Pink Floyd – Scarecrow

The song was the on their 1967 debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn…the song was released 2 months earlier as the B side to the single See Emily Play. I really like this early Pink Floyd. You can see the beginning and know where it went from here.

It’s more like a psychedelic folk song. Syd Barrett wrote the song. Barrett compares his own existence to that of the scarecrow, who, while sadder is also resigned to his fate.

The single, See Emily Play/Scarecrow peaked at #6 in the UK and #134 in the Billboard 100 in 1967.

From Wiki:

A promotional film for the song, made for a Pathé newsreel and filmed in early July 1967, features the band in an open field with a scarecrow, generally fooling around. It shows Roger Waters falling down as if he were shot, and Nick Mason exchanging his hat with the scarecrow’s.[5] Part of this film has been featured in Waters’ live performances of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”.

A second promo was filmed in 1968 in Brussels, Belgium, with David Gilmour replacing Barrett, and Waters lip-syncing while playing his Rickenbacker bass with a violin bow.

Scarecrow

The black and green scarecrow as everyone knows
Stood with a bird on his hat and straw everywhere
He didn’t care

He stood in a field where barley grows

His head did no thinking
His arms didn’t move except when the wind cut up
Rough and mice ran around on the ground

He stood in a field where barley grows

The black and green scarecrow is sadder than me
But now he’s resigned to his fate
‘Cause life’s not unkind – he doesn’t mind

He stood in a field where barley grows

Pink Floyd – See Emily Play

Recently I’ve been listening to some early Pink Floyd. This was quite a bit different from their more famous 70s-80s output. I like what I’ve heard so far from the Syd Barret days.

Syd Barrett wrote this…he was one of the band’s original members and the group’s leader. He became very unpredictable, sometimes refusing to play at shows.

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.

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 song peaked at #6 in the UK, #134 in Billboard, and #25 in Germany in 1967.

From Songfacts

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). 

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.”

See Emily Play

Emily tries but misunderstands, ah ooh
She’s often inclined to borrow somebody’s dreams till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way

You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for May
See Emily play

Soon after dark Emily cries, ah ooh
Gazing through trees in sorrow hardly a sound till tomorrow
There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play

Free games for May
See Emily play

Put on a gown that touches the ground, ah ooh
Float on a river forever and ever, Emily (Emily)

There is no other day
Let’s try it another way
You’ll lose your mind and play
Free games for May
See Emily play