Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Apples and Oranges

Apples and Oranges  3:03
Studio recording August 1967 
* Released on single 18 November 1967 * 
Re-released on The Best of the Pink Floyd, 1970 (Europe only); Masters of Rock vol. 1, 1974 (Europe only); the Early Singles CD in the Shine On box set, 1992

Written by Syd Barrett
Produced by Norman Smith
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios

UK: Columbia DB 8310

Got a flip-top pack of cigarettes in her pocket
Feeling good at the top
Shopping in sharp shoes
Walking in the sunshine town
Feeling very cool

With the butchers and bakers
In the supermarket stores
Getting everything she wants
From the supermarket stores

Apples and oranges (2x)

Cornering neatly
She trips up sweetly to meet the people
She's on time again
And then
I catch her by the eye
Then I stop and have to think
What a funny thing to do
Cause I'm feeling very pink         
Pink pink pink
Apples and oranges (2x)

I love she
She loves me
See you (3x)
Apples and oranges (2x)
Apples, oranges (3x)

Thought you might like to know!
I'm her lorry driver man
She's on the run
Down by the riverside
Feeding ducks in the afternoon tide         
Quack quack quack
Apples and oranges (3x)

Lead vocals: Syd Barrett

After rejecting Scream Thy Last Scream for the third single, the band went back into the studio to record Apples and Oranges. This song reveals a definite Beatles influence, with the fuzz guitar and the shout of 'Thought you might like to know!' a nod at Sgt Pepper, released two months earlier. However, though Apples certainly has a more commercial sound than Scream Thy Last Scream, the lyrics hardly make more sense. A brief vignette can be discerned in the first couple of verses: meeting a girl at the market, catching her eye, then feeling embarrassed and bashful. Subsequent lyrics seem to be nonsense or just don't go anywhere, though this doesn't detract from the fun feel of the song (including high-pitched backing vocals singing 'pink pink pink' and 'quack quack quack').

Although the production of the song was a disaster (the band's instruments were not even tuned properly), it was released as a single three months later after the B-side, Paintbox, was recorded. It was Norman Smith who suggested that Apples and Oranges should be the A-side of the new single. Roger Waters commented on the decision and the recording of the song.

Roger: "It was a group decision and we definitely set out Apples and Oranges as a single. We all thought it was a really good song, but the recording didn't come up so well."

Nick Mason: "It could have done with more working out, I think."

This single, unlike the previous two, failed to chart. Syd Barrett responded to the record's lack of commercial success.

Syd: "Couldn't care less. All we can do is make records which we like. If the kids don't, then they won't buy it."

Nick: "It is possible on an LP to do exactly what we want to do. The last single, Apples and Oranges, we had to hustle a bit. It was commercial but we could only do it in two sessions. We prefer to take a longer time."

Manager Peter Jenner thought that Jugband Blues, also recorded in August, would make a better single. However, in spite of the bad recording, Apples and Oranges still had more of an upbeat single feel to it than the bizarre Blues, which was released on the band's second LP, A Saucerful of Secrets. Years later, Jenner commented on why Apples was released

Peter Jenner: "EMI told us we needed another single, and that was the only song we had. So we had to put it out, hadn't we? Another example of our naivete and inexperience. There wasn't anything else lying around."

Roger Waters: "Apples and Oranges was a very good song... In spite of mistakes and the production I don't think it was bad. Apples and Oranges was destroyed by the production. It's a fucking good song."


  1. "Got a flip-top pack of cigarettes in your pocket/Feeling good at the top/shopping in shops/she's walking in the sunshine town" etc.

    The first 3 lines descibe the singer, then the subject shifts in line 4 when "she" is suddenly introduced... it looks like you've got the rest of this nailed down with the exception of "I'm her lorry driver man".

  2. I've changed "the lorry..." to "her lorry...", thanks for your input. However, I am not hearing the same thing you are for the first verse. Absent further discussion I'm going to leave it as is for now.

  3. I agree with Anonymous "..she's walking".It's a slow roll in :D