Saturday, January 12, 2013

Farfisa Organ: See Emily Play

Our final tribute to the Farfisa organ was written by one of the most tripped out individuals of the psychedelic age – Syd Barrett. Although only released as Pink Floyd’s second single in the UK, “See Emily Play” was released both as a single and a part of the US version of the band’s debut album “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.”

The US and UK versions of the album were somewhat different and only shared eight cuts among them. The UK version had 11 cuts with three unique tracks. The US album only had nine tracks with one different selection – “See Emily Play.” Neither version contained their first single, “Arnold Layne.”

Barrett originally stated that the protagonist of the song was a girl he dreamed about while sleeping in the woods following an acid trip. It was later revealed that the inspiration was the adolescent Emily Young who later went on to become Britain’s premier sculptor. Ms. Young was known to frequent London's UFO Club where Pink Floyd played in 1967.

Emily Young

In addition to Richard Wright’s double manual gray and black Farfisa Compact combo organ, the song also features Wright on piano with some of the parts recorded at half speed which gave the effect of being an octave higher and twice as fast at normal speed. Barrett played slide guitar on the cut which he accomplished by using a plastic ruler as his slide.

The late Richard Wright at his Farfisa

Although charting at #6 in the UK, it failed to break into the Hot 100 in the US despite being issued three different times in 1967 and 1968. The highest peak any of the three US releases was at #134.

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