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Album: RelicsReleased: 1967Charted:
Syd Barrett wrote this. One of the band's original members, he was the group's leader until he lost his mind. He did a lot of acid and became very unpredictable, sometimes refusing to play at shows. His band mates kicked him out in 1968.
Barrett claimed "Emily" was a girl he saw when he woke up one night after sleeping in the woods after a gig. It is unclear if she was a real person or a drug-induced hallucination.
This was Pink Floyd's second single. Their first was "Arnold Layne
Barrett did the slide guitar work on this song with a Zippo lighter (he used it as a slide, not to set the guitar on fire).
David Gilmour was asked by the members of Pink Floyd to join the band to supplement the guitar work of the increasingly erratic Syd Barrett. For a brief time, Syd and David were both members of Pink Floyd at the same time. When Barrett's mental breakdown made it impossible for him to continue with the group, Gilmour became a permanent, contributing member in time for their second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets
. Syd Barrett contributed one track to that album, his last with Pink Floyd. Syd departed the band soon after that.
The original title was "Games For May." They performed it live a few times before changing it.
This is an example of the Psychedelic sound Pink Floyd was known for. Over the next few years, they tried to lose the Psychedelic image because they wanted people to know there was much more to their music.
This was included on the 2001 Pink Floyd retrospective album, Echoes. The tracks flow seamlessly together.
The song was inspired in part by 15-year-old schoolgirl Emily Young, who was the daughter of Wayland Young, 2nd Baron Kennet. She recalled to Mojo:
"On Friday night at the Saints Hall, the regular band was the Pink Floyd Sound. I was more into R&B, so their dreamy hippie thing wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but it was interesting. And the light show was wonderful, and I liked to get stoned and dance. After playing, we'd sit around on grey sofas and pass around joints. I was quite pretty and word got out that I was a lord's daughter, and apparently the guys in the band called me the 'psychedelic schoolgirl.'"
"See Emily Play" began life as a Syd Barrett song written for Pink Floyd's concert-cum-happening Games For May at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on May 12, 1967. Emily missed the event but someone told her all about it. She recalled: "I thought, gosh, that's nice, a song with my name, but I didn't think it was about me. And I don't think it was now because Syd and me didn't have a love affair and he didn't really know me. It could have been some other girl who played a part in his dream. It could have been Jenny, but Emily scanned better."