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Arnold Layne

by

Pink Floyd



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Original member Syd Barrett wrote this about a cross-dresser named "Arnold Layne" who used to steal bras and panties from clotheslines in Cambridge, England. Barrett lived near Roger Waters growing up. Their mothers both lost underwear to Arnold Layne.
Pink Floyd's first single; it was not used on an album. In promotional materials to accompany the single, the band's record company, EMI, wrote: "Pink Floyd does not know what people mean by psychedelic pop and are not trying to cause hallucinatory effects on their audience."
The group was set to make their Top Of The Pops debut with a performance of this song in April, 1967, but were dropped when it fell three places on the UK chart that week. They first appeared on the show July 6, performing "See Emily Play."
Barrett was the group leader and an excellent songwriter, but he did a lot of drugs and lost his mind over the next year, becoming England's first high-profile acid casualty. He was kicked out of the band the next year, replaced by David Gilmour.
Radio London banned this song, since it was about a transvestite who steals undergarments. The far more conservative BBC played it, indicating they either didn't have a problem with this particular subject matter or didn't understand it.
Before the band came out at their shows in the late '80s, this played while video of Pink Floyd in 1967 was shown on the giant screens.
This had a Blues sound the band was known for. Pink Floyd's name originated from Syd Barrett. His two favorite blues artists, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, appeared to him in what he referred to as a "vision," giving Syd the idea for the name. (thanks, Anthony - Wantagh, NY)
The promotional black and white music video displayed the band with Syd. During the video, the band dressed up a mannequin and took it to a beach. (thanks, Andy - Cleveland, OH)
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Comments (31):

Syd never left Pink Floyd,that is his band,nobody can replace him. He IS Pink Floyd.RIP Syd.
- Mee, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
I know what you mean, Harry From IN, I loved watching that scene and how its all backwards.
I tried that by throwing oranges at a wall, then a hat and a jacket, and then running away. Pretty fun!
Oh yes, and only Pink Floyd, only Pink Floyd. xD
- Zep, Cape May, NJ
Only Pink Floyd can make an upbeat, catchy song out of a transvestite. I enjoyed the video to this; Roger's backwards scene was fun to watch
- Harry, South Bend, IN
lol. they were such freaks- brilliant, unsurpassingly genius freaks. but thats what made them so awesome, isnt it?
- chloe, st. louis, MO
its time we had more songs about cross dressers, since about half the male population does it. The other half are liars!
- doug, kansas city, MO
am i mistaken or was the 'video' for arnold layne
filmed on wells -next- the- sea, North norfolk? can anyone help me on this one??
- Bryan, york, United Kingdom
The "mannequin video" was made after Syd left the band; an earlier promo video (of the band in the woods) actually does show Syd mouthing the lyrics. Both videos can be found on YouTube.
- Andre, Portland, OR
Lot of crap written on here, won't bother correcting any of it, not worth the bother. Shine On
- Arnold, Cambridge, England
The guitarist was the band's first creative force and an influential songwriter, penning their early hits.


Born Roger Barrett in Cambridge, he composed songs including See Emily Play and Arnold Layne, both from 1967

Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
- Onnie, High Point, NC
the music video for this is real bizzare, but remember wat its about and the awkwardness is matched...its a shame they kicked barrett out. i bet the other members didnt REALLY like him they just never understood his awesome genius =)
- ozzy, fresno, CA
love the accompanying video Syd looks so handsome in it =]
- Shelby, out beyond the wall, KY
Pink Anderson and Floyd Council were not Syd Barrett's favorite blues musicians. He found their names on the liner notes of another blues album and decided to put them together.
- Rory, Charlotte, NC
Arnold Layne isn't the guys' name. THey never caught the guy. To spencer: he doesn't really go to jail for cross-dressing, he stole the things and went for stealing. :)
- Lizz, Tampa, FL
I don't get it, why does Arnold Layne go to jail for being a crossdresser? Oh, and when Roger Waters plays Set The Controls For The Heart of the Sun during his gigs, scenes from the video for this song play on the screen.
- Spencer, Los Angeles, CA
Yeah... I heard that David Bowie sung this song and "Comfortably Numb" at Gilmour's Royal Albert Hall gigs.
- Bill, Erie, PA
David Gilmour played this on his tour. It was great.
- Calum, Bathgate, Scotland
Gilmour and Barrett attended the same Arts College and knew each other. They practised guitar together at lunchtime and taught each other things. Then after college Syd went off with his band, and Gilmour had about 2 bands before he was asked to be in Pink Floyd.
- Emma, .., Canada
of course it wasn't.
- Helen, Oxford, England
anderson council that is clever anyway was arnold layne the cross dressers real name
- j, atl, GA
Chas from Webster I believe you are very confused.
Syd started to go mad from a combination of drugs and a series of life events that he could not cope with. When Syd could not perform anymore they brought in David Gilmour to help out guitar playing and singing. They played 4 shows as a 5 piece band. On the night of the 5th show they decided that they had had enough and did not oick up Syd for the show. From that moment on David Gilmour became the guitar player and lead singer of the band. Gilmour has not left since. He has been with the band for about 28 years now. Waters left officially in 1985.
- Gilmour, Lockport, NY
Nick Mason has the distinction of being the only member to be a part of every incarnation of the band, from its beginnings and all the way through to the present.
- Ash, Charleston, WV
i got this song played on the radio today! love it! And seriously, chas NY... what are you talking about?! Have a read of what scott NJ has said and educate yourself.
- Helen, Oxford, England
David Gilmour was actually Syd Barretts guitar teacher.
- Tine, Hasselt, Belgium
David Gilmore joined Pink Floyd around 67 and played with Barrett still in the band. He was a childhood friend of Barrett and Waters and was used to help cope with Barrett's lack of mental capacity. They later decided to not pick up Barrett for practice or shows and just parted ways but Barrett is still a member and being compensated. Waters and Gilmore equally took over as the lead songwriters after Barrett left. So Barrett was never replaced, he just stop playing with them. Waters was never replaced either but it is unnecessary at this point since they have enough money to hire top notch session players. Gilmore also went on to produce Barrett's two solo albums. He also played bass for Barrett when he performed his solo work live.
- Scott, Hillsborough, NJ
I'll have to correct myself: the quote from the "Ecoes" compilation is a statement from Rick Wright, not Mason.
- Erik, Lund, Sweden
"Arnold Layne" is a name Syd came up with, it just "sounded good" to him, although there was indeed a person stealing women's underwear from washing lines in cambridge around this time.

Mick Mason stated in the CD folder of the "Echoes" compilation that he has troubles understanding the success of "See Emily Play" since he thinks "Arnold Layne" i "Much better".
- Erik, Lund, Sweden
Waters, Mason, Wright, and Barret were the founding members. Gilmour hooked up with them which allowed them to let Barret go when his drug habits turned him into a drooling mess on stage. Nobody replaced Barret; they just went back to one guitar. When Waters left after the Final Cut and Wright came back, they filled in for him with a variety of other bass players, but no regular band member. So he wasn't really replaced either.
- NickC, Ft. Wayne, IN
No, Syd Barret was replaced by Dave Gilmour. Waters was an original member.
- Si, London, England
There's a Pink Floyd Tribute band called 'The Anderson Council' :)
- Helen, York, England
Syd wasn't replaced by Gilmour. he was replaced by waters, and gilmour was in the band. But when Waters took off, gilmour then took place.
- Chas, Webster, NY
the first single but later apeared on relics, their first compliation album. Its about a transvestite name arnold layne "arnold layne had a stange hobbie"
- Lee, Durham, NC
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