"One of These Days" is the opening track from Pink Floyd's 1971 album Meddle. The composition is instrumental except for the only spoken (or sung) line from drummer Nick Mason, "One of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces." It features double-tracked bass guitars played by David Gilmour and Roger Waters, with each bass hard panned into one channel of stereo, but one bass sound is quite muted and dull. According to Gilmour, this is because that particular instrument had old strings on it, and the roadie they had sent to get new strings for it wandered off to see his girlfriend instead.
|"One of These Days"|
|Single by Pink Floyd|
|from the album Meddle|
|Released||29 November 1971|
|Pink Floyd singles chronology|
The predominant element of the piece is that of a bass guitar played through a delay (echo) unit, set to produce repeats in quarter-note triplets. The result of this setting is, if the player plays simple quarter notes, the added echoes will produce a pattern of quarter note – eighth note, quarter note – eighth note. Pink Floyd would again use this technique on the bass line for "Sheep".
The distinctive keyboard accents on this track are composed of three components: A Hammond organ forms the 'fade in', followed by a "Stab" composed of a second Hammond organ with percussion stop, overdubbed with an acoustic piano fed through a Leslie speaker, as was also used on "Echoes". For live versions, the 'fade in' part was played on a Farfisa organ.
The threatening lyric, a rare vocal contribution by Nick Mason, was recorded through a ring modulator and slowed down to create an eerie effect. It was aimed at Sir Jimmy Young, the then BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 DJ who the band supposedly disliked because of his tendency to babble. During early 1970s concerts, they sometimes played a sound collage of clips from Young's radio show that was edited to sound completely nonsensical, thus figuratively "cutting him into little pieces". The bootleg compilation A Treeful of Secrets contains a demo version of "One of These Days" in which the Jimmy Young collage loops in the background during the performance. However, the authenticity of this demo has not been confirmed.
Possibly the most interesting thing about "One of These Days" is that it actually stars myself as vocalist, for the first time on any of our records that actually got to the public. It's a rather startling performance involving the use of a high voice and slowed down tape.
According to John Peel, Waters has described "One of These Days" as a "poignant appraisal of the contemporary social situation". Gilmour has stated that he considers it the most collaborative piece ever produced by the group.
A film, French Windows, was made by Ian Emes, set to the piece and featuring people and gibbons dancing against various backgrounds. After being seen on television by the band, it was back-projected by Pink Floyd during live performances and Emes was commissioned to make further films for the band. It has since been released as an "extra" on the band's Pulse DVD, and is to be included in the 27-disc The Early Years 1965–1972 box set.
The tune also quotes Delia Derbyshire's realisation of Ron Grainer's theme from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. This quotation is most clear in live performances, particularly in concerts on the Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell tours.
The song was a concert staple on the band's 1971–1973 and 1987–1994 tours. The Live at Pompeii version was retitled as "One of These Days I'm Going to Cut You into Little Pieces", the full spoken threat.
It was resurrected for the group's 1987–1989 A Momentary Lapse of Reason & Another Lapse tours and 1994's The Division Bell Tour, performed by David Gilmour on lap steel guitar, Tim Renwick on rhythm guitar, Guy Pratt on bass, Richard Wright and Jon Carin on keyboards, with Nick Mason and Gary Wallis on drums and percussion. It was included on the Delicate Sound of Thunder video (1989), CD, LP, and cassette (1988) and Pulse album (1995) (cassette & LP only) & video & DVD (1995/2006 respectively). It is absent from the iTunes version of the Pulse album. A live version was also included on the B-side of the "High Hopes/Keep Talking" double A-side single (1994).
On 25 June 2016, David Gilmour and his solo band performed the song during their set at the Plac Wolności in Wrocław, Poland, the first time Gilmour had played it live in more than 20 years and the first time he’d ever made it part of a solo set list. Roger Waters plays the song in the first set of songs on his 2017 Us + Them Tour. The song also forms part of Nick Mason' Saucerful of secrets show closing the main set. The performance again features Guy Pratt on bass. The song was played by Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets in 2018.
In a review for the Meddle album, Jean-Charles Costa of Rolling Stone described "One of These Days" as sticking to the usual Pink Floyd formula, but "each segment of the tune is so well done, and the whole thing coheres so perfectly that it comes across as a positive, high-energy opening."
Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
Live at Pompeii (David Gilmour)
A promo video was used to promote Delicate Sound of Thunder and got brief airing on MTV in 1989. It showed the band performing the track on stage at Nassau Coliseum and shots of the inflatable pig that flew over the audience during the song in the show. The end of the clip blacks out instead of segueing into "Time" as on the Delicate Sound of Thunder video.