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The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

The title of this album comes from the title of the seventh chapter of Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows book, where Ratty and Molly set of to search a lost animal, and have something akin to a religious experience when they encounter The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Pan).

The title for the Syd Barrett tribute album *”Beyond the Wildwood”* is also taken from the name of a chapter of this book.

The inkblob-like painting on the back cover was drawn by Syd Barrett, Based on photographs of the band members standing behind each other. (The photos can be seen in Miles’ ‘Visual Documentary)’.

“Variations on the running order:”

The Japanese pressing added See Emily Play at the end of Side 2.

The US release of _Piper_ was a bit different than the UK release. Here are the track lists for both of them [from a posting by bear]:

US release of ‘piper at the gates of dawn’

* see emily play
= pow r. toch
= take up my stethoscope and walk
lucifer sam
matilda mother
the scarecrow
the gnome
chapter 24
interstellar overdrive

UK release of ‘piper at the gates of dawn’

* astronomy domine
lucifer sam
matilda mother
* flaming
= pow r. toc h.
= take up thy stethoscope and walk
interstellar overdrive
the gnome
chapter 24
scarecrow
* bike

Note also that in the US the double-album _A Nice Pair_ has almost, but not quite, the complete _Piper_. The version of “Astronomy Domine” that appears on the original US Capitol pressings of ANP is not the original (studio) version, but was instead the live version that appears on _Ummagumma_. Other than that, it is identical to the original UK _Piper_.

“Variations of the cover art:”

Pink Floyd: Some with paisley stripes, others with rainbow stripes.

Piper: Italian pressings have a picture of the group with David Gilmour on the cover.

Piper: 1983 low budget reissues include “Fame” written across one corner. [Fame being a division of Harvest]

What is said at the beginning of Astronomy Domine

That’s Peter Jenner (the Floyd’s manager) shouting something that sounds like a horoscope and other stuff through a megaphone. Exactly what’s being said is real hard to decipher, but here’s what Mark Brown and Matt Denault have managed:

“Moon in both [houses]…”
“…Scorpio, [Arabian Skies], Libra…”
“…Pluto was not discovered until 1930…”

And then a bit that seems to be a preflight countdown:

“…[two/ten] seconds to [ignition]…”
“…all systems satisfied…”

Then, in the middle section of the song, you can hear something like:

“…just completed orbital…”
If anyone has a more complete description we’d love to hear from you.
:”How do you pronounce ‘Domine?’”

The question here is whether it should be “dom-in-ee” (to rhyme with “astronomy”) or the Latin “doh-mi-nay” (meaning to rule, or have dominion over).

The basic answer is that there is evidence for both pronunciations. I have RoIOs where band members announce it as “doh-mi-nay,” and I’ve heard interviews where they pronounce it “dom-in-ee.” At one early Free School performance, it was listed on the concert announcement as “Astronomy Domini” — yet Syd’s song sheet for same the night’s performance had it as the usual “Domine.” So I guess just go on pronouncing it as you have been…

However I remember an TDB era interview where Nick Mason corrects the interviewer by stating that it is the Latin variation (i.e. Domine’)

:What does “Pow R Toc H” refer to ?

Well, most people seem to feel it means “Power Toke” or “Power Tokage” or something along those lines. Another suggestion is “Power Touch,” but the problem with that is that the space is between the C and H, not between O and C.

The power tokage makes the most sense, tokage being a reference to Toking (the act of smoking another one, a reefer). The band stated in an early interview that Pow R Toc H is pronounced just as it is written (i.e. pow are toc ache) say this a few times fast, and you get power tokage.

The song itself was inspired by an incident that happened after an early gig. While the band was unplugging and packing, a drunk/stoned person ambled on stage, walked to the nearest microphone and started making noises: “Ka-choom pa pa, ka- choom pa pa…”

Here’s something that might shed some light, courtesy of Steve South and the Longman’s Encyclopedia:

Toc H, an interdenominational Christian fellowship of men and women of every social background, with branches throughout the world, which seeks to promote an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life through unreserved involvement in the community. Founded in 1915, it started its work in a soldiers’ club at Talbot House (Toc H was the army signalers’ designation of the initials TH) at Poperingtie, Flanders. Incorporated by royal charter in 1922, it is organized in groups and maintains residential houses called ‘marks’.
Which may have influenced the spelling of the title, but then again, may have not. In the early years interviewers were more concerned with asking where the band got their name from, and didn’t ask the questions we’d like to see answered, and nowadays the Floyds themselves hardly care about this period either.

What is chapter 24 about ?

[From a very old posting by me(Gerhard):]

Well, since we’ve been discussing this a lot, I have found the answer. As I was going to my local bookstore I found a book called I Ching (the book of changes) in an English translation, and I did look up Chapter 24 and guess what?

It’s called “Fu” meaning Change/success (like in “change become success” and is a very nearly transcript of this song. It contains lines like “a movement is accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return,” only paraphrased.

Also from the same chapter: “The 7 is the number of the Young wise, it forms when darkness [.. ==6 ..] is increased by 1.”

1 response on the “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” page

  1. September 13th, 2014 at 7:58 pm


    Sandeep

    Wind:How do you do this my friend? each photo shot is a susaenl delight, even the half eaten corn, – the angles — of some of the photos give it a whole different artistic expression a better way of looking, a stunning color and collection of earthly delights. Makes me long to linger and sit at that benchjoanny

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