When Roger Waters Assumed The Leadership Of Pink Floyd

In their very early days, Pink Floyd was fronted by Syd Barrett, who significantly contributed to the band with his extraordinary songwriting and instrumental skills. However, Barrett was asked to leave Pink Floyd during the sessions of 1968’s sophomore album ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ due to his deteriorating mental health. David Gilmour soon replaced him as the band’s new guitarist.

Syd’s departure led to major changes in the band’s inner structure and dynamics. Since he was the leader of Pink Floyd with his creative genius, they needed someone within the band to step forward with his leadership skills. Thus, Roger Waters came to the forefront and started to guide the band’s future works.

Waters’ influence on the band’s sound was prominent in Pink Floyd’s first record without Syd Barrett, 1969’s ‘More.’ The bassist wrote most of the lyrics as he would in the iconic band’s following albums. During a 1987 interview with Chris Salewicz, Waters reflected on this period right after Barrett’s departure and how he became Floyd’s leader.

“Yes, it was straight after we had split up with Syd,” Roger Waters said when asked how he assumed the leadership of Pink Floyd. “I’m sure you would get arguments about that from the other ‘boys,’ but I simply took responsibility, largely because no one else seemed to want to do it, and that is graphically illustrated by the fact that I started to write most of the material from then on, I’m perfectly happy being a leader.”

So, the bassist implied that he needed to take over the leadership because nobody else within the band wanted to take responsibility. He added, “In fact, I know I can be an oppressive personality because I bubble with ideas and schemes, and in a way, it was easier for the others simply to go along with me.”

Roger continued, “We rarely used to see each other socially, although I used to get on with Nick Mason alright. For a limited time, in the early days of the group, we did mix socially. Because there is something rather appealing about a group together on the road, but that soon palls. And things like families make sure that cycle comes to an end.”

According to Roger Waters, Syd Barrett’s departure, in a way, forced him to assume the leadership of Pink Floyd because he seemed to be the only one who wanted to take responsibility. From then on, he was the primary songwriter of most of the band’s material and guided their sound until parting ways with Floyd in 1985. In the later period, David Gilmour fronted the band with his sophisticated contributions.