studios, London

Recording commenced on Pink Floyd’s third studio album, More. It was the soundtrack to the film of the same title. Pye Studio records show that two other songs were recorded but not released. These included ‘Paris Bar’ and ‘Stephan’s Tit’. Abbey Road studio would also be used. The recordings were done in the larger Studio One rather than the much smaller Studio Two.

14th February 1969

Commencement of UK 1969 Tour

Pink Floyd played 21 dates on the UK leg of their 1969 tour. It started at Valentine’s Day Ball at Loughborough University and wrapped up at St. James’ Church Hall in Chesterfield. The picture shows the band on 3rd March 1969 at Bristol University. The band’s experimental nature, especially around this period, was more appreciated on the university circuit.

See Pink Floyd Tour 1969 : The Man and the Journey

10th March 1969

Syd Barrett back in the Studio recording The Madcap Laughs

According to record producer Malcolm Jones…

One day, late in March, 1969, I received a message that Syd Barrett had ‘phoned EMI’s studio booking office to ask if he could go back into the studios and start recording again. It was over a year since Syd had parted company with Pink Floyd and, as head of Harvest, the request was referred to me.

I had never met Syd, although he had apparently been in the studio with Peter Jenner a year previously, just after I joined EMI. Needless to say I was familiar with his past successes with the Floyd, and I knew as much as anyone about the circumstances surrounding his leaving. It had occurred to me on several occasions to ask what had become of Syd’s own solo career. Peter Jenner and Andrew King, the original Floyd management team, managed many artists on Harvest. Dark references were made to ‘broken microphones in the studios and general disorder’ by EMI management, and this had resulted in a period when, if not actually banned, Syd’s presence at Abbey Road was not particularly encouraged. None of Peter Jenner’s recordings of Syd had turned out releasable, and no-one in EMI’s A&R department had gone out of his way to encourage Syd back. Now that I had A&R responsibility for Harvest, I was determined to make the most of this contact with Syd and I rang him back immediately. Syd explained that he had lots more material for a new album, and since he had not recorded for more or less two years there was no reason to doubt him. He was also keen to try and salvage some of Peter Jenner’s sessions (see session Appendices), and in all he seemed very together – in contrast to all the rumors circulating at the time. There was, he said, a song called Opel, another called Terrapin, a song about an Indian girl called Swan Lee, and one called Clowns And Jugglers. Plus he had started work at Abbey Road on a James Joyce poem, ‘Golden Hair’ which he was most anxious to complete.

See : The Making of the Madcap Laughs ebook by Malcolm Jones, also 1969 Syd Barrett Madcap Laughs Photo Session

14th April 1969

The Massed Gadgets of Auximines — More Furious Madness from Pink Floyd

“The Massed Gadgets of Auximines — More Furious Madness from Pink Floyd” was a series of concerts held by Pink Floyd in 1969, showcasing their avant-garde and experimental style during a transformative period in their career. These performances, known for their innovative and immersive nature, were instrumental in developing the band’s distinctive sound and stage presence.

The title, a whimsical nod to their inventive and unconventional approach, hinted at the eclectic mix of music and theatrics that defined these shows. This series featured material from their album “A Saucerful of Secrets” and pieces that would later appear on “Ummagumma,” blending experimental soundscapes with light shows and visual effects.

The Massed Gadgets concerts was a pivotal moment in Pink Floyd’s evolution, highlighting their transition from psychedelic pop to the progressive rock giants they would become, marked by a fusion of artistic expression and musical exploration.

27 April 1969

Ummagumma Live Recordings at Mothers Club, Birmingham

“Ummagumma,” released in 1969, features live recordings from their performance at Mothers Club in Birmingham. The live portion of the album, recorded in April 1969, exemplifies the band’s experimental and psychedelic prowess. It includes extended renditions of “Astronomy Domine,” “Careful with That Axe, Eugene,” “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun,” and “A Saucerful of Secrets,” each showcasing the band’s ability to create immersive, expansive soundscapes.

These recordings at Mothers Club, highlight Pink Floyd’s mastery in live performance, combining innovative musical arrangements with atmospheric sound effects.

16 May 1969

12 Day UK Tour of The Man and the Journey

Pink Floyd embarked on a notable 12-date tour across the United Kingdom starting at Leeds Town Hall and concluded on June 26 at The Royal Albert Hall in London. The tour included a benefit show at London’s Roundhouse for the band Fairport Convention, following the death of their drummer Martin Lamble in a road crash.

See: The Man and the Journey Tour Programme, also Pink Floyd 1969 Tour,

31st May 1969

The film More Premieres at Cannes Film Festival

The Barbet Schroeder film More, featuring Pink Floyd soundtrack which was their third album, was premiered at the famous Cannes film festival. The film was never released in the UK and got quite a bad press given its provocative content and themes.

13th June 1969

Soundtrack to the Film More released in the UK

The soundtrack, by Pink Floyd, was officially released in the UK and got to number 9 in the charts.

23 June 1969

Ummagumma Final Mixes

In the middle stages of 1969, Pink Floyd completed the final mixes for “Ummagumma,” an album that showcased their versatility and innovation. This double album featured a unique format: two sides contained live recordings, capturing the band’s dynamic performance style, while the other two sides were devoted to individual compositions by each band member. These solo pieces, recorded intermittently at Abbey Road Studios since March 1969, offered a glimpse into the diverse creative talents within the band. “Ummagumma” represented a blend of Pink Floyd’s live energy and experimental studio work, highlighting their distinct approach to music during this period.

26 June 1969

Pink Floyd’s The Final Lunacy Performed at Royal Albert Hall

“The Final Lunacy” was a notable concert by Pink Floyd held at the Royal Albert Hall. This performance, part of the band’s innovative journey, likely featured a mix of their experimental music and visual stage elements.

The concert was significant for Pink Floyd, marking a key moment in their artistic evolution and showcasing their unique approach to live performances. The Royal Albert Hall, a prestigious venue, provided an ideal setting for this event, reflecting the band’s status in the progressive rock scene.

This performance was an important part of Pink Floyd’s history, demonstrating their ability to blend music and visual artistry in a live setting.

This concert concluded their Man and the Journey tour.

20th July 1969

Pink Floyd Moonhead Performance

As part of the BBCs coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission, Pink Floyd improvised an unreleased song called Moonhead. You can watch/listen to it on Youtube.

“Moonhead” never appeared on any of Pink Floyd’s studio albums. Its existence is primarily known to dedicated fans and collectors. The track is a hidden gem in Pink Floyd’s discography and showcases their ability to create evocative, instrumental music.

True to Pink Floyd’s style, “Moonhead” features a dreamy and atmospheric sound, fitting for the space theme. It’s reflective of the band’s experimental approach to music during this period.

8th August 1969

National Jazz Pop Ballads & Blues Festival at Plumpton Race Track

In a relatively quiet time period, Pink Floyd performance at the National Jazz Pop Ballads & Blues Festival at Plumpton Race Track

17th September 1969

Pink Floyd Netherlands and Belgium Concerts

Pink Floyd embark on a 9 day tour of Netherlands and Belgium on their 1969 Tour European Leg.

22nd October 1969

1969 22nd October Electric Garden Goes Underground

Pink Floyd play Electric Garden Goes Underground

Pink Floyd performed at Electric Garden Goes Underground. The venue would later be known as Middle Earth and would improve as an iconic event.

25th October 1969

Pink Floyd joined by Frank Zappa at the ‘Actuel Festival’ in Amougies, Belgium,

Pink Floyd’s performance was filmed for a TV documentary entitled ‘Music Power’. Frank Zappa joined Pink Floyd on stage for a rendition of Interstellar Overdrive. You can watch the performance on YouTube.

7th November 1969

Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma released in the UK

Pink Floyd’s fourth studio album Ummagumma, comprising Live and Studio recordings, reached number 4 in the UK charts.

Tracklisting of Ummagumma

Astronomy Dominé; Careful With That Axe, Eugene; Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun; A Saucerful Of Secrets (recorded live at Mothers in Birmingham and Manchester College Of Commerce); Sysiphus, Parts 1-4; Grantchester Meadows; Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In a Cave And Grooving With A Pict; The Narrow Way; The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party.

15th November 1969

Pink Floyd in Rome recording for Zabriskie Point soundtrack

In 1969, Pink Floyd travelled to Rome to record music for the soundtrack of “Zabriskie Point,” a film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. This project represented a unique venture for the band, as it was one of their first forays into film scoring outside of the UK. During these sessions, Pink Floyd experimented with various musical ideas, attempting to align their sound with Antonioni’s vision for the film. However, the collaboration proved to be somewhat challenging. Antonioni, known for his exacting standards, rejected much of the music Pink Floyd initially presented. Despite these difficulties, the band’s contribution to the soundtrack, including pieces like “Heart Beat, Pig Meat” and “Crumbling Land,” showcased their distinctive style and ability to adapt to different artistic contexts.

The recording would be finished at Abbey Road Studios in London in January 1970.

The year 1969 was a significant period of growth and experimentation for Pink Floyd, setting the stage for their later iconic works. Here’s a detailed look at their activities and achievements in 1969:

Early 1969: Finding a New Direction

  • Post-Barrett Era: Continuing from the departure of Syd Barrett in 1968, Pink Floyd was finding its footing with the new lineup: Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason, and David Gilmour.
  • Musical Evolution: The band’s music began to shift from psychedelic rock to more experimental and progressive rock.

Studio Work and Album Releases

  • ‘More’ Soundtrack: In July, Pink Floyd released the soundtrack for the film ‘More’. This album marked their first full project without Barrett and showcased a mix of acoustic folk and hard rock.
  • ‘Ummagumma’: Released in November 1969, ‘Ummagumma’ was a double album featuring live recordings and experimental solo pieces by each band member. It highlighted the band’s exploratory approach to music.

Live Performances and Tours

  • Live Shows: Pink Floyd continued to tour extensively, performing in Europe and the United States. Their live shows were gaining notoriety for their innovative use of visual effects and lengthy improvisations.
  • The Man and The Journey Tour: This was a concept tour featuring two suites of music, ‘The Man’ and ‘The Journey’, which included early versions of what would later become parts of ‘Meddle’ and ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.

Experimentation and Innovation

  • Expanding Musical Horizons: The band continued to experiment with new sounds and recording techniques. This period was marked by a willingness to push boundaries and explore different musical landscapes.
  • Collaborations and Projects: Pink Floyd also engaged in various side projects and collaborations, contributing to the avant-garde and progressive rock scenes.

Internal Dynamics

  • Creative Leadership: Waters and Gilmour began to emerge as the principal contributors to the band’s music and lyrics, shaping the direction of future albums.
  • Richard Wright’s Influence: Wright’s keyboard work became a defining element of the band’s sound, particularly on their studio recordings.

Cultural Impact

  • Growing Fanbase: Pink Floyd’s unique style and live performances continued to attract a growing fanbase, setting the stage for their later worldwide success.
  • Influence on Progressive Rock: The band’s work in 1969 played a crucial role in the development of the progressive rock genre.

End of 1969: Setting the Stage for the 70s

  • Consolidating Their Sound: By the end of 1969, Pink Floyd had firmly established its new identity post-Barrett and was on the cusp of entering its most celebrated era.
  • Foundations for Future Albums: The experimental work and concepts developed during this year would heavily influence their subsequent albums in the 1970s.

1969 was a transformative year for Pink Floyd, marked by creative exploration and a shift towards the progressive rock sound that would define their most successful works.

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