The Full Wiki

More info on Careful with That Axe, Eugene

Careful with That Axe, Eugene: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

"Careful with That Axe, Eugene" is a song by the Britishmarker band Pink Floyd. The studio recording is featured on Relics, while a live version can be found on Ummagumma. The song was originally released as the B-side of their single "Point Me at the Sky." Pink Floyd re-recorded the track for Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point. The song is retitled "Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up" on the soundtrack album for the film.


The music consists of a light, organ-based jam (using the "Egyptian" style organ that is common of Richard Wright in this period), and an accompanying bass guitar playing just one tone (in this case, D) in octaves, with a segue into the song's only lyrics: the title of the song whispered menacingly, followed by a Roger Waters scream, as in "Candy and a Currant Bun". This scream would reappear on many subsequent songs such as "Run Like Hell", the very beginning of "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2", and "Two Suns in the Sunset". Then the song becomes much louder and more intense before gradually settling down again. In the heavier parts and later, quieter parts, David Gilmour can be heard with guitar and scat vocals; in concert, Gilmour would often sing along with his guitar line.

For the re-recording made for Zabriskie Pointmarker, "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up," whispering and a choir were added. David Gilmour and Roger Waters provided the vocals, and Waters' screaming is noticeably louder. It's a complete instrumental; unlike the original "Careful with That Axe, Eugene," "Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up" doesn't feature the spoken words "Careful with that axe, Eugene," and is in the key of E minor instead of the original D minor. In the filmmarker, it plays at the end during an explosion sequence filmed in slow motion. In the booklet of the soundtrack's reissue, David Fricke writes: "'Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up' is a cryptically titled remake of the Floyd's volcanic 1968 B-side 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene.' But its bonfire sound — all roaring guitars, crashing drums, and death-throe screaming — is the perfect complement to the movie's cataclysmic finish."

Live history

Pink Floyd performed the song at almost every show from 1968-1973 and once in 1977. An embryonic form was performed as early as 23 May 1968 (captured in a recording at The Paradiso in Amsterdammarker) under the original title of "Keep Smiling People", and another version was recorded on 25 June 1968 at BBC Piccadilly Studios and broadcast on John Peel's Top Gear radio program 11 August 1968 with the title "Murderistic Woman".

During the 1969 tour, it was performed as "Beset by Creatures of the Deep" as part of The Man and the Journey. From autumn 1969 until August 1971 it was often played as a medley in conjunction with "Green Is the Colour".

During Pink Floyd's late 1972 European tour, the song was occasionally performed with a loud (and largely indecipherable) Pictish rant preceding the uttering of the song's title and its trademark scream. A particularly well-known example is the performance from the band's December 1972 concert in Zürichmarker, and their concert on November 15, 1972 in Germanymarker.

Pink Floyd performed "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" for the last time as a part of their regular concert set on 22 June 1974 in Colmar, as a part of their French Tour (18-24 June). A one-off performance was done in Oakland, Californiamarker, on May 9 1977, as an encore. For this rendition, Richard Wright had to use a mini-Moog synthesizer in place of the Farfisa organ he used originally on the live version and the Hammond organ on the studio version. Snowy White, the band's touring guitarist at the time, was coaxed into performing the piece with the band despite having never heard the song before, let alone played it.

Alternative versions and references

  • The song title has been referenced in the lyrics of Dream Theater's song "Octavarium", from the album of the same name.

  • This song is referenced also by Half Man Half Biscuit on their Back in the DHSS album. In "Time Flies By (When You're The Driver Of A Train)", Eugene is asked to be 'careful with that spliff'.

  • In The Damned's "Nasty" where Dave Vanian sings "Careful with that axe you meanie". Pink Floyd's Nick Mason had produced The Damned's second album, Music for Pleasure.

  • Phish also references "Careful with that Axe, Eugene" in their 1997 live release Slip Stitch and Pass during "Mike's Song".

Jerry Garcia urban legend

One of the most popular Floyd myths states that "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" was a reference to Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia, who famously lost a portion of his right-hand middle finger in a childhood wood-chopping accident. Thus, the title refers to Garcia's older brother (who was responsible for the accident), wryly instructing him to be more careful with his "axe" (presumably, the axe that severed part of Jerry's finger).

While the story behind Garcia's missing finger is true, there is no connection between the childhood accident and the song, as neither Garcia, the Dead, nor the story of the childhood accident were widely known when this song was written.



Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address