The Song Roger Waters Called ‘An Act Of Mad Genius’
Undoubtedly, Syd Barrett means a lot to hardcore Pink Floyd fans since the late musician shaped the early image of the band with his exceptional musical abilities. He was a decent guitarist and singer, but Barrett’s fantastic songwriting skills actually distinguished him from his counterparts and took Pink Floyd to the next level. During his time with the band, Syd was always innovative, looking for new sonic grounds.
Even though the late singer left behind a considerably small body of work compared to the rest of the band, he still remained a captivating figure. However, Syd Barrett could not sustain this creative input for long. He became increasingly difficult to work with when his mental health deteriorated, and he behaved unpredictably. The last song he wrote for the band and his behavior afterward was proof of that, driving Roger Waters crazy.
Through late 1967 and early 1968, Syd Barrett became completely unreliable on the stage. He was either unable to perform or failed to appear due to his worsening mental status. During this time, David Gilmour started to play with the band to fill in for Barrett. Later, the band drew him back from being a touring member, so he continued as the primary composer and studio musician.
When Pink Floyd gathered in January 1968, which would be their last rehearsal session together, Syd Barrett shared a new song named ‘Have You Got It Yet?‘ Although it sounded straightforward, like a classic Barrett tune, it was impossibly difficult for the remaining band members to learn. Syd constantly changed the melody and the arrangement with each new practice, deliberately making it challenging for the others to follow.
It took some time for the other band members to understand what was happening. They eventually realized they had become victims of the late musician’s strange sense of humor. As he said in an interview for 2001’s The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story, Roger Waters was pretty angry with Barrett after realizing what he had done. The bassist left the room immediately and avoided playing with Syd again.
Apparently, Waters didn’t really enjoy Barrett’s little joke, considering he called the song ‘Have You Got It Yet?’ ‘a real act of mad genius‘ because it was impossible to perform. The band tried to play the song in the session but never really recorded it to use in the albums. Although Syd stayed in the band for another few months following this incident, he officially departed in April 1968. The singer pursued a brief solo music career but later returned to painting and preferred to live in seclusion.