Bike (3:22)

Cover of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

From The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and 8 other releases

…allegedly inspired by a large Raleigh bicycle belonging to his new Cambridge girlfriend Jenny Spires… although she has since dismissed the connection as rubbish.

— Watkinson/Anderson, Crazy Diamond, p 32.

‘The Bike Song’ (aka “Bike”) … the forthcoming album’s [i.e. Piper at the Gates of Dawn — eH] closer. Cliff [“Syd’s Blind From Diabetes”] Jones wrote,

The tempo changes at the end of every verse. The rising glissando note that finishes each chorus was achieved using a crude oscillator and varispeeding the tape down while the track was running.

The apparently double-tracked vocal on ‘Bike’ is set far enough apart from the lead to disorient the listener. One fears the vocal tracks will become unglued and drift farther out of phase than they already are. Artificial double tracking was developed at EMI to save the trouble of recording a separate back-up vocal The song started out as a playful Barrett ditty in the style of ‘The Gnome’, but the haunting coda imbues it with a prophetic, sinister overtone. The finale of the song proper is a parody of the sort of fanfares to be found at the end of an operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan or in English vaudeville. Waters, Wright and Barrett join in on a campy chorus, inviting the girl ‘who fits in with my world’ into Syd’s ‘room of musical tunes’.

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