The Song That Pink Floyd Refused To Play Live
Before becoming a prominent band that influenced the psychedelic rock genre, Pink Floyd was only an underground band that played regularly at the UFO Club in London. Their music was loud and different since the beginning of their formation, and it was inevitable that they would be a breakthrough in rock and roll music.
One of their original members Syd Barrett was usually under the influence of the psychedelic drug LSD and wrote his lyrics under its high. Having a hard time dealing with the attention of being a star, the band decided to keep Barrett behind the scenes, focusing on writing, and hired David Gilmour as their rhythm guitarist in 1968. The songwriter quit the band in 1969 and focused on his solo career. Before his departure, he wrote a song that was never played live and the fans almost rioted at the reluctance of the band never wanting to perform it live.
The Song That Fans Protested Because Pink Floyd Never Played It Live
Before Barrett quit, he wrote the song, ‘See Emily Play’ in 1968. It was released as the band’s second single and instantly reached the top five list in the UK. While Barrett was under the influence of psychedelics, he saw a woman in the woods and wrote a song about her. Regardless of the song’s success, the band refused to play it live throughout their career.
Their audiences wanted to hear ‘See Emily Play’ in the shows, and there were a lot of times where fans shouted the name of the song for the band to play, but their efforts were useless. Rumor has it that the band’s promoters advised them to play the song live to avoid an audience riot, but instead of following their orders, they decided to release a reaction song called ‘Reaction in G’ to sing instead of ‘See Emily Play’ on tours.
What Did Richard Wright Have To Say About ‘See Emily Play’?
In 2001, Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright talked about how the band wouldn’t listen to their record company’s wishes. They were rebellious in terms of following the industrial road, and their managers were always on their side. He gave an example of this rebellion with ‘See Emily Play.’
Even though Pink Floyd was touring every day during the time of its release, they never played it, and that caused a lot of problems with the audience. The fans were stubborn, so they requested it each time, but the band was even more stubborn, and they refused to perform it.
Here is what Wright said about ‘See Emily Play’ in 2001:
“I just remember doing the first album was incredibly exciting because we were doing things very different to anyone else. We were refusing to cooperate, for example, with what the record company wanted, and in that sense, we had great managers with Peter and Andrew because they were on our side. They weren’t the managers saying, ‘Come on boys, you gotta do a hit single.’
For example, when we did ‘See Emily Play,’ we were touring every day, but of course, we never played it live, refused to play it live, not out of spite. That, of course, caused huge problems with the audiences as well. It was fine in London because we were the underground band in London. But as soon as we went out of London, they wanted to hear ‘See Emily Play,’ and we refused to do it.”
You can watch the interview, listen to ‘See Emily Play’ and ‘Reaction in G’ below.