Saturday, March 13, 2010


Paintbox  3:44
Studio recording 2 November 1967 

* Released on single B-side 18 November 1967 
* Re-released on The Best of the Pink Floyd, 1970 (Europe only); Relics, 1971; Masters of Rock vol. 1, 1974 (Europe only); and the Early Singles CD of the Shine On boxed set, 1992

Written by Richard Wright
Recorded at Abbey Road Studios
Produced by Norman Smith

UK: Columbia DB 8310 (B-side)

Last night I had too much to drink
Sitting in a club with so many fools
Playing to rules
Trying to impress, but feeling rather empty
I had another drink
A drink (6x)

What a way to spend that evening
They all turn up with their friends
Playing the game
They're in the scene, oh I should have been
Far away
Away (6x)

Getting up, I feel as if
I'm remembering what's been before
I open the door to an empty room
Then I forget

The telephone rings, and someone speaks
She would very much like to go
Out to a show
So what can I do?
I can't think what to say
She sees through anyway
Away (6x)

Out of the front door I go
Traffic's moving rather slow
Arriving late
There she waits, looking very angry
As cross as she can be
Be, a be (5x)

Getting up, I feel as if
I'm remembering what's been before
I open the door to an empty room
Then I forget

Lead vocals: Rick Wright

By November of 1967, the band had definitely reached an erratic phase in their career, and trips to the studio to record became less and less frequent as Syd was less frequently in a condition to cope with recording. However, a B-side for Apples and Oranges was finally cut on 2 November, and the single was released later that month.

Paintbox was Rick Wright's first sole writing credit with the band. As more of Syd's songs were marked 'unacceptable' for release, other members of the band began writing more material to take up the slack (Roger's Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun had been written by this time as well). Certainly an under-rated song musically, Paintbox starts out strong lyrically but meanders to a non-conclusion. The first two verses touch on the shallowness of superficial socializing, when everyone plays the game of trying to impress (including the singer), and no one seems willing to break the rules, or shake the empty feeling inside created by that falseness (a theme further explored in 1975's Welcome to the Machine). The singer's disgust with that social scene expresses itself in the lyric 'What a way to spend that evening... I should have been/Far away.' And yet, when his significant other rings to arrange other plans, he seems reluctant to leave the club. Or has he already left? At this point, the vignette breaks down and loses its point.

Rick Wright comments on the fact that this song was never performed live: "It's never been performed live on stage because I suppose myself and the rest of the band have never had that interest to play it live. It doesn't strike any of us as a good number to do live anyway. It was a single, a three minute piece of music.There's lots of material we've recorded that we've never played live."


  1. I have to say that the song(and this is another favorite of mine)ends perfectly as it winds it's way off into the abyss leaving us all to feel the disconnection and wonder

  2. Rick would have probably said "See-Saw" "Summer '68" "It Would Be So Nice" "Remember A Day" "Burning Bridges" were not good enough to play live either...Dave, Roger, and Syd's songs were so much better...WRONG! Paintbox neatly covers superficial and boring nights out and fragile "going nowhere" relationships. I don't think any point is being missed here.

  3. I personally think this is one of the best Pink Floyd songs ever recorded. Richard Wright was a genius and doesn't get much credit for it. This song describes the discontent and insecurity someone gets when trying to be too much a people pleaser, and their life falling apart at the seams because of it. Lyrically and musically it's a beautiful piece. Richard was a humble man, but luckily he got the chance to write some great songs.

  4. I'm glad they included paintbox on the Cre/ation early years album Richard was a great guy.