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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 23 - Animals

I done something last night that I have not even thought about doing for quite a few decades and that is to sit down and listen to a Pink Floyd album start to finish. The album I chose was Animals because today is the 39th anniversary of the release of Floyd's tenth studio album.

Some might wonder why I chose to inflict this pain upon myself but actually I have to say it was quite an enjoyable experience. Released just as Punk bands up and down the land were about to unleash their first steps into the world of records Animals is actually a very, very interesting piece of music. Like a number of Pink Floyd albums it is a concept album  but it's maybe a little bit different from previous albums by the band in that it seemed to directly be spotlighting the social and political situation that Britain was facing at that very moment in time.

The concept is loosely based around George Orwell's Animal Farm, which was primarily an attack on Stalinism, but the album has a big twist in that it was aimed at Capitalism. I would not for a moment think that I understand all what Stalinism and Capitalism really mean (I leave that for others to debate) but the album seems to me to be talking about a revolution.

The funny thing is, Punk, according to some, was meant to bring a revolution of sorts. Bands armed with three chords and the truth and a bucket load of attitude were supposed to be overthrowing the likes of Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis etc but the reality is they didn't at all. 

Yes, some things did change as a result of Punk exploding into the nation's conciousness, like how a band could make a record for themselves without the burden of a record contract as such, or that they didn't have to be too talented to be a songwriter or a musician (though of course among a good handful of Punk bands there were some pretty good musicians and some tidy songwriters). And once the albums started to appear throughout 1977 it was clear that many of these bands would not have time for songs lasting more than three minutes in comparison to say Pink Floyd releasing an album that contains an introduction and an ending that were under a minute and a half and then three songs that clocked in at over ten minutes each! The whole album of five tracks lasts 41mins and 41secs and when The Clash released their debut in April of 1977 there were 14 songs in 35mins 18secs or Ramones debut in 1976, that was 14 songs and a total length of 29mins and 4secs. What was apparent, especially on the Ramones album was there were no guitar solos whatsoever, no lengthy bridges or instrumental breaks, it was just 1-2-3-4, Verse, chorus Verse chorus, repeat verse chorus and end - simple!

I always found it funny that Pink Floyd showed a side to themselves on this album that they had not shown before, that like the Punks they could be a little subversive also. Promotion for the album seemed to have centred around a deal with Capital Radio (yep that one who The Clash sang about!) who had been broadcasting The Story of Pink Floyd and the jewel in the crown would be an Exclusive first airing of the music of Animals on the station, but (and I often wonder who did it and under whose orders), a copy of the album was placed into the hands of John Peel and on the 21st January he played Side One in its entirety and on the 22nd he played the whole of Side Two! I doubt any DJ would ever get away with doing that today!

If you've got some time today give the album a blast, it's not as painful as you think!

Animals - Pink Floyd
Harvest/EMI
Produced by Pink Floyd
Released 23rd January 1977
UK Chart #2
US Chart #3


Tracklist
Side One
01. Pigs on the Wing 1(1.25)
02. Dogs (17.03)
Side Two
01. Pigs (Three Different Ones) (11.25)
02. Sheep (10.25)
03. Pigs on a Wing 2 (1.23)
All songs written by Roger Waters except Dogs which was a co-write between Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

Personnel
Pink Floyd

    David Gilmour - lead guitar, lead vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar on "Dogs", bass guitar on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep", talkbox on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)"
    Nick Mason - drums, percussion, tape effects
    Roger Waters - lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar on "Pigs on the Wing", rhythm guitar on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep", tape effects, vocoder, bass guitar on "Dogs"
    Richard Wright - Hammond organ, electric piano, Minimoog, ARP string synthesizer, piano, clavinet, harmony vocals on "Dogs"


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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