Atom Heart Mother

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Atom Heart Mother
Pink Floyd studio album


October 10, 1970

Label (s) originally:

New editions:

Format (s)


Genre (s)

Progressive rock

Title (number)


running time

52m 44s



Studio (s)

March-August 1970, Abbey Road Studios

Atom Heart Mother Relics

Atom Heart Mother is the fifth album by the band Pink Floyd , released on October 10, 1970 . It was the band's first album to be recorded specifically for four-channel quadrophony , and it paved the way for further work by Pink Floyd in this regard.


The album was recorded from February to August 1970 at London's Abbey Road Studios .

The almost 24-minute title track Atom Heart Mother was the longest and probably most ambitious composition of the band to date. It was largely based on instrumental passages that the band had composed in advance (such as Gilmour's "Theme from an Imaginary Western" chord progression, which later became the main theme of the suite), and now combined into a single piece. After recording "Atom Heart Mother" in the classic Pink Floyd line-up (guitar, keyboards, bass and drums), the band hired the composer and arranger Ron Geesin to create an orchestral accompaniment. Geesin described this as "a hell of a lot of work," as no Pink Floyd member was able to read sheet music or formulate exactly what was expected of their arrangement.

Geesin wrote arrangements for both a brass section, a cello and a 16-piece choir. During the recording, there were arguments between him and the studio musicians (who, according to Geesin, played "uninspired"), which is why choir director John Alldis took over the leadership of the orchestra.

There were also problems joining the various recordings: Since Waters and Mason were forced to record the entire piece in a single take (to save on tapes), there were significant tempo fluctuations. Furthermore, different interpretations of Mason's specially created drum notation resulted in the choir starting a beat later on the recording than Geesin had originally planned. This error was not corrected until more than 35 years later, when Geesin had both the published and, alternatively, the original version played during live performances.

The working title of the song was either The Amazing Pudding or Untitled Epic during the recording and first live performances . However, when the band was unsure of how moderator John Peel was supposed to announce the piece during a radio recording , Ron Geesin suggested looking for a title in a copy of the Evening Standard lying around . There was an article about a mother with a nuclear pacemaker, entitled “ATOM HEART MOTHER NAMED”. Then it was decided to name the entire album that was in production that way.


The title track, the Atom Heart Mother suite , is Pink Floyd's longest uncut piece of music. (The originally longer work Shine on You Crazy Diamond was split into two halves when it was released, at the beginning and at the end of the album Wish You Were Here .)

The album also contains three pieces, each composed by a member of the band in charge: Roger Waters wrote a country-style ballad called If , which he played in later years on his solo concerts on the radio KAOS tour. Rick Wright wrote Summer '68 , in which he critically examined the rock and roll lifestyle of the band. David Gilmour contributed Fat Old Sun , which the band has often performed at concerts and can also be heard on David Gilmour's live DVDs In Concert (2002), Remember That Night (2007) and Live at Pompeii (2017). The album closes with the thirteen-minute instrumental Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast , an experimental, avant-garde piece, through which the roadie Alan Stiles should be honored and in which he can be heard sporadically through various noises.

In the first editions of the album on vinyl, you can hear a dripping tap on the groove of the record . If the turntable is not switched off, the dripping noise of the tap continues indefinitely.


The record company EMI went to great lengths to promote the album . The various promotions included, among other things, the sending of inflatable plastic udders to journalists up to a herd of cows that was driven through the partially closed off city center of London. There is also a quadraphonic version of the album, roughly comparable to 4.0 Surround .


Atom Heart Mother reached number 1 in the UK and number 55 in the US charts . A remastered CD of the album was released in 1994 .


The original album cover only shows cows in a pasture on the front and back with no text or other references to what the album contains. The cover was designed by the London designer group Hipgnosis . The band said it was a reaction to the " space rock " image that was growing around Pink Floyd at the time. The band didn't want to be tied to a particular style or look, which is why they asked for a simple cover for this album. In the end, it was agreed on the picture of a cow in a pasture.


  1. Atom Heart Mother (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright & Geesin) - 23:39 min
    1. Father's Shout - 5:25 min
    2. Breast Milky - 4:47 min
    3. Mother Fore - 5:16 min
    4. Funky Dung - 2:20 min
    5. Mind Your Throats Please - 1:57 min
    6. Remergence - 3:54 min
  2. If (Waters) - 4:30 min
  3. Summer '68 (Wright) - 5:28 min
  4. Fat Old Sun (Gilmour) - 5:23 min
  5. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Waters, Mason, Gilmour & Wright) - 13:00 min
    1. Rise and Shine - 4:29 min
    2. Sunny Side up - 3:49 min
    3. Morning Glory - 4:42 min


Pink Floyd



  • The cover can be seen in the movie A Clockwork Orange in the scene in the music store in the background. Originally, director Stanley Kubrick wanted to incorporate music from the album into his film, but his request was rejected by the band.
  • A note printed on both sides is enclosed with the new edition of the album from 1994. On one side there is a German recipe for “Original Fränkisches Kuh Hirn”, on the other an English recipe for “Traditional Bedouin Wedding Feast”.
  • On June 15, 2008, Atom Heart Mother was performed at Cadogan Hall in London under the direction of Ron Geesin. David Gilmour appeared as a guest musician.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Nicholas Schaffner: Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey . Helter Skelter, London 2005, ISBN 1-905139-09-8 (English).
  2. a b c d e Ron Geesin: The Flaming Cow. The Making Of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother. The History Press, Gloucestershire 2013, ISBN 978-0-7509-5180-7 (English).
  3. ^ A b Nick Mason: Inside Out. My personal portrait of Pink Floyd . Edel Books, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8419-0251-1 .