Arnold Layne was the first single released on 10 March 1967 in the UK by British psychedelic rock band The Pink Floyd, shortly after landing a recording contract with EMI. It was written by Syd Barrett, their co-founder and original frontman. Although not originally included on the band’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, “Arnold Layne” is featured on numerous Pink Floyd compilation albums. “Candy and a Currant Bun” was the B-side to the single.
The song’s title character is a transvestite whose primary pastime is stealing women’s clothes and undergarments from washing lines. According to Roger Waters, “Arnold Layne” was actually based on a real person: “Both my mother and Syd’s mother had students as lodgers because there was a girls’ college up the road so there were constantly great lines of bras and knickers on our washing lines and ‘Arnold’ or whoever he was, had bits off our washing lines.”
The song regularly ran for ten to fifteen minutes in concert (with extended instrumental passages), but the band knew that it had to be shortened for use as a single. It was a complex recording involving some tricky editing, recalling that the middle instrumental section with Richard Wright’s organ solo was recorded as an edit piece and spliced into the song for the final mix.
The song was mixed into mono for the single. It has never been given a stereo mix though the four-track master tape still exists in the EMI tape archive.
Record Company: Columbia Records
Catalog Number: DB 8156
Matrix: 7XCA 27877-1 G / 7XCA 27878-1 G (both stamped) (solid center)