Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett had a scathing review of David Bowie’s song in 1967
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to bring you a candid view into the bubbling crucible that is the mind of Pink Floyd’s mercurial founder, Syd Barret, as he reviews David Bowie’s 1967 single ‘Laughing Gnome’, which was released on this day.
As part of an ongoing feature for Melody Maker, and reported by Cosmic, the publication asked some of the most exciting contemporary acts of the time to review one another’s work. It means that artists such as Macca, one of the most important musicians of the day (and still to this day in fact), started reviewing other groundbreaking musicians.
One such piece visited Pink Floyd in the studio during the recording of their single ‘Bike’ and asked the enigmatic leader of the moment, Syd Barrett, to review some singles. One such track up for critique was David Bowie song ‘Love You Till Tuesday’.
The track featured on Bowie’s self-titled debut LP and lacked the creative power which would go on to elevate him beyond popstar and into the Starman. While that may beckon at some promise for the single, we’re afraid Barrett probably had it right in his review: “Yeah, it’s a joke number. Jokes are good. Everybody likes jokes. The Pink Floyd like jokes.
“It’s very casual,” Barrett continued, “If you play it a second time, it might be even more of a joke. Jokes are good. The Pink Floyd like jokes. I think that was a very funny joke.” These cutting words are a reflection of the different plains the two artists were operating on at the time. Pink Floyd were about to release their earth-shattering debut The Piper At The Gates of Dawn while Bowie was still struggling with aligning his pop aspirations with his artistic endeavour. To put it simply, the Floyd were already fully formed, Bowie was still finding the puzzle pieces.
The singer did, however, think it may have some commercial success in it, “I think people will like the bit about it being Monday, when in fact it was Tuesday,” he said. “Very chirpy, but I don’t think my toes were tapping at all.”
However, Barrett’s review would also be that of the buying public with the single performing poorly in the charts and Bowie’s debut record similarly falling short. It wouldn’t hold up for long though and Bowie would soon enough be treating the world to some of the greatest pop records ever created. Many of which wouldn’t have been possible without Barrett’s influence.
“Syd was a major inspiration for me,” Bowie said of the singer shortly after his death in 2006. “He was so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter. Also, along with Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I’d heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent. His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that I never got to know him. A diamond indeed.”
Listen to ‘Love You Till Tuesday’ below and let us know if you agree with the review.