Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Barrett-Led Era (1968) | Key Events
David Gilmour Joins
With Barrett’s unreliability profoundly affecting the band’s ability to make money by fulfilling live obligations, his old friend Dave Gilmour was drafted in as a backup guitarist. His previous bands Joker’s Wild, Flowers and Bullitt, had failed to make an impression and he was delighted, albeit with natural reservations over Barrett’s feelings. In January 1968 Pink Floyd became a five-piece band – for a handful of gigs. As Barrett wrote and sang most of Floyd’s material there was talk of him becoming a Brian Wilson figure; a non-performing creative studio force, but new Barrett material was fractured and disjointed.
Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London
Tonite Let’s All Make Love In London was a semi-documentary film directed by Peter Whitehead, first shown in 1968, that served to analyze the social phenomenon that was ‘swinging’ London. For Floyd fans, images of John Lennon wandering around in a sheepskin coat are secondary to glimpses of Floyd performing. As Nick Mason uses mallets to circulate around his tom toms, sitting on a chair with his guitar on his lap Barrett is not playing the instrument but coaxing shards of rainbow-sounding texture to colour what many fans consider to be one of the greatest recordings of ‘Interstellar Overdrive’.
Band Splits From Barrett
That Syd Barrett’s last live appearance with Pink Floyd was at the end of Hastings Pier on 2 January is sadly fitting. Although his feet were physically on the ground, he was mentally all at sea. Famously, on the way to their next gig his fellow band-mates simply decided not to pick him up. His ‘departure’ from the band was officially announced on 6 April 1968, although by that time Pink Floyd were touring and recording without him. The Blackhill Partnership dissolved, with Jenner and King opting to continue working with the creative element of the band: Barrett.
Floyd sought out new management at the Bryan Morrison Agency where Steve O’Rourke had already been handling their affairs with regards to concert bookings. Indeed, he had provided Gilmour with a room and tape recorder to learn the Floyd songbook when the guitarist joined the band. O’Rourke was be Floyd’s manager until his death in 2003, taking care of all their business matters from employing members of their road crew for their increasingly sophisticated lighting and visual presentations to negotiating concert bookings and Alan Parson’s rates as an engineer! Like Nick Mason, O’Rourke had an absolute passion for motor sport.
‘It Would Be So Nice’
On 10 February 1968, Record Mirror reported that ‘Corporal Clegg’ was going to be Floyd’s next single. Despite inspired wah-wah guitar from new boy Gilmour and a delicious kazoo break, Waters’ Lennon-esque tale of a soldier losing a limb in the Second World War was rejected. Richard Wright sang on his own ‘It Would Be So Nice’ that failed to chart. The band were regrouping and remapping their future. ‘Single releases have something to do with our scene,’ Waters...
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