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Obscured by Clouds

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Title: Obscured by Clouds  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pink Floyd discography, List of songs recorded by Pink Floyd, Burning Bridges (Pink Floyd song), Childhood's End (Pink Floyd song), Mudmen (instrumental)
Collection: 1972 Albums, 1972 Soundtracks, Albums Produced by David Gilmour, Albums Produced by Nick Mason, Albums Produced by Richard Wright (Musician), Albums Produced by Roger Waters, Albums with Cover Art by Hipgnosis, Albums with Cover Art by Storm Thorgerson, Capitol Records Albums, Capitol Records Soundtracks, Emi Records Albums, Emi Records Soundtracks, English-Language Albums, English-Language Soundtracks, Film Soundtracks, Harvest Records Albums, Harvest Records Soundtracks, Pink Floyd Albums, Pink Floyd Soundtracks, Progressive Rock Soundtracks
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Obscured by Clouds

Obscured by Clouds
Soundtrack album / Studio album by Pink Floyd
Released 2 June 1972[1]
Recorded 23–29 February and 23 March–6 April 1972,
Studio Strawberry Studios, Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, Île-de-France, France[2]
Genre Progressive rock
Length 40:30
Language English
Label Harvest
Producer Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd chronology
Obscured by Clouds
The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd soundtracks chronology
Zabriskie Point
Obscured by Clouds
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Singles from Obscured by Clouds
  1. "Free Four"
    Released: 3 June 1972

Obscured by Clouds is the seventh studio album by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, based on their soundtrack for the French film La Vallée, by Barbet Schroeder. Some copies of the album refer to the film by its English title, The Valley. The cover of Obscured by Clouds is an out-of-focus film still of a man in a tree. The lyrics and music tell the story of one's journeys. The album was released in the United Kingdom on 2 June 1972, and a few weeks later in the United States, by Harvest, reaching number 6 and number 46 respectively. A single, "Free Four", was issued in the US only.


  • Overview 1
  • Release and reception 2
  • Live performances 3
  • Track listing 4
  • Personnel 5
  • Sales chart performance 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


By 1972,

External links

  1. ^ Povey, Glenn (2006). "Playing Different Tunes 1972–1973". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 168.  
  2. ^ a b c Povey, Glenn (2006). "Playing Different Tunes 1972–1973". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 166.  
  3. ^ a b Manning, Toby (2006). "The Albums". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 164.  
  4. ^ a b c d Mason, Nick (2004). "There Is No Dark Side". Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Widenfeld & Nicolson. p. 164.  
  5. ^ a b Povey, Glenn (2006). "Playing Different Tunes 1972–1973". Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 155.  
  6. ^ a b Manning, Toby (2006). "The Albums". The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 165.  
  7. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus.  
  8. ^ Mason, Stewart. Song review at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  9. ^ Hinton, Graham. "EMS: The Inside Story – The Users". Electronic Music Studios. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Album review at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Album: Pink Floyd: Obscured by Clouds". Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  12. ^ McCormick, Neil (20 May 2014). "Pink Floyd's 14 studio albums rated".  
  13. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 872.  
  14. ^  
  15. ^ a b "Infodisc – Pink Floyd – Obscured By Clouds". Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Pink Floyd UK Chart History".  
  17. ^ a b Billboard chart peak position at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  18. ^ Record Research (advertisement). Billboard magazine. 15 March 1997. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 


Year Chart Position
1972 French Albums Chart 1[15]
1972 UK Albums Chart 6[16]
1972 Billboard Pop Albums 46[17]

Sales chart performance

Additional personnel
Pink Floyd


Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
7. "Childhood's End"   Gilmour Gilmour 4:31
8. "Free Four"   Waters Waters 4:15
9. "Stay"   Waters, Wright Wright 4:05
10. "Absolutely Curtains"   Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Mason Instrumental, chant by Mapuga tribe 5:52
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Obscured by Clouds"   Gilmour, Waters Instrumental 3:03
2. "When You're In"   Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Mason Instrumental 2:30
3. "Burning Bridges"   Wright, Waters Gilmour, Wright 3:29
4. "The Gold It's in the..."   Gilmour, Waters Gilmour 3:07
5. "Wot's... Uh the Deal?"   Gilmour, Waters Gilmour 5:08
6. "Mudmen"   Wright, Gilmour Instrumental 4:20

Track listing

"Wot's... Uh, the Deal?" saw revival as part of Gilmour's set list during his 2006 solo tour. One of these performances features on Gilmour's 2007 DVD Remember That Night and also the vinyl version of his 2008 live album, Live in Gdańsk.

"Childhood's End" is the only other song from the soundtrack to find its way to the stage. It made several appearances in Europe starting on 1 December 1972 and at the start of the band's March 1973 tour of North America, usually with an extended instrumental passage.

Pink Floyd opened some shows in 1973 with an extended jam based on the pairing of "Obscured by Clouds" and "When You're In", accompanied by smoke and a light show.

Live performances

The album's cover was, like several other Pink Floyd albums, designed by Hipgnosis. It consists of a photograph of a man sitting in a tree which has been taken out of focus to the point of complete distortion. Obscured by Clouds was released in the UK on 2 June 1972 and then in the United States on 15 June 1972, both on Harvest. The album reached number one in France,[15] number six on the UK Albums Chart,[16] and number 46[17] on the US albums chart (where it was certified Gold by the RIAA in 1997).[18] In 1986, the album was released on CD. A digitally remastered CD was released in March 1996 in the UK and August 1996 in the US.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [10]
Robert Christgau C[11]
The Daily Telegraph [12]
MusicHound 1/5[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide [14]

Release and reception

After recording had finished, the band fell out with the film company, prompting them to release the soundtrack album as Obscured by Clouds, rather than La Vallée. In response, the film was retitled La Vallée (Obscured by Clouds) on its release.[4]

Obscured by Clouds was the second Pink Floyd album to feature the VCS 3 synthesizer as stated by EMS Archives.[9] Mason also plays electronic drums on this track.[4]

During the first recording session in February 1972, the French television station mastering. The sibilance problem was corrected in later pressings.

"Free Four" was the first Pink Floyd song since "See Emily Play" to attract significant airplay in the US,[6] and the second (after "Corporal Clegg" from A Saucerful of Secrets)[7] to deal with the death of Eric Fletcher Waters, Roger Waters' father.[6][8] "Childhood's End" was the last song Pink Floyd released to have lyrics written by David Gilmour, the band's guitarist, until the release of A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987. "Absolutely Curtains", the closing instrumental on the album, ends with a recording of the Mapuga tribe, as seen in the film.[5]

As they had done on More, the band saw a rough cut of the film, and noted down certain timings for cues with a stopwatch. From this, they created a number of pieces that they felt could be cross-faded at various points in the final cut of the film. They weren't too worried about creating complete songs, feeling that any musical piece would be workable without the need for any solos, but nevertheless, under pressure to produce enough material, they managed to create a whole series of well-structured songs.[3] Drummer Nick Mason recalls that the sessions were very hurried, and the band spent most of the time in Paris locked away in the studio.[4]


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