Matilda Mother

Album: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)


  • A song from Pink Floyd's first album, this was written by founding member Syd Barrett. Many of Barrett's songs were inspired by children's stories, and this was based on a book called Cautionary Tales For Children by Edward Gorey and Hilaire Belloc. The book contains some warped fairy tales where all manner of horrible things happen to the poor, but naughty, kids. One of these children was named Matilda.
  • Pink Floyd keyboard player Rick Wright sang most of this song with Barrett singing the last verse. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    John - Chicago, IL

Comments: 6

  • Jrbosch from New YorkMatila Mother ...
    I love Syd Barrett's songs
    And this is probably the best of all his songs!
    It has a wonderful descending chord progression.
    Something that seems to be in the pink floyd bible
    of building eerie songs. And descending chord progressions , whether done this way or cromatically
    as in Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine' , are all.over this first album.
    Influencing future works the floyd would record even years after Syds departure from the band
    The original lyrics were copied directly from the English
    Book 'Cautionary tales for children '
    But the authors estate would not let the floyd use the original lyrics so syd was forced to write new ones and he and rick had to re-record the vocal tracks
    It's a good thing that happened because the new lyrics
    Syd came up with are so beautiful and charming.
    Although the original lyrics, which can be now heard on the version of this song on the 'crazy diamond best of syd barrett ' album / although they capture the creepy , yet campy nature of the original classic book.
    The new lyrics take away that books influence on the song and now , though you still have a song about a boy sitting at his mothers knee in wide eyed wonder of the woderous fairy tales stories being read to him by his mum.
    Now instead of the verses quoting directly from a classic children's novel, you now have syds wonderful imagery of the story being read to the child.
    Complete with "crossing streams in wooden shoes"
    And "a thousand misty riders climbing higher once upon a time" Its absolutely wonderful lyrically and musically .
    The middle section ,which features rick wright on organ
    Is a wild Arabian sounding psycadellic section that
    Plays itself out in such intensity until you can almost hear
    the producers sizzer slice edit you right into to the last verse
    All and all a brilliant song that is NEVER played
    on classic rock stations .
    The beatles influenced EVERYONE
    This is the stuff that influenced the BEATLES in 1967
    They were in the next room recording Sgt. Pepper
    At the very same time
    And as important as this.Album is said to be
    even by Rolling Stone
    You will rarely if NEVER hear it on the radio

    When Syd Barrett passed in 2006
    It really ticked me off ...all these d Jay's
    Talking about syd dying and and how sad it was and
    "HA HA Yea he was a freaking nut"
    Telling you how they are tributing
    And then they go ahead and play shine on you crazy diamond
    Didnt even play ONE SONG from.his catalogue
    Matila Mother is a song that should have been played
    In his honor that week because it's a song that influenced many to take psycadellic music and change it into
    prog rock
    But they didnt play it
    They didnt play any of his great solo work
    Sure a lot of it , most people can't get into
    But Giggalo Aunt or Baby Lemonade
    would certainly have sounded great on the radio that day
    At the very least at least play Arnold Layne or See emily
    The guy just died and you dont even have the respect to play one of HIS songs?
    This is why you do not hear piper at the gates of dawn
    On classic rock stations
    Cause they really dont care how influential that first album was to the prog rock movement that happened directly after it
    But like the entire album itself
    Matilda Mother is the crowning achievement
    Of syds crowning achievement that is piper at the gates of dawn

  • Shane from Bloomington-normal, IlI really love the 2010 remix of this on _An Introduction to Syd Barrett_... it now is one of my favorite Barrett compositions and easily one of the all-around coolest tunes to bubble up from the late 60's.
  • Terry from Wickford, RiA staple of their early live set as well...there's some decent recordings floating about of them playing this in the clubs...
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Mowoah. id never heard this song until now...a fantastic combination of trippiness and nostalgia. yet another example of the tragically fleeting stroke of mad genius that was syd barrett.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InThis song is so childlike, and yet I love it.
    Think of it as a little kid sitting up in bed after his mother has just read him something he really likes, then he says "tell me more!"
    It takes you back to the point before you even got into music, and you wanted to hear things that sparked your imagination...the seed that was planted in your mind, so to speak.
  • Tristan from Philadelphia, PaWhat an incredible song! The nastalgia is an acquired taste, but Wrights vocals are great. What else could be said about this song besides how great it is?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"

Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"They're Playing My Song

The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien Songs

The Truth Is Out There: A History of Alien SongsSong Writing

The trail runs from flying saucer songs in the '50s, through Bowie, blink-182 and Katy Perry.

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")

Terry Jacks ("Seasons in the Sun")Songwriter Interviews

Inspired by his dear friend, "Seasons in the Sun" paid for Terry's boat, which led him away from music and into a battle with Canadian paper mills.

David Gray

David GraySongwriter Interviews

David Gray explains the significance of the word "Babylon," and talks about how songs are a form of active imagination, with lyrics that reveal what's inside us.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."