Hello all. Your kind response to my investigation of the song Octopus has inspired me to do something completely unthinkable just a few months ago... This will teach you to encourage my behaviour! Don't let it happen again!
Standard Warning: Those people who do not worship Syd Barrett's music should probably skip ahead to the next posting. (Name at least 4 albums that contain the song "Money"!!)
There are an absolutely amazing number of different versions of the song Interstellar Overdrive. Each seems to have its own alleged unique source. Several questions have haunted me since I first started collecting RoIO releases many years ago. They are: 1) How many versions of this song *really* exist ? 2) When was each recorded ? and 3) Where can the very best sound quality copy of each be found ?
Before I go on to attempt to answer these questions, let me preface this by saying a couple of things:
Perhaps it would be best to first consider all of the official releases of this song:
According to Peter Whitehead, these tracks were recorded on 14 and 15 January 1967 at Sound Techniques studio in London.
Consulting Malcolm Jones' brilliant book, we learn that Interstellar Overdrive was either recorded or mixed on each of the following dates: 27/2/67, 1/3/67, 15/3/67 (short version), 16/3/67 (short version), 22/3/67.
Now, things are about to get interesting. Hold on tight. Here are the RoIO releases!
The liner notes say that all 4 tracks were recorded on 31 Oct 1966 at Thompson's Private Recording Company, Hemel Hampstead.
WOW!! That's roughly 23 possibly different versions of the same song! I directly compared those tracks that were of similar length. Here's what I found:
Now, remove all the songs from the list that are just copies of an official release, and it would appear that there are 5 different RoIO-only versions of the song. On to the challenging part!
For IO #4 we have the following sources cited:
27/2/67 is a valid date, according to Malcolm Jones. He also says that "It also seems that all recordings up to the middle of March may have been made outside Abbey Road." So, it's *possible* that 3) is correct. Rhamadam's liner notes are generally pretty darn good, so I'm hopeful that both 2) and 3) are correct, since they aren't mutually exclusive. I'm inclined to think that 1) from LL&OR is incorrect, since the rest of the liner notes for LL&OR are so shabby.
According to Jon Rosenberg's book a THREE track single was released in France. The IO on this single was recorded on 27/2/67.
For IO #5 we have the following sources cited:
The liner notes I'd trust the most (Rhamadam's) provides the least information. Clearly, the owner of the tape (which is vastly better on Rhamadam) doesn't know where it's from... It's possible that the Last Screams compiler pulled the infamous 31-Oct-66 date and venue out of thin air, hoping nobody would notice (or care).
Interestingly enough, this version is often referred to as the "San Francisco soundtrack". However, I've never actually seen any compelling evidence to suggest that this is the case. This one is a genuine mystery. Please contact me if you have additional details!
For IO #6 we have the following sources cited:
The interview is announced (on Stoned Alone, track #8) as being conducted by the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company). When, exactly, did this interview take place ? I've no idea.
For IO #7 we have the following sources cited:
1) is total bullocks. IO was not performed for the Look of the Week show. IO was filmed on 20 January 1967 at the UFO club. The music contained on the film is the same as IO #7
For IO #8 we have the following sources cited:
This is a great track. The dialog suggests that it's from a documentary of some sort. I'm guessing that someone with access to a film archive rescued this track for us. Assuming that's true, I'm sure the source information is correct.
It would appear that there are 5 versions of Interstellar Overdrive exclusively available on RoIO releases. The best quality copies of these songs are widely scattered, making it difficult (and expensive) to collect them all. On the other hand, would you really *want* 5 different versions of IO on a single CD ? Welllll... Maybe.
Stay tuned for my next installment - tracking down all of the different versions of Dolly Rocker!
(The Psychedelic Chemist)
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Last update: 01 May 1998