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Thread: Fat Old Sun's evolution

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    Default Fat Old Sun's evolution

    I am curious what we know about this song. We know that the the BBC 1970 rendition was faithful to the album version but by late 1970, it had evolved to the long-form arrangement as presented on BBC 1971 et. al. Where did this arrangement come from? It seemed to just appear out of the ether. The BBC book touches on it only briefly. Who composed the additions? If it were released in this form, would it be a G/M/W/W composition? A Gilmour / Wright one? I am quite fond of the long-form version and it is one of the reasons I really like the late '70 to late '71 period.

    I'm not a musical scholar but I do note that The Who did something similar (expanding a routine 4-minute number into a 10+ minute opus) with Relax, as preserved in the 1968 Fillmore East recording. Was this sort of thing fairly common in this period? On another forum I was having a "get off my lawn moment" while talking about how I am unmoved by most modern music and one of the reasons is that I know of no active band who would even attempt a composition like this now. Perhaps this sort of thing was never common and I should be glad that anything like it exists at all.
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    I discussed this a little bit in this thread. I'll summarize the main points, with some new additions here:

    • Electric Factory 1970-09-26 was apparently the first performance after BBC, and introduced the first jam section, i.e. the one that goes back and forth between Gm/D and Dm, which is just an elaboration of a chord progression in the studio take.
    • The second jam section, with the chords Dm7, Dm7, E7#9, A7#9, was added sometime in October 1970, and is completely new. Unfortunately we don't know when, since none of the 12 shows between 1970-09-27 and 1970-10-16 circulate. The first one we have is 1970-10-16 Pepperland. (If I had to guess, maybe it was the next show after Fillmore East, 1970-10-01 Portland, which represents the longest break on that tour -- 3 days off -- and a jump from the East Coast to West.)
    • The other big change in the arrangement is the switch from a loud transition into the final verse, with the chords Dm > F > D, to a quiet transition that goes Dm > D, as we hear at the BBC. That seems to be a 1970 vs. 1971 divide, but we don't have the second part of the song from Roundhouse 1971-01-17, so the Münster 1971-02-24 recording is the first example we have of the quiet transition.


    As for who wrote the second jam section, David Gilmour may well be the only person alive who might know and remember the answer. Someone said "This song needs something more", so they added three chords. It might have been Gilmour or Wright, certainly wasn't Mason, Waters is possible but unlikely.

    If I had to choose? Probably Gilmour since it was his song, but it could easily have been Wright.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    As for who wrote the second jam section, David Gilmour may well be the only person alive who might know and remember the answer. Someone said "This song needs something more", so they added three chords. It might have been Gilmour or Wright, certainly wasn't Mason, Waters is possible but unlikely.

    If I had to choose? Probably Gilmour since it was his song, but it could easily have been Wright.
    Complete speculation, but I have always thought the new section came from Wright. Intuition, but also because of the 7's and #9's you noted above. Gilmour tends to use cowboy chords more often than not when he is the writer. Wright is usually responsible for the more unusual harmonic stuff in the band, like the little turn around in Breathe. I wouldn't rule David out completely, but I would pretty certainly rule out Nick and Roger, as you did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lennyif View Post
    Complete speculation, but I have always thought the new section came from Wright. Intuition, but also because of the 7's and #9's you noted above. Gilmour tends to use cowboy chords more often than not when he is the writer. Wright is usually responsible for the more unusual harmonic stuff in the band, like the little turn around in Breathe. I wouldn't rule David out completely, but I would pretty certainly rule out Nick and Roger, as you did.
    Your thought process mirrors mine! The only reason I'd pick Gilmour would be the interpersonal dynamics around the fact that it's his song, plus the ease and idiomatic nature of 7#9 chords on guitar. In truth, my gut says Wright, while my head warns me against underestimating Gilmour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    Your thought process mirrors mine! The only reason I'd pick Gilmour would be the interpersonal dynamics around the fact that it's his song, plus the ease and idiomatic nature of 7#9 chords on guitar. In truth, my gut says Wright, while my head warns me against underestimating Gilmour.
    I would bet it was a both Gilmour - Wright
    “Stupidity has a certain charm - ignorance does not.”
    Frank Zappa

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenband View Post
    In truth, my gut says Wright, while my head warns me against underestimating Gilmour.
    Hehe yep, that’s exactly where I’m at.

    Whomever sparked that, props to them because it made for a beautiful piece of classic Floyd. I wish they had filmed the song for Pompeii and stuck it right before One of These Days. Sunset / Golden Hour in the amphitheater… would have been pretty amazing. Of course, I would say Pompeii could have been a 3 hour film with a bunch of other songs as well. Projects like that have to have focus… I get it.

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    I've never been able to stand the long-form renditions. It's just too long. And really, the song isn't *that* good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lennyif View Post
    Hehe yep, that’s exactly where I’m at.

    Whomever sparked that, props to them because it made for a beautiful piece of classic Floyd. I wish they had filmed the song for Pompeii and stuck it right before One of These Days. Sunset / Golden Hour in the amphitheater… would have been pretty amazing. Of course, I would say Pompeii could have been a 3 hour film with a bunch of other songs as well. Projects like that have to have focus… I get it.
    this is bad luck, even a kind of curse that Fat Old Sun never appeared to be filmed, even not a proshot video. At St Tropez it could have been on the set-list. For the KQED performance, Fat Old Sun is not among the "outtakes" like Astronomy Domine which surfaced in video ?

    regarding the mid-jam section - the organ parts are the Gilmour's original chords from the studio version "sing to me, sing to me..." transposed on keyboard.
    This maybe a collective work at the time. At least involving David and Rick for this amazing reprise and intro.
    I wonder how they did elaborate such amazing extended version : in studio, or later during a soundcheck.
    The Philly 1970 version is one of my favorite because Gilmour plays a second guitar solo instead of Rick's keyboard part. And this solo is very hendrixian (did Gilmour use the same pedal that for the end of Alan Psychedelic Breakfast Sheffield 70 or for "Time" in 1972) ?
    The BBC 1971 is my favorite version for the middle-jam. Rick is doing a beautiful job.
    But I have to tell you something my friends : when I bought the BBC 1971 decades ago, I thought that it was an audience live performance (could have been a few audience in the BBC Theatre) but I thought that it was improvised from scratch. Like some jazzman or bands can do.
    Thus I was kind of mid-disappointed to discover that the same arrangement, albeit a few evolution, was the same, gig after gig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reflect View Post
    I've never been able to stand the long-form renditions. It's just too long. And really, the song isn't *that* good.
    Tastes vary, eh? I'm partly with you, partly not. The album version has never been one of the Floyd tracks that I found particularly interesting. But to my taste, it's the long-form renditions that rescues it and makes it more lively and dramatic rather than simply meandering along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by movement View Post
    Who composed the additions? If it were released in this form, would it be a G/M/W/W composition? A Gilmour / Wright one?
    You could ask this about lots of songs. Most of us have heard Roger’s demo of Money. But do you think Roger composed the guitar solo, or just said “David this is where you play a solo”? I would guess that David wrote it but it’s not enough to get a writing credit. I think that extra composition falls into the category of “producing” a song.

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