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Originally, the band was clearly led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Syd Barrett, whose tweaked sense of whimsy, love of guitar feedback and unfortunate fondness for LSD helped make Piper one of the classics of 1967.

Keyboardist Rick Wright was the most prominent "backing" member of the group, contributing a healthy share of vocals and bunch of interesting organ parts, but no original songs, while bassist Roger Waters (who got one token song on the first album) and drummer Nick Mason seemed solid but not indispensable.

Point is, the separation between the "experimental" albums and the "normal" albums is certainly not as clear cut as many like to make it out to be, and dismissing the former while embracing the latter seems like a mistake to me.

Moving onto the band members themselves, I'd have to say that Pink Floyd had one of the most fascinating internal dynamics of any band that I know.

He was also, at the least, a competent bassist: he played very few passages that were at all flashy, and he had little interest in hardening up the band's sound with his instrument, but the few times he brought his instrument to the front betrayed solid abilities.

His voice was never that great, but then again it's hard to imagine somebody else singing most of his parts.

From that point on, sorting out the roles of the various members of the band becomes a little complicated.

The thing is, it's not that I see the band's pre-DSOTM period, which contains its lesser known albums, as better overall then the albums made in the band's commercial peak ('73-'79).Roger may not have been the main songwriter for most of the band's life, but he was certainly the band's dark, bitter soul, and he brought a number of things to the table.He was an effective lyricist, a good writer of bittersweet acoustic ballads, a master of atmospherics and an aggressive user of sound effects to help drive home his points and make the overall sound more powerful.This doesn't affect me directly, of course, since I never listen to the radio anymore, but when a "big Pink Floyd fan" says they aren't even familiar with Animals, I always have to take a second to bite my tongue.Along those lines, Rolling Stone is just as culpable in the distortion of the band's history as presented to the general public.

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