Roger Waters: Why I left Pink Floyd

They sold more than 200 million albums and sat at the top of rock royalty. What killed Pink Floyd?

"You can't help yourself, can you?" That's what Roger Waters said in exasperation as Steve Kroft persisted in asking him about the rise and fall of one of the world's most successful rock bands, Pink Floyd.

I certainly enjoyed every second of this week's 60 Minutes story about Waters and his re-staging of "The Wall." But as a long-time fan of Pink Floyd, I have always been fascinated by the how, what, and why behind the break-up of this group. How could anyone just walk away from that? How could you just stop? Didn't you know we were counting on you? You're darn right Steve Kroft is going to ask about it!

I turned 13 the summer "Dark Side of the Moon" was released. It's safe to say Pink Floyd was the soundtrack during my formative teenage years. I might not have been in love with "Wish You Were Here" but I understand "Dark Side" was a tough act to follow. My two best friends and I saw Pink Floyd live on the floor of Madison Square Garden on July 4th 1977 during the "Animals" tour. And during college there was "The Wall."

By the time it all ended for Pink Floyd, I was all grown-up and working here at CBS already, and I might not have even noticed the group's final days. But, like all their fans, I have never stopped listening. I especially love "Sheep" from the "Animals" album.

The story of founding member Syd Barrett growing mad and having to leave the group has always had special resonance. One of those best friends standing by my side at that July 4th 1977 concert developed schizophrenia in his early 20's. In my heart, I understand very well what "Dark Side" and "Wish You Were Here" are all about.

What do you think about the band? The break up? Who's right, who's wrong? If you're a fan, you know what I'm talking about. Tell me what you think.

  • Reid Collins Jr.

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