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A neat little book that avoids the "whatever happened to Syd" syndrome and concentrates on the music. It is written by someone who was not old enough to catch up on early Floyd recordings till the 1970s when the Floyd were well on their way to world stardom, but "Piper" has clearly had a lasting effect on the author.
The book is excellent in that based on many interviews with contemporaries it conveys what "swinging London" was actually like around the time the group started and the group's immediate ascendancy in local popularity based on some specific gigs esp. the UFO residency, to getting a prize recording contract with EMI (helped by a publicity quote from Paul McCartney). When they got into the studio it was largely Syd's show with valuable input from the recording production team in helping them realise their ambitions. The book is also not afraid to covers some hard facts of life on the general quality of musicianship in the group in the early days and that outside the London cognoscenti they did suffer when playing outside London in those early days.
Excellent read on what was Syd's sole (albeit very memorable) recording production for the Floyd before exiting so dramatically. This book also serves to underline that the best items in this eclectic series are those where the writer while fixated on a specific recording is especially able to both communicate their excitement and enthusiasm as to why the recording means so much to them.
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on 25 August 2009
A great little book this, and very readable if you are interested in Syd Barrett and the early Pink Floyd. Author John Cavanagh was well known for his loving promotion of all sorts of good music on Radio Scotland. He brings the same passion and care to this little tome about 'Piper', and the people and influences surrounding the Floyd's debut album in 1967. Although Syd Barrett looms large, you also discover the significant roles of Waters, Wright and Mason. This is not the tragic 'Syd' story, but the optimistic prequel at a time when everything still seemed possible.

Cavanagh casts multicoloured light on the 'underground' experimentation of a band that was often charmingly naive. Speaking to many who were around at the time, he builds a picture of the first great Pink Floyd lineup. The story is told in a straightforward way, with many many quotes. (Thankfully, without recourse to the pretentious literary allusions which have spoiled other books in this series. viz 'Forever Changes'.)

A good place to start finding out about the Floyd, and a great companion to the re-issuued, re-mastered 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' CD.
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on 5 May 2013
good book even us who didn't know or enjoy Pink Floyd then will enjoy and learn a lot so buy it now
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on 27 September 2014
Thank you author - I am a big fan of "Sgt Pepper" made in the same year as "Piper" - astonishing how creative Floyd were on their first album - it is as creative as "Pepper" and this book tells it all, in an easy to read style.
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on 3 August 2015
Great read - have played this album a lot over the years - but this book made me go back to it anew . All you can ask really - and the mono mix on headphones is the way to go
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on 10 October 2011
This was a fantastic ground-breaking record which deserves a book dedicated to it. So I bought this book on the strength of the ***** five-star Amazon reviews, but have been disappointed. Though the author has accessed some key people in the life of Pink Floyd at that time, the resultant tiny volume of text does little to augment the enjoyment of the record.
This book contrasts to a book on another LP of that era, the making of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced - 'Not Necessarily Stoned, But Beautiful' by Sean Egan - a book which really worked.
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on 30 August 2003
This book is a great read! It is a well written adventure back to the time when the Floyd were playing UFO and breaking into the music business. There are lots of interesting characters, events and happenings! A must for any fan of the early Pink Floyd or music from the 60s in general.
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on 23 May 2012
Piper at the Gates of Dawn deserves better than this second hand researched and pedestrian stroll. Whilst worth a read, ultimately feels like the remnants of an overworked opportunist.
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