Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Barrett-Led Era (1965–68) | An Overview
Back in 1966, who would have thought that 43 years later Pink Floyd would be known around the world as one of the most musically, artistically and commercially successful bands in the world?
Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett (1946–2006), Roger Waters (b. 1943), Nick Mason (b. 1944) and Richard Wright (1943–2008) were an underground band whose experimental un-tethering of songs and passion for extended improvisation had more in common with jazz and experimental tangents than what was emerging in the wake of The Beatles and Bob Dylan as serious rock music. Even after signing to The Beatles label EMI in 1967, scoring two wildly successful psychedelic singles and recording an ambitious debut, their days seemed numbered despite groundbreaking ideas about quadraphonic sound and multimedia presentation.
Although Floyd had a healthy number of live bookings they were being pulled out of the pop cosmos into a dark black hole as girl-magnet, singer, songwriter and leader Syd Barrett began to unbuckle his senses and was no longer able to sing, write and lead. In early 1968 after a miserable American tour the previous autumn, Dave Gilmour (b. 1946) – who taught Barrett guitar chords as a teenager – was added, eventually replacing Barrett in the line-up on guitar and vocals. Despite failed singles Pink Floyd began to find their musical feet and, moving away from psychedelic pop songs, like the Grateful Dead in America, began the process of building a large devoted fan base, defining a style of music that would come to be known as ‘space rock’.
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