Pink Floyd has traversed a number of different phases in its long career, the most familiar of which is almost certainly the languid but angsty, sonically soaring classic rock of Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall. However, once lead songwriter Roger Waters left the band to embark upon a series of underwhelming solo projects, and guitarist David Gilmour stepped up as the head creative force, it shifted to the sort of amphitheater-friendly zone-out grooves that are popular with your dad and your black-light-collecting former dormitory roommate. However, that’s all relatively late-stage Pink Floyd. Before Waters and Gilmour, the band’s spirit guide was founding vocalist Syd Barrett. Now, for the first time in decades, we’re getting a brand new Syd Barrett song, which is a good thing indeed.
While Barrett was still at the forefront—before he succumbed to some sort of mental illness (that is probably not related to the apocryphal shot glass of LSD he supposedly downed)—the band was very strange indeed. The music featured on the album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn seems to have been created specifically to induce and then guide listeners through bad acid trips. Barrett left the band midway through the recording process of the next album A Saucerful Of Secrets and then put out two solo albums before receding into the rock mythology and ultimately dying in 2006.
The newly-released track, “Vegetable Man,” isn’t exactly a brand-new; it was written by Barrett in 1965 and recorded in Pink Floyd in 1967. And it’s been available in bootleg form for many, many years. Plus, it was covered by The Jesus And Mary Chain in 1984. But now it’s getting an official release. It’s apparently going to be included in the 27-CD box set The Early Years 1965–1972 that’s coming out November 11.
If you don’t feel like buying a steamer trunk full of music to hear the song, you can simply listen to this morning’s BBC 6 Music and skip ahead to the 51:15 mark.