Pink Floyd, “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” from Atom Heart Mother (1970): One Track Mind

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To describe a Pink Floyd cut as weird is not much of a revelation, because practically every ounce of music in the British band’s canon strays from convention. But “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast,” which appeared on Pink Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother, is so bloody freaky that it raises the definition of strange to alien levels.

Punching in at 13 minutes in length, the positively progressive “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” is an ode to Pink Floyd’s roadie, Alan Stiles. Teeming with odd sound effects and voices, the exhaustive track also features a healthy dose of input from Alan himself, who can be heard preparing his meal. A stove is lit, bacon is frying, milk is poured, and water drips forth from a faucet. Then it’s time for Alan Stiles to consume his edibles, so we’re treated to the crunchy munching of cereal and tea being sipped. The washing of kitchen utensils later pops up, among other assorted warts and warps.

Split into three segments titled “Rise and Shine,” “Sunny Side Up,” and “Morning Glory,” the ambitious anthem actually contains dribs and drabs of amazing shapes and curves, and keenly illustrates Pink Floyd’s forte for exploring various musical realms.

A flurry of interesting improvisational measures on “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” intersect nicely with melodic rock rhythms. The guitar parts are uniquely structured, and the keyboard performances are quite captivating. Snippets of mild normality may materialize here and there, but there’s no denying “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” was strictly created for experimental purposes. The saga ends with Alan saying, “My head’s a blank,” followed by the slam of a door as he exits the room.

Even in an era when envelopes were pushed to the farthest edge of the sonic spectrum, Pink Floyd’s “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” remains an acquired taste, but it proved to be utterly outrageous.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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