Pink Floyd formed in 1964 from earlier bands whose names included Sigma 6, T-Set, Megadeaths, The Screaming Abdabs, The Architectural Abdabs, and The Abdabs. The band was again renamed The Pink Floyd Sound and then simply The Pink Floyd (after two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). The definite article was dropped by the time their debut album was released.
Pink Floyd originally consisted of Bob Klose (lead guitar), Syd Barrett (vocals, rhythm guitar), Richard Wright (keyboards, vocals), Roger Waters (bass, vocals) and Nick Mason (drums). They covered rhythm and blues staples such as 'Louie, Louie'. As Barrett started writing tunes more influenced by American surf music, psychedelic rock, and British whimsy, humour and literature, the heavily jazz-oriented Klose departed and left a rather stable foursome. The band formed Blackhill Enterprises, a six-way business partnership with their managers, Peter Jenner and Andrew King.
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Released in 1967, the band's debut "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is considered to be a prime example of English psychedelic music. The album's tracks showcase an eclectic mixture of music, from the avant garde free form piece 'Interstellar Overdrive' to whimsical songs, such as 'Scarecrow', a melancholic song inspired by the Fenlands, the rural region surrounding Barrett's home town of Cambridge.
In 1968, guitarist David Gilmour joined the band to carry out the playing and singing duties of Barrett, whose mental health was deteriorating, but nevertheless was intended to remain as the band's figurehead and songwriter. With Barrett's behaviour becoming less and less predictable, and use of LSD almost constant, he became very unstable, often staring into space while the rest of the band performed. The band's live shows became increasingly ramshackle until, eventually, the other band members simply stopped taking him to the concerts.
Once Barrett's departure was formalised, Jenner and King decided to remain with him, and the six-way Blackhill partnership was dissolved.
Whilst Barrett had written the bulk of the first record, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), he contributed just one song 'Jugband Blues' to the second A Saucerful of Secrets (1968).
After the film soundtrack "More", the next record, the double album "Ummagumma" (part recorded at Mothers Rock Club, Birmingham, and in Manchester in 1969), was a mix of live recordings and unchecked studio experimentation by the band members, with each recording half a side of vinyl as a solo project (Mason's wife makes an uncredited contribution as a flautist).