January 20, 1968: 46 years ago today, Syd Barrett’s final performance with Pink Floyd took place at Hastings Pier, Hastings, Sussex, England. David Gilmour had joined the band a few weeks earlier, the idea being that Gilmour would cover for Barrett’s eccentricities.
For four concerts over a nine day span (January 12-20, 1968), Pink Floyd was a five piece band with both Barrett and Gilmour. But for the next gig on January 26, Syd Barrett was left behind when the rest of the band decided to not pick him up on the way to a show at Southampton University.
The band quickly made plans for Barrett to have a new role: to stay home and write wonderful music as a non-touring member, similar to Brian Wilson. But the result was the aptly titled Have You Got It Yet?, a composition which changed each time Syd played it for the rest of the band, making it impossible for the band to learn it. As he played the continuously changing tune, he would sing “Have you got it yet?”, and they realized that they never would. “He was our friend,” said Roger Waters, “but most of the time we now wanted to strangle him.” By the end of March the band was talking with its management partners, Peter Jenner and Andrew King of Blackhill Enterprises, about making Syd’s departure real and permanent, and on April 6, 1968, it was official.
In what soon proved to be a major business miscue, Peter Jenner and Andrew King chose to continue to represent Syd Barrett (believing he was the sole creative force of Pink Floyd and seeing no future for the band without him) and dissolved their management agreement with Pink Floyd. Steve O’Rourke became Pink Floyd’s manager, it was a role he retained until his death in 2003.