Astronomy Domine

Astronomy Domine

Infobox Song
Name = Astronomy Domine

Artist = Pink Floyd
Album = The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Released = August 5, 1967
track_no = 1
Recorded = April 11-13, 1967
Genre = Space rock, psychedelic rock
Length = 4:12
Writer = Syd Barrett
Label = Columbia/EMI (UK) Capitol (US)
Producer = Norman Smith
next = Lucifer Sam
next_no = 2
Misc =Extra tracklisting
Album =
Type = Compilation album
prev_track = Beginning of album
prev_no =
this_track = "Astronomy Domine"
track_no = 1
next_track = "See Emily Play"
next_no = 2
"Astronomy Domine" is a song by British Psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd. The song, written and composed by original vocalist/guitarist Syd Barrett, was the first track featured on their debut album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (1967). The lead vocal was sung by Barrett and keyboard player Richard Wright. Its working title was "Astronomy Dominé (An Astral Chant)", although the accented "é" is an improper spelling. "Domine" ("Lord" in Latin) is a word frequently quoted in Gregorian chants.


The song opens with the voice of their manager at the time Peter Jenner, reading the names of stars through a megaphone. The intention of this opening is to replicate the feeling of outer space, with Jenner's voice sounding like an astronaut's over an intercom. Barrett's Fender Esquire then seemingly emerges from the distance and grows louder. At 0:19 a rapid beeping sound appears, again reaffirming the feeling of distant space. At 0:26, Mason's distinctive drum fills emerge, followed closely by Barrett's sinister-sounding guitar (perhaps reminiscent of Duane Eddy) in a figure suggestive of the brass motif from "Mars, the Bringer of War" in Holst's "The Planets". Wright's Farfisa organ is mixed into the background. Barrett's incantatory lyrics about space again support the cosmonautical theme in the song, mentioning planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune as well as Uranian and Neptunian moons Oberon, Miranda, and Titania, and Saturn's moon Titan. Barrett and Rick Wright provide lead vocals. Waters' repetitive bass line, Wright's Farfisa organ, and Barrett's kinetic slide guitar then dominate, followed by the voice of Peter Jenner again through a megaphone.

The song has an unusual chord progression: E, E-flat, G, A. The sound of this chord progression, in conjunction with the use of a Binson echo machine for the guitar, has a very distinctive psychedelic character. The track is the album's most "space rock" song, alongside the longer "Interstellar Overdrive". The style of the song and its use of sound effects would influence the future work of Pink Floyd, and its influence can be felt on "Ummagumma" (1969) and even "The Dark Side of the Moon" (1973).

Alternative and live versions

It was a popular live piece, and regularly included in the set, appearing as the first track on the live side of the album "Ummagumma" in 1969. By this time, David Gilmour was singing the lead vocals together with Wright, the song had been extended to include the first verse twice, and the instrumental in the middle included a very quiet organ solo before getting louder again back to the last verse.

It was dropped from the live sets in mid-1971, but eventually reappeared as the first song in some sets on the band's 1994 tour. A version from a concert in Miami appears as the B-side on the band's "Take It Back" single, and a version from one of the London concerts appears on the live double CD "P*U*L*S*E". Gilmour played the song at some of his appearances during his solo 2006 tour, again sharing the lead vocal with fellow Floyd member Rick Wright.
*Pink Floyd performed the song from 1967-1971 and 1994. The last time the song was ever performed with Roger Waters was on 20th June, 1971 at the Palaeur, Rome, Italy. []
*The "Ummagumma" live disc has an extended version of the song, reflecting the band's progressive style at the time. Verses are repeated and the keyboard section is extended leading to an 8-minute version of the song. Syd Barrett's vocals are sung by David Gilmour. This version can also be found on the American release of "A Nice Pair", a compilation album released in 1973.
*The track is also featured on the 2001 Floyd compilation album, "".
*The "P*U*L*S*E" version reverts back to the original 4-minute length, with Gilmour again taking lead vocals as in "Ummagumma".
*The song was also played by David Gilmour and his solo band (which includes Rick Wright with Guy Pratt on bass and Steve DiStanislao on drums) at the Abbey Road Studios sessions, which has been released as part of a CD/DVD "On an Island" package. "Astronomy Domine" was performed during the last few dates of Gilmour's "On an Island" tour.

Cover versions

*Voivod covered this song in their 1989 album "Nothingface".
*A cover of the song by the Mike Keneally Band is included on the 2003 Floyd tribute album, "A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd".
*A version by The Soft Boys appears on the live side of "Two Halves For The Price Of One" (1981).
*Widespread Panic covers the song in concert, seguing into a jam.
*Rockfour covers the song often in concerts. Rockfour also covered it in their album "For Fans Only!".
*dredg covers the song on the Syd Barrett tribute album "Like Black Holes In The Sky, The Tribute To Syd Barrett" (2008).


*Syd Barrett - Fender Esquire and vocals
*Richard Wright - Farfisa Organ and vocals
*Roger Waters - Rickenbacker 4001 bass
*Nick Mason - Drums and percussionwith
*Peter Jenner - Intro vocalisations

External links

* [ AMG song review]

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