The Pink Floyd in their Barrett inspired prime

For a long time, many figured that the rare single by an obscure studio only band called THREE TO ONE from Canada was the first Pink Floyd / Syd Barrett cover, with the song SEE EMILY PLAY released late '67 on ARC records. 
The song then was noticed among the collection of psychedelic sides on another ARC release from Canada called FLOWER POWER. Then once again you have another compilation from Canada called CTV after four on subsidary of ARC called yorkville (based on the teen music show) and it has the Three to One track on it, yet it's not listed on the LP. A hidden track.
I say it's the Three to One track on the CTV comp, because it's the same as the single, different than the Flower Power comp and that's the version that is the most interesting as it has some samples in it, pre sample era, like samples from a kids record or something and spacey 50s SFX in the breakdown and a different vocal than the Flower Power comp, the voice has a bit to be desired to me though, as it kinda sounds like an old stodgy man squeaking it out. 

The Flower Power comp has the same music but it's in true stereo and more soulful vocals. The Three to One and CTV is in Mono. 
So that was exciting for collectors of Canadiana for many years. Three to One 
is the ultimate rarity on ARC, it never shows up.
You take the Flower Power comp with the stereo version and you hear the same voice that is also on many ARC hits-a go go-ect 60's garage rock comps. They are all great covers and do them justice, sometimes better than the originals! 
I personally was so intrigued but was stumped. No one was talking. No one could tell
me who the band was or who the voice was. A clue was had that was on the back of one of the exploito LPs that said the tracks were recorded in England for that authentic sound. I thought they were jivin' me.

Here is all 4 versions one afte the other-


Turns out they were spilling the beans but not unveiling who the great band was.
Well now it has come to light from some web sources
that the band most likely fabulous group from England called John Smith and the New Sound but that band may only be connected by association, being compiled by Vogue.
I had not seen the LPs which they were connected with for some time and it was not until someone posted information online I was able to confirm it because those LPs were not distributed in Canada.

Wait though. Is that the end? It could get deeper. John himself does not remember recording SEE EMILY PLAY. DOT DOT DOT
This connection opens up many questions I had in general about ARC records
and the fab covers.

It is pretty clear the Vogue was using these compilations
as a vehicle for some tax writeoff/scam
What is coheisive to this story of appropriation and reappropriation
is the fact Vogue put out decent cover versions of hits of the day
under various channels, first being Vogue records, and other
rehashes under POP of Germany (England's top 14 of pop series)
and then across the pond  with Brian Ahern and ARC records
recompiling for the market here in Canada.

Listening to the various comps, it is clear there are different bands
involved or at least revolving vocalists.
This leaves the simple fact of the matter I wanted to find out from the start,
if Three to One was a real band who recorded the first Pink Floyd cover
and where were they really from.
When looking at the map and trace to the source, my first references
go back to the ARC compilations from Canada.

Listen to a great Stones cover from the Canadian  
HITS A GO GO comp below that was recorded for Vogue   
(it shows up again on Let's Spend the Night together ARC stones exploito LP)

I have almost every ARC hits parade, Hits a Go Go ect compilation
from this period and in many cases the songs are definitly
the same that come from the Vogue stable.

The definite aspect that ties ARC to Vogue records and
John Smith and other names tacked onto the Vogue Hits LPs like Daves Soul Group, Ray Merrell, Johnny Smash Ben Cash, The Beat Kings, is they are
the same recordings used and reused and sold and resold by
many markets.

Another thing that must be made clear about John Smith is he did write
some original tracks and they were released on Vogue 45s.
More information about that and a small interview with John
is found on

The only track I know of that was remixed and new vocal applied from these
sessions on the ARC compilations was by THREE TO ONE.
So that now creates the new mystery, who is the vocalist on ARC records release and what foward thinking producer mixed in the Samples?

To conclude, the answer is definite that these tracks were produced in the UK to be pushed anywhere they could push it. That usually meant the bargin bin.

The guy who did the deals in Canada was Brian Ahern who aside from being a great musician he ran ARC, probably played on some records, produced, ran one of the first ultra mobile recording trucks in N.America and eventually married Emmy Lou Harris in the 70's and put many artists on who became very well known. 
He wrangled a deal across the pond, but I'm not sure what kind of deal. Those details are probably inside Aherns head, and to my knowledge he hasn't talked about these things. 

I have compiled all versions of SEE EMILY PLAY and now everyone can hear the differences.

Brian is really a little known giant in the music industry especially
with his push of Country Rock and live recording innovations

Brian  Ahern

brian and keith richards - looks like late 70s 

A little about Brian from :

Brian had his own groups, the Offbeats and the Badd Cedes, whose song "Dolly Magic" was released on two singles as the Chapter V: Verve Forecast KF5046 with "The Sun Is Green" and again on Verve Forecast KF5057 with "Headshrinker", all three songs Ahern originals. Brian also played with 3's a Crowd. More on the Badd Cedes at Nova Scotia Classic Rock.


  1. At The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit (iggy dot atagong dot com) we have tried to find the truth about the four known low-budget versions of See Emily Play, but the mystery who was behind it only has become bigger.


Post a Comment


full instructions below to become member-please follow steps
otherwise it will be hard or impossible to find you to send link(s)

contact us anytime -