Before they saw the dark side of the moon and built a giant wall, Pink Floyd made a name for themselves with jazz-influenced psychedelia that sounded like few bands that came before. The leader of their early cosmic vision was Syd Barrett, who eventually went down a path of insanity due to heavy use of psychedelic drugs.
Even though the band didn’t transcend music until they replaced Barrett with David Gilmour, the original lineup had its share of influence and popularity in the late ’60s as well. They once scored an appearance on American Bandstand, which you can watch in the video above with their performance of “Apples and Oranges”.
While the brief video clip below doesn’t do anything to show any insight into Barrett’s mindset at the time of the interview, it does show the influence he had within the band at the time.
This appearance is an earlier one than the performance the band made on the show on November 18, 1967, during which Barrett refused to lip-sync to “Arnold Layne” as the band mimed the performance while a recording of the song played in the background. That only resulted in the cancellation of Pink Floyd’s first-ever U.S. tour.
He does seem aloof in the “Apples and Oranges” performance too, as you’ll notice the camera doesn’t even show him most of the time he sings. Without any hard evidence, you can still tell just by looking at Barrett’s facial expression that something strange is going on upstairs, and the result of their last appearance on American Bandstand is pretty strong evidence that something was wrong with Barrett at the time.
Where do you think Pink Floyd would be today had Barrett stuck around and Gilmour never made it into the band? Needless to say they would be quite different.
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