Relics (album)

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Compilation album by
Released14 May 1971 (UK)[1]
ProducerPink Floyd, Norman Smith, Joe Boyd
Pink Floyd chronology
The Best of the Pink Floyd / Masters of Rock
Compact Disc cover
Storm Thorgerson created a new cover for the 1996 re-release, photographing a model inspired by the original line drawing.
Pink Floyd Compilation Albums chronology
The Best of the Pink Floyd
A Nice Pair
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
Yahoo! Musicfavourable[6]

Relics (subtitle: A Bizarre Collection of Antiques & Curios) is a 1971 compilation album by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. The album was released in the UK on 14 May 1971 and in the United States on the following day. Initially released by Starline, the compilation was reissued by Music for Pleasure in the United Kingdom, while Harvest and Capitol distributed the album in the United States. A remastered CD was released in 1996 with a different album cover, picturing a three-dimensional model based on the sketch drawn by drummer Nick Mason for the album's initial release.[7]


The release of Relics occurred because the band's record company, EMI, were concerned that they had gone into the studio to record what would become Meddle without any songs or ideas, effectively starting from scratch. This, combined with their ever-increasing touring schedule, made EMI realise that no new product would be released for some time, possibly not until well over a year after completing their previous album, Atom Heart Mother. In order to issue some more "product" for fans, they decided to release a budget priced LP on their Starline label, combining early singles, B-sides, album tracks and one unreleased song, "Biding My Time".[8] The compilation contains material from the first three albums: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets and More.

Relics has been re-released on numerous occasions, and at times without the proper authority. One such incident involved EMI Australia releasing the album without the band's consent. This led to the LP being withdrawn and, as a result, the album became a rarity. Relics was made readily available again when it was officially issued on CD in 1996.[9]

Relics was reissued again on CD on 17 June 2016, featuring the original sketch artwork cover and containing the same mastering as the 1996 edition.


Relics was most noted for its inclusion of the band's first two Syd Barrett-era hit singles, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play". Due to the lack of available stereo masters, both tracks were reprocessed into Duophonic stereo for the album's original release (the 1996 CD release reverts to the original mono mixes). Also included were the B-sides of the three follow-up singles, with the tracks "Paint Box", "Julia Dream" and "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" appearing in true stereo. Relics has the only CD release of "Paint Box" that has the same length (3:33) that the original single version had; on the albums The Early Singles (1992, part of Shine On), 1967: The First Three Singles (1997), and the 40th anniversary edition of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (2007), it fades out about 13 seconds later.

The album was not a definitive collection of non-album material, as several single A-sides were omitted ("Apples and Oranges," "It Would Be So Nice" and "Point Me at the Sky"), as well as one B-side ("Candy and a Currant Bun"). Until this was rectified with the release of The Early Singles (1992), it was left to the 1970 "The Best of Pink Floyd" / "Masters of Rock" compilations and bootlegs such as The Dark Side of the Moo to plug the gap on LP.

"Biding My Time"[edit]

The album also includes a previously unreleased studio recording of a Roger Waters composition, "Biding My Time". The song originally was titled "Afternoon" which had been heard by live audiences as part of the Man and the Journey concert sequence. Following the sessions for Ummagumma, it was reworked as "Biding My Time", before being held over for two years until the release of Relics. Unusually, Wright plays trombone on this track.[10]

Cover and machine[edit]

The album cover was designed by drummer Nick Mason, and was inspired by his time studying architecture at the Regent Street Polytechnic. In 2008, Mason sold a limited edition of 195 signed prints of this cover.[11][12]

In addition to variations on the original design, the album was released in several countries with different artwork. The four-eyed face on the original US album cover was an antique bottle opener.

When the album was released on CD, former Hipgnosis partner Storm Thorgerson had a real-life version of the contraption on the cover made and presented it to Mason. It is still in Mason's office. Both Thorgerson and his assistant, Peter Curzon, came up with the idea after viewing the head sculpture which appeared on the album sleeve of The Division Bell, constructed by John Robertson.[13]

While the 2016 CD reissue by Pink Floyd Records reverted to the original sketch cover, it also contains photographs of the three-dimensional object inside the booklet.[14]

In May 2019, for the 48th anniversary of the album's release, Nick Mason's official Twitter account, as well as the official Pink Floyd Facebook page, posted a fan made animation of the original cover art.[15] This animated tribute was made by Scandinavian artist Alex Teglbjærg, Artist on the border.[16] The animation was used by Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets for the Echoes tour of 2022. It was used as the backdrop for the performance of the final song Bike. [17]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Arnold Layne" (Single A-side released 11 March 1967)BarrettBarrett2:56
2."Interstellar Overdrive" (from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967)Barrett, Waters, Wright, Masoninstrumental9:43
3."See Emily Play" (Single A-side released 17 June 1967)BarrettBarrett2:53
4."Remember a Day" (from A Saucerful of Secrets 1968)WrightWright4:29
5."Paint Box" (Single B-side to "Apples and Oranges", released 18 November 1967)WrightWright3:33
Total length:23:34
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
6."Julia Dream" (Single B-side to "It Would Be So Nice", released 13 April 1968)WatersGilmour2:37
7."Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (Single B-side to "Point Me at the Sky", released 7 December 1968)Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Masoninstrumental, vocalizations by Waters and Gilmour5:45
8."Cirrus Minor" (from Soundtrack from the Film More 1969)WatersGilmour5:18
9."The Nile Song" (from Soundtrack from the Film More 1969)WatersGilmour3:25
10."Biding My Time" (Previously unreleased, 1969)WatersWaters5:18
11."Bike" (from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn 1967)BarrettBarrett3:21
Total length:25:44

The Capitol reissue of the cassette (4N-16234) is in original order.


Pink Floyd

Additional personnel

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Povey, Glenn (2006). "The Sound of Music in My Ears 1970–1971". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-9554624-0-5. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  2. ^ AllMusic review
  3. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "BBC - Music - Review of Pink Floyd - Relics".
  4. ^ "Pink Floyd : Relics Review on Blender :: The Ultimate Guide to Music and More". 14 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  6. ^ "Pink Floyd Reviews on Yahoo! Music". 8 August 2007. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007.
  7. ^ "Pink Floyd – Relics (1996, CD)". 1996 – via
  8. ^ Povey, Glenn (2006). "The Sound of Music in My Ears 1970–1971". Echoes : The Complete History of Pink Floyd (New ed.). Mind Head Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-9554624-0-5. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  9. ^ "". 3 April 2004.
  10. ^ Kopp, Bill (9 February 2018). Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to the Dark Side of the Moon. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-5381-0828-4.
  11. ^ "Nick Mason "Relics" limited edition signed print". 8 March 2008. Archived from the original on 15 November 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Nick Mason - Relics launch at Birmingham gallery". Brain Damage. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Pink Floyd Relics Limited Edition Album Print Signed By Nick Mason". September 2012.
  14. ^ "Pink Floyd – Relics (2016, Gatefold Sleeve, CD)". 2016 – via
  15. ^ "Nick Mason on Twitter". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Alexander Teglbjærg on Youtube". YouTube. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Nick Masons Saucerful of Secrets - Bike - Liverpool Philharmonic 18/04/2022". Kingsize music. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 233. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 7519". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Pink Floyd | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Pink Floyd Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  22. ^ "British album certifications – Pink Floyd – Relics". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 June 2016.