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Entry 847 posted in: 5. The Pink Thing

Money for the poor Years ago I used to make some fun with those Iron Maiden fans who wanted to buy every piece of vinyl defecated by their favourite band. Each album contained at least four singles. Every single existed in different formats and they all had one or two unreleased numbers. Probably Iron Maiden has got more unreleased bonus material floating around than regular album tracks.

"Look.", said one of these metal (although in those days we still called it hardrock) guys when he ran to me out of breath on the schoolyard: "This single is wrapped inside an exclusive Eddie calendar. Wow, an exclusive Eddie calendar! Can you believe it!" What the fuck are you gonna do with an exclusive Eddie calendar, I thought, and my inner reflections wandered back towards that unknown island, somewhere near the Greek coast, were Pink Floyd was believed to have a villa were you could nookie all day long for free.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good chunk of Iron Maiden, especially their recent work that tends to be a bit more - uhm - philosophical. Somewhere on my cd pile I’ve got a DVD-single, and don’t laugh at me now, please, that ‘includes (an) extensive exclusive selection of tour photos’. Never bothered to put it in my player though, I was tempted just a few seconds ago but then I thought: naaah, my life will not be less miserable with or without a bunch of exclusive tour photos. Most metal fans are ugly anyway, not to speak about the Maiden themselves…

Lucky for me I was a fan of Pink Floyd in the Seventies and the band was known for not issuing singles, maxi singles, remixes and additional – previously unreleased – material in any audio format you could dream of. True? Well, as any anoraky knows, not quite…

Follows a small interlude for anoraks. Skip if you don’t want to read it.

Let’s trash a few Pink Floyd myths to begin with…

1. Seventies Pink Floyd never made any singles. Right? Wrong!

It is true that classic Pink Floyd wanted to be known as an album, not as a singles, band and refused to release singles in the United Kingdom (and the USA), but in other European countries their demand was simply ignored by the local subsidiary of EMI (Harvest). Pink Floyd singles have been released in Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands and a bunch of other countries.

2. Learning To Fly was the first global cd-only single. Right? Wrong!

Of course Pink Floyd started to bring out singles again in the Eighties and beyond, starting with the smash hit Another Brick In The Wall (for anoraks: Part 2). In 1987 the reformed Pink Floyd made the newspapers by stating that Learning To Fly was the first global cd-only single (with the exception of a few vinyl promo NOT FOR SALE copies for the radio stations)

If this is the case, how does it come that I could purchase a 7-inch 45RPM on pink vinyl at the local record shop? Germany, France and the Netherlands released those.

3. Pink Floyd were ‘first in space’. Right? Wrong!

When Pink Floyd released Delicate Sound Of Thunder in 1988 a copy (on tape) was given to the Soviet (and one French) cosmonauts who played it on board of the MIR space station. Pink Floyd and French president François Mitterand attended the launch of Soyuz TM-7 on the 26th of November 1988. A global press release was made to commemorate the fact that Pink Floyd was the first rock band to have its record played in space.

As a matter of fact French synthesizer composer Didier Marouani whose Space Opera cd was flown to the MIR space station by Soyuz TM-3 on the 22nd of July 1987 beat Floyd with more than a year. (This is not the entire story and I am planning to make a post about it in the future – if you can’t wait you can already check this post on alt.music.pink-floyd).

Interlude End  

But if we’re not too nitpicky one could say that Pink Floyd wasn’t a singles band. Period. The good thing about this all was that as a fan with about 100 Belgian francs pocket money per week I could easily get drunk at the pub instead of planning how to beg, borrow or steal this week’s exclusive release. That’s why these metal fans are all criminals to begin with, too many fucking releases, not enough money! (the previous is obviously a joke, I have never met nicer people than on hardrock gigs).

But recently there has been a change in Mr. David Jon Gilmour’s behaviour. Perhaps the metal polish for his CBE medal has taken an unpredicted lump out of his household budget because the man is in an urgent need of money. Our hero, whose epitheton ornans is ‘the voice and guitar of Pink Floyd’, will release his fortcoming album Live In Gdańsk in 5 different formats and or versions. A rather nice overview of these can be found on his blog.

Live In Gdańsk will be the second complete live release from Gilmour’s latest solo album. On An Island isn’t entirely a bad album, but it isn’t groundbraking either. I quite like it, other’s don’t. But does one really need two live versions of it? When I attended a Gilmour show (with Richard Wright on keyboards) a couple of years ago the audience politely applauded after each of his Island songs, that made the first part of the show. When the axe, for the second part, played a hitbox selection of his Pink Floyd tunes the crowd went berserk. Some fans were even spotted dancing without holding tight to their rollator.

Alexis Machine, a member of the Echoes mailing list, describes the On An Island continuing story as follows. It is an excellent overview so I won’t pretend I made this one myself (I have added some comments here and there):

It's amazing how much David Gilmour has been able to generate from one album! While we can say he is generous, would someone else interpret it as greedy? Here's all that I found that is available related to this release:
1. On an Island CD (FA: the green spine cd)
2. On an Island with bonus CD of "Island Jam", available through Best Buy (FA: Island Jam could also be downloaded at Gilmour’s website)
3. On an Island LP
4. On an Island CD + DVD package (FA: the red spine cd)
5. On an Island Single
6. Smile 7" Single
7. Arnold Layne 7" Single (FA: sung by David Bowie)
8. Arnold Layne 10" Single (FA: sung by David Bowie)
9. Arnold Layne CD Single (FA: sung by David Bowie)
10. Remember That Night DVD
11. Remember That Night DVD with bonus CD, available through Best Buy
12. Remember That Night Blu-ray
13. Live at Gdansk 2 disc set
14. Live at Gdansk 3 disc set
15. Live at Gdansk 4 disc set
16. Live at Gdansk 5 disc set
17. Live at Gdansk 5 LP set (FA: to add insult to injury, this one will contain one track not included on the other formats. The official reason is, and I quote the Gilmour blog: "There wasn't enough room for it on the CD". Yeah, sure.)
(.../...) ...removing all the different formats, I still have 2 live shows coming out of one album. Even Pink Floyd were never given that luxury!! I loved Remember That Night and I'm sure I'll enjoy Gdansk as well, but it's just that I HAVE to get everything, so having to buy the 5 different variations of Gdansk, along with the vinyl version is really irritating.

With some of the Gdansk versions comes a Web Pass to download 12 additional live songs (one per month) although 83% of the fans voted against it on the official blog. But here is a fine opportunity to offer other downloads at supplementary rates later on…

So hold on tight, cause gravy train is coming and it is going to hit your wallet very hard. Big man, pig man, charade you are.

If you liked this post - you might be interested in this one as well: Pink Floyd Mini-Vinyl Studio Box Set