A title track overshadowing the other side of the album
Pink Floyd is seen as one of the greatest bands in rock history, at least by some. There have been several changes in leadership, from Barret to Waters to Gilmour, but regardless they’ve produced classics like Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.
Their discography spans from 1967 all the way to 2014 (though that is disputed among hardcore fans). One album—which was on Pink Floyd’s road of transition after Barret was ejected—was the infamous Atom Heart Mother released in 1970. The title track, “Atom Heart Mother Suite” was apparently a troublesome number to not only perform but even record.
The ~23 minute, six-part suite is still Pink Floyd’s longest song to date (the separated “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” notwithstanding) and created much strife within the band. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Roger Waters and Nick Mason had to play all 23 minutes of the suite when recording and had the other sounds overlaid afterwards, causing a strange tempo all around. In recent years, the band expressed negative attitudes about the suite.
It’s quite the strange trip; each section is devoid of lyrics except for gibberish half sung, half spoken by the featured choir in the fourth section, “Funky Dung.” In a review from 1970, music writer Alec Dubro said “Side one is a suite, almost a symphony. It has a lot in it. They use orchestral elements and a choir. The best that can be said for it is that it’s craftsman-like and that in spite of its many parts, it’s an entity.”
The other sections, “Father’s Shout,” “Breast Milky,” “Mother’s Fore,” Mind Your Throats Please,” make up the remaining parts of the suite. “Mind Your Throats Please” is the section where mostly just… noise occurs; one can see where the noise of their next extended song, “Echoes,” gets its noise section from.
And though the band—and those who participated in the making of the suite—had negative thoughts after completion, it still remains one of the bands wackiest experiments during the counterculture era. And thank goodness this bad experience didn’t stop Pink Floyd from producing more glorious music.