A Saucerful of Secrets

A Saucerful of Secrets

Infobox Album
Name = A Saucerful of Secrets
Type = studio
Artist = Pink Floyd

Released = 29 June 1968
Recorded = August 1967, October 1967, January–April 1968
Genre = Psychedelic rock, Progressive rock, space rock
Length = 39:25
Label = Columbia (EMI) (UK)
Tower/Capitol (U.S.)
Producer = Norman Smith
Reviews =
*Allmusic rating|3.5|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:pnev97q7krht link]
*"Blender" rating|3|5 [http://blender.com/guide/reviews.aspx?id=2311 link]
*"Rolling Stone" (unfavourable) [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/pinkfloyd/albums/album/112387/review/5945795/a_saucerful_of_secrets link]
*Yahoo! Music (favourable) [http://music.yahoo.com/read/review/12036375 link]
Last album = "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn"
This album = "A Saucerful of Secrets"
Next album = "Ummagumma"

"A Saucerful of Secrets" is the second album by rock band Pink Floyd, and marks the group's stylistic change from psychedelic to progressive rock. It was recorded at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, at various dates from August, 1967 to April, 1968. Due to Syd Barrett's declining mental state, this was to be the last Pink Floyd album that he would work on.

Recording and structure

During its difficult recording sessions, Barrett became increasingly unstable and in January 1968, David Gilmour was brought in. Barrett was finally removed from the band by early March, leaving this new incarnation of Pink Floyd to finish the album. As a result, "A Saucerful of Secrets" is the only non-compilation Pink Floyd album on which all five band members appear, with Gilmour appearing on five songs ("Let There Be More Light", "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", "Corporal Clegg", "A Saucerful of Secrets", and "See-Saw") and Barrett on three ("Remember a Day", "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", and "Jugband Blues"). As well as "Jugband Blues", the album was to include "Vegetable Man," another Syd Barrett song. However, the band believed "Vegetable Man", with its autobiographical lyrics, was unsuitable for inclusion and so it was left off the album. The song was to appear on a single as the b-side to another unreleased track, "Scream Thy Last Scream". Two additional Syd Barrett songs, "In The Beechwoods" and "No Title" were also recorded early in the sessions for the album.

An image of the Living Tribunal from Marvel Comics can be seen in the cover's upper left corner. "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" is the only Pink Floyd song that features all five band members. Keyboardist Richard Wright sings lead or backing vocals on four of the album's seven songs, making this the only Pink Floyd album where Wright's vocal contributions outnumber those of the rest of the band.

ongs from the album

Like "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" before it, the album contains space rock and psychedelic rock songs. But unlike "Piper", which was dominated by Syd Barrett's compositions, "A Saucerful of Secrets" contains only one original Barrett song - the painfully poignant "Jugband Blues". The song greatly contrasts with Barrett's work on "Piper", which was entirely whimsical and child-like. Instead, "Jugband Blues" is a deeply introspective song, interpreted by some as Barrett's acknowledgment of his declining mental state.

With Barrett seemingly detached from proceedings, it came down to Roger Waters and Richard Wright to provide adequate material. The opening "Let There Be More Light" penned by Waters, continues the space rock approach established by Barrett, with its mesmeric opening bass line reminiscent of the material found on "Piper". Both "Remember a Day" and "See-Saw" use the child-like approach that was established on their debut. Wright remained critical of his early contributions to the band.

"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" (another Waters composition) is a space rock number which was first performed with Barrett in 1967. The success of the track was such that it remained in their live set-list until 1973 where it appeared in a greatly extended form. Waters later performed the track during solo concerts from 1984 and later. Waters borrowed the lyrics from a book of Chinese Poetry from the Tang Dynasty, like Barrett had used in "Chapter 24". "Corporal Clegg" is the first song by Waters to address issues of war and his father's death, themes which would endure throughout his career with Pink Floyd and culminate in the 1983 album "The Final Cut."

The album's avant-garde title track, which is comparable in length to "Interstellar Overdrive," provided a way forward for the band, and acted as a template for future progressive rock ventures. "A Saucerful of Secrets" remains as one of the band's most avant garde compositions, and is the first to feature input from David Gilmour. Like "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun", it became a regular live feature, and was eventually extended to around twenty minutes.

Release history

The album was released that June as both mono (SX 6258) and stereo (SCX 6258) LPs in the UK, where it reached #9 on the charts. It remains the only Floyd album to not chart at all in the US ("The Piper at the Gates of Dawn"'s US version, entitled "Pink Floyd", had lingered at the bottom of the US charts some months earlier). However, when reissued as "A Nice Pair", with the original version of "Piper" after the success of "The Dark Side of the Moon" the album did chart at #39 on the Billboard Hot 200.

The CD stereo mix of the album was first released in 1987, and in 1992 was digitally remastered and reissued on CD as a part of the "Shine On" box-set. The remastered stereo CD was released on its own in 1994 in the UK, and then in April 1995 in the US. The mono mix version of the album has never been officially released on CD, although Bootleg CD versions do exist.

Track listing

ide one

#"Let There Be More Light" (Roger Waters) – 5:38 – lead vocals: Wright, Gilmour, Waters
#"Remember a Day" (Richard Wright) – 4:33 – lead vocals: Wright
#"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" (Waters) – 5:28 – lead vocals: Waters
#"Corporal Clegg" (Waters) – 4:13 – lead vocals: Gilmour, Mason

ide two

#"A Saucerful of Secrets" (Waters / Wright / David Gilmour / Nick Mason) – 11:52 – instrumental
#"See-Saw" (Wright) – 4:36 – lead vocals: Wright
#"Jugband Blues" (Syd Barrett) – 3:00 – lead vocals: Barrett


*"Remember a Day" (edit) / "Let There Be More Light" (edit) (19 August 1968, U.S. release only)

Non-album singles

*"It Would Be So Nice" / "Julia Dream" (19 April 1968, 7" UK release)
*"See Emily Play" / "The Scarecrow" (22 July 1968, U.S. re-release 7")
*"Point Me at the Sky" / "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (6 December 1968, 7" UK release)


*"Was "Corporal Clegg" on "Saucerful of Secrets" a deliberate Hendrix-style sound that you were going for?"
**"No, not really. I didn't know what the hell I was trying to play at the time to be quite honest. I'd really no idea. What I was used to playing, the style I had, didn't fit Pink Floyd at the time, and I didn't really know quite what to do." – David Gilmour, "Sounds "Guitar Heroes" Magazine", May 1983
*"It was really stressful waiting for Syd to come up with the songs for the second album. Everybody was looking at him, and he couldn't do it. "Jugband Blues" is a really sad song, the portrait of a nervous breakdown. The last Floyd song Syd wrote, "Vegetable Man", was done for those sessions, though it never came out." – Peter Jenner


*Roger Watersbass guitar, lead vocals
*David Gilmourlead guitar, lead vocals, kazoo (incorrectly spelled "Gilmore" on the album)
*Richard Wrightpiano, organ, mellotron, vibraphone, lead vocals
*Nick Masondrums, percussion
*Syd Barrettrhythm guitar, vocals

Additional personnel

*Norman Smith – drums and backing vocals on "Remember a Day"
*8 members of the Salvation Army ( [http://www.theisb.com The International Staff Band] ) - Ray Bowes (cornet), Terry Camsey (cornet), Mac Carter (trombone), Les Condon (E♭ bass), Maurice Cooper (Euphonium), Ian Hankey (trombone), George Whittingham (B♭ bass), and one other in "Jugband Blues".



External links

* [http://www.pinkfloyd-co.com/disco/saucer/saucer_album.html Album info and trivia]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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