Sunday, February 28, 2010


Embryo  4:47
Studio recording late June 1969 
* Released on Harvest compilation Picnic, June 1970 * Re-released on Pink Floyd compilation Works, 1983 (US only)

Written by Roger Waters
Recorded at Abbey Road
Produced and mixed by Norman Smith

Harvest SHSS 1/2 (Picnic)
Capitol ST 12276 (Works)

All this love is all I am
A ball is all I am
I'm so new compared to you
And I am very small
Warm glow, moon bloom
Always need a little more room
Waiting here, seems like years
Never see the light of day

All around I hear strange sounds
Come gurgling in my ear
Red the light and dark the night
I feel my dawn is near
Warm glow, moon gloom
Always need a little more room
Whisper low, here I go
I will see the sunshine show

Lead vocals: Dave Gilmour

Embryo is a fascinating Roger Waters piece whose subject is mostly explained by its title. Whereas later in his career, he would write about the pain of adolescence and the angst of adulthood, this was a quietly beautiful piece about unborn innocence and untainted hope. Interestingly, the embryo seems fully conscious of his or her surroundings, noticing the 'strange sounds' and the waiting that 'seems like years.'

The song ends with the embryo's birth.

Embryo was written around November 1968, and was performed on a BBC Top Gear show on 2 December 1968 as a three-minute work-in-progress. The band recorded the tune the following year, during the Ummagumma sessions. Being that it was performed by the entire group and therefore did not fit in with the solo format of the album, it was left unreleased; in fact, this five-minute version was never finished, lacking lead guitar overdubs and effects tracks. However, EMI saw fit to release it without the band's permission on the compilation album of acts on their Harvest label, Picnic—a breath of fresh air. The album was soon withdrawn at the group's insistence. Curiously enough, the band did authorize an American release 13 years later, on the Works compilation, of exactly the same track. This was the sole 'new' track on that album, unless one counts the remix of One of These Days to include the heartbeat from the beginning of Dark Side.

Dave Gilmour: "Embryo was a track that we recorded in about '68 or '69 and we never finished. We all went off it for some reason. We never actually finished the recording of it. EMI got Norman Smith I think to mix it, and they released it without our okay, and that's one of the very very few tracks that we never actually finished."

This song was performed live throughout 1970 and '71 in a ten-minute version that included the lead guitar and effects left off the studio version. This significantly different version of the song is covered in its own entry, The Embryo (this is the only song to be covered in two different versions with the same title (though the other version is distinguished with a 'The'), because the studio version was unfinished).

Alternate titles: The Embryo

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