The Story of Pink Floyd's Lost Album

(Classic Rock) Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here is filled with sounds easily missed by even the most dedicated listener. There's jazz virtuoso Stιphane Grappelli playing faint violin on the title track, and the refrain from Floyd's 1967 hit See Emily Play on Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part IX. The first sound heard on the album is an eerie drone created by fingers running around the rims of wine glasses, each filled with varying amounts of liquid to create different notes.

For more than 30 years the 'tuned' wine glasses were all that remained from Household Objects, the working title for a Floyd album started in 1970 and abandoned for good in '74. In 1973 The Dark Side Of The Moon's deft mix of hi-fi-friendly sound effects and FM rock turned Pink Floyd into a top-five band in Britain, Europe and, crucially, America. Before that, though, they were a very different proposition.

The Household Objects idea began in 1969, when Floyd began performing a new composition, Work, that involved sawing wood and boiling kettles on stage. A year later they released Atom Heart Mother, an album that included the track Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, featuring the sound of roadie Alan Styles frying eggs and bacon before ending with the hypnotic sound of a dripping tap. Atom Heart Mother was a UK No.1 hit. But, as drummer Nick Mason admitted, "We were still looking for a coherent direction."

When Pink Floyd reconvened at Abbey Road Studios in January 1971 they were still looking for that direction. Their immediate solution was to dispense with conventional instruments and bring 'found' sounds of the kind they used on Work and Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast to the fore.

John Leckie would go on to produce Muse's Showbiz and Origin Of Symmetry. In 1971 he was a 22-year-old Abbey Road tape operator assigned to record Floyd's new music.

"They spent days working on what people now call Household Objects," Leckie told this writer in 2006. "They were making chords up from the tapping of beer bottles, tearing newspapers to get a rhythm, and letting off aerosol cans to get a hi-hat sound." A lot more including video and photos.

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