A belated (some might say) second post to follow my The Piper at the Gates of Dawn review. Not very seasonal I suppose, but there is something Christmas-esque in the whimsy of Syd Barrett era Floyd, even though his impact was largely superseded by this album, Saucerful of Secrets. For Floyd novices, this is the difficult second album after their former leader left (and went a little ‘strange’). By posting this I feel as if I’ve now committed to writing about all of this seminal rock band’s albums (at least the studio offerings). A brave move! So, with no further delay….I give you 1968’s Saucerful of Secrets!
Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
In 1968 Pink Floyd must have felt like a band with a very uncertain future. It had become clear that founder Syd Barrett was not a well man, and was finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the pressures of fame, success and being in a high profile group. As Syd was Pink Floyd’s lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter this was a worrying state of affairs. Everyone was looking at him to deliver new songs and it was clear that he just wasn’t up to the challenge.
It’s difficult to imagine where Pink Floyd may have gone if Syd had managed to stay with the band, although its perhaps unlikely. Even without the aggravating effects of LSD and other substances, Syd may have still gone the way he did.
Roger Waters has spoken about the last time he played with Syd. It was a new song Syd had written called “Have you got it yet?” After changing the structure of the song every time Waters tried to play it, thus making sure Waters got it wrong, Waters finally got the joke and put his guitar down. By the time of his last live appearances with the band Syd would just stand there strumming one chord. One famous anecdote has him crushing Mandrax (a sedative) into Brylcreem and spreading it all over his head. Other stories tell of psychotic behaviour to people outside the band, such as girlfriends. It had become obvious to the other band members that he wasn’t right of mind.
Either way, Syd Barrett’s place in Pink Floyd was as good as over. Continue reading