Several Species... is the first track on side two of the studio half of Pink Floyd's 1969
. Okay, that sentence was confusing, weird and complicated, but so is the song. The band decided to record an album which would be half live recordings and half studio recordings. Each quarter of the studio half would be the exclusive property of an individual band member. Several Species... is the first song on Roger Waters'
portion of the album.
Quite arguably one of the strangest songs ever recorded, right up there with the music of Harry Partch, the title is actually very self-explanatory. Several Species... begins with what sounds curiously like the chittering of small woodland creatures and a quick, bongo-like drumming. Eventually these give way to what sounds like a human voice making strange gasping, raspy noises and a strange, hollow high-pitched keening. With about 1:10 remaining in the song, a voice with as thick a Scottish accent as ever you've heard interrupts some howling and screeching to recite the following few lines:
Aye an' a bit of Mackeral settler rack and ruin
ran it doon by the haim, 'ma place
well I slapped me and I slapped it doon in the side
and I cried, cried, cried.
The fear a fallen down taken never back the raize and then Craig Marion, get out wi' ye Claymore out mi pocket a' ran doon, doon the middin stain picking the fiery horde that was fallen around ma feet.
Never he cried, never shall it ye get me alive ye rotten hound of the burnie crew. Well I snatched fer the blade O my Claymore cut and thrust and I fell doon before him round his feet.
...and the wind cried back.
In actuality, the song is almost entirely produced by the body of Roger Waters and a fancy sound board. The animal noises are Waters' voice sped up and slowed down. If you speed the record up to 78 RPMs you can hear him saying "Bring back my guitar". If you slow it down to 16 RPMs, you can here the only sound made by another band member: David Gilmour saying, "This is pretty avant-garde, isn't it?" The drumming is produced by Waters drumming on himself and a table. The final monologue is also spoken by the band's eccentric front man, playing the part of the Pict (a British tribe of Roman days) by faking a Scottish brogue.
There is some debate as to whether the closing line is "...and the wind cried back" or "...and the wind cried Mary". The former seems much more likely to me. It fits better and was much more in keeping with Waters' style. This song was the inspiration for Ron Geesin's parody of the kooky bandleader "To Roger Waters, Where-ver You Are". Geesin was a friend of the band's and co-wrote Atom Heart Mother with Waters.