We’d imagine when watching The Look of The Week in 1967 as a teen, excitedly awaiting the arrival of this brand new psychedelic band Pink Floyd you’d heard so much about, the introduction from Hans Keller would confirm everything you needed to know before the band even took the stage.
Pink Floyd arrived at the studio to perform two tracks for the weekly show on May 14th, 1967. For host Hans Keller and the audience at home, Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Richard Wright and Nick Mason would shine a light on the future of music and play the psyche anthems ‘Pow R Toc H’ and ‘Astronomy Domine’.
It was a crucial time in the band’s development. The group had released their first single ‘Arnold Layne’ earlier that year and the plans for their debut album The Piper At The Gates of Dawn were quickening with every passing day. Signed to EMI the record label made sure they would get maximum exposure.
Getting rock and roll acts on television was certainly not as hard as it once was but to get Pink Floyd’s mind-altering power on national TV was another thing altogether. Luckily, the Floyd would find plenty of space to get their message across on the BBC’s The Look of The Week.
The show opened with Barret and Waters vocally sharing the opening inflammatory bars of ‘Pow R Toch H’, cast as they in menacing monochrome, using shadow and light to add extra demonic attitude to the intro. Then comes the fun part as the band are introduced by the show’s host, Hans Keller, a fierce music critic.
He begins by insisting that he won’t say too much about the band so as “not to prejudice you” against them. After such a benevolent announcement, Keller goes on to list out 4 points as to why he doesn’t like the band, “To my mind, there is continuous repetition and proportionally they are a bit boring.” But he won’t prejudice us.
On the contrary, we’d argue that this shining endorsement from a figurehead of traditional music would have grabbed the new and experimental band all the more fans. After all, that’s what artists like Pink Floyd represented to a new and uninhibited generation of music lovers. It gets even more interesting after the band return from blasting through another soon-to-be-beloved gem, ‘Astronomy Domine’ and sit down to talk with Keller face-to-face.
Hans Keller begins, “I want to ask one fundamental question” smiling to the camera, “Why must it all be so terribly loud?” It’s a stumping question for an act who were born for the finest amplifiers around but they quickly put it to bed, not only highlighting that the music isn’t all loud but also sharing that frankly, they like it, and that’s all that matters.
The clip is also fascinating as it provides a clear image of the mercurial talent of Syd Barrett before drugs pushed him over the edge and he was replaced by David Gilmour. Here he is concise and clever all the while remaining charming and engaging, it worked as the perfect counterpoint to Waters more abrasive style.
Another revelation which would act as a beacon for the band’s advancements comes when the duo are discussing “pop music”. Waters and Barrett highlight that most groups in the sixties use dance halls to promote themselves but that Pink Floyd couldn’t enact their vision in such a place. Or as Barrett puts it: “I think that concerts have given us a chance to realise that the music we play isn’t directed at dancing necessarily like normal pop groups.”
It suffices to say that even after this small ten-minute piece all those who watched would be well aware of the validity of Barrett’s proclamation. Pink Floyd were certainly not like any other pop group.
Watch below Pink Floyd’s iconic performance and interview on The Look of the Week back in 1967