“One Slip” - Pink Floyd

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There is an extraordinary story behind the song, "One Slip". The first 20 seconds of the track contains the sound of an intruder trying to enter the access code to a burglar alarm which Dave Gilmour had arranged to be installed where he was recording the album. The studio recording includes several sets of high pitched beeps followed by the usual error tones and finally the number of incorrect attempts sets off the alarm.

The alarm panel used a Z80 microprocessor plus up to 64 smaller microprocessors to gather the data. It had a frequency divider chip to
make the beeps, error sounds and the loud sweeping alarm tone. The actual sounds were a bit off key because the alarm panel did not have perfect pitch! This just added more realism to the sound.

The multiplex alarm panel was unusual in that it could monitor 320 zones and was used in many "interesting places" throughout the world. Employees in the security industry recognised the sound and the song, "One Slip", caused much excitement.

In 1984 Colin Palmer started to design the burglar alarm. Colin was working for Scantronic and Modern Alarms and suddenly he had a flash of inspiration and decided to add the musical sound effects to the product and he seemed to know that the sounds would be famous one day. It was still a surprise when he was told that Dave Gilmour had used it on the Momentary Lapse of Reason album in 1987.

Colin Palmer became even more interested in Pink Floyd's music and at the Newbury parliamentary by-election, in 1993, Colin was one of the record number of 19 candidates but he didn't put up any posters or hand out any leaflets but simply asked the voters to play their Pink Floyd albums on election day to show support. This was a reasonably successful eccentric tactic and the SUN newspaper headlined the Pink Floyd story on the day of the by-election.
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