Saucerful of Secrets by Nicholas Schaffner

Saucerful of Secrets

Saucerful of Secrets is the first in-depth biography of this very private group. At the heart of the saga is Syd Barrett, the group's brilliant founder, whose public decline into shattered incoherence--attributable in part to his marathon use of LSD--is one of the tragedies of rock history. The making of Dark Side of the Moon and Floyd's other great albums is recounted in detail, as are the mounting of "The Wall"  and the creation of the flying...

Details Saucerful of Secrets

TitleSaucerful of Secrets
Release DateJun 1st, 1992
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction

Reviews Saucerful of Secrets

  • Glen Engel-Cox
    The recent demise of Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright was my impetus for reading this well-researched biography of the rock group. I'm a fan of the Waters/Gilmour Floyd (as opposed to the Syd Barrett Floyd or the Waters-less Floyd), and Schaffner does a great job of distinguishing these different periods of the band, putting a nice perspective on the way the transitions occurred given the personalities involved. It's interesting to note that Fl...
  • Arielle88
    The first half of this book, the part about Syd Barrett, haunted me long after he exited the narrative, long after I put the book down, long after I'd forgotten the details of Waters and Gilmore's petty feuds. Everything about him is so haunting and beautiful and enigmatic. After reading this book I discovered Syd's music, which alone earns this book 5 stars. It really should get 4, as the second half was about 3 star quality for me, but I was so...
  • Doug DePew
    Every Pink Floyd fan should own "Saucerful of Secrets". It a fascinating book about this very private, secretive group. The writing is skillfully done, and it's a quick read. I used this book as the basis for an entire class I taught about Pink Floyd. The book carries us through the history of the band from their births to the book's publication date in 1991. The early lives of the band members are interesting, but once the band is formed, it bec...
  • Crckt
    This might be the world's most boring band. That is not to say that I don't like the Floyd, but jeez, for a band that was the soundtrack for so many psychedelic fueled bouts of bad poetry writing and other stoner pastimes, these dudes were duds. They were all pretty rich before becoming rock stars, Roger Waters is a complete megalomaniac, and the greatest disappointment was they really didn't even take that many drugs. It's a sad day to discover ...
  • Olesya Razuvayevskaya
    "The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think.Oh by the way, which one's Pink?" (c)If you are more than just a casual fan, "Saucerful of Secrets" is a must-read. This is the first biography of the Floyd that trails its history from infancy through the golden years and Roger's conceptualism to the beginning of the 90's (Schaffner has never seen his book published as it was finished in 1991 right before his death). Writing about a band ...
  • Drew Martin
    I heard Dark Side of the Moon for the first time as a freshman in high school. That was a while ago, and from those openings sounds and notes I became a huge Pink Floyd fan, and over the years the love grew as I identify more and more with Roger Waters’ lyrics. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate David Gilmour’s guitar heroics, but I’m a writer, not a musician. Then there’s the fractured bridge between them, the writer, musician, roc...
  • Jason
    I thought this was an adequate book, certainly a decent history of Pink Floyd from the band's origins up to about the mid-80s, but I felt the whole thing was skewed by the fact that Schaffner clearly has an overdeveloped hero worship of Syd Barrett and writes the whole book as a sort of tribute to what might have been rather than the greatness that was. He tends to downplay David Gilmour's genius, a crime in my opinion, and subtly argues that Rog...
  • Loyola University Chicago Libraries
    The music of Pink Floyd gains much more meaning when placed in the context of the band’s history, and that is precisely what Schaffner does in Saucerful of Secrets. From the early days of Syd Barrett and the underground London scene to Dark Side of the Moon and straight on through the Gilmour and Waters solo albums, the book reveals the creative processes, internal conflicts, triumphs, and tragedies of this timeless band while progressing chron...
  • Kimberly
    This book hand-holds you through the Floyd chronology and every chapter has titles lifted from the band's discography (something that is often irritating in how far-reaching it is,) and the author is obviously deeply in love with the Floyd. However, it's a great tool for anyone wishing to make sense of the band's history, conflicts, tragedies, and album concepts. Read it cover to cover (or almost--you really don't need the last chapters about the...
  • Lukasz Pruski
    "They weren't players - they were kind of concept artists, really."(Pete Brown, British poet and lyricist, on Pink Floyd).Nicholas Schaffner's Saucerful of Secrets. The Pink Floyd Odyssey (1991) is a well-told and insightful story of the famous British band, one of the brightest stars in the rock-music pantheon. They began playing together in 1965 and were active in recording studios or on tours until 1994. The group temporarily reunited for the ...
  • ACJ
    Ah yes, a band of misfits made some music and it was good, good, good.I think all of them - Syd, Roger, Gilmour, Wright and Mason have all made their mark in the great songs this band has made - but Rick will certainly hold my heart just for "Great Gig in the Sky" and "Echoes". Tell me is something eluding you sunshine,Is this not what you expected to see?If you want to find out what's behind these cold eyesYou'll just have to claw your way throu...
  • Paul Shortell
    Would give it 3.5 stars not quite to 4 and I am a big fan of Pink Floyd. I did enjoy it and maybe understand better how so many artists have creative differences, but it's not a riveting tale. Ezrly years and the band's evolution I found to be tyhe most interesting part.
  • patty
    For a book written twenty-five-plus years ago, coincidentially about the same time my interest in PF waned, this as a fair and objective read. Smooth and easy going, yet well researched. No reissue or kindle editions exist at this time.
  • Tatu Sailaranta
    As a Water/Gilmour-era fan of Pink Floyd, I was little disappointed how quickly that time period was skimmed through. I do like Syd Barrett also, but perhaps much of his story could have been told in a separate biography.
  • Nostalgia Reader
    Whether or not I’ve been conscious of it, I’ve been a Pink Floyd fan pretty much all of my life, so it was only natural that when I happened upon this in one of the used book boxes that I was sorting, that I picked it up and took it home.I am incredibly glad that I did so.The book’s first section covers the band’s formation, with Syd Barrett at the helm of one of the Underground’s most popular bands. It gradually covers the uptake in th...
  • Jacob Nelson
    it's amazing
  • Noella mostafii
    Every Pink Floyd fan should own "Saucerful of Secrets". It a fascinating book about this very private, secretive group. The writing is skillfully done, and it's a quick read. I used this book as the basis for an entire class I taught about Pink Floyd. The book carries us through the history of the band from their births to the book's publication date in 1991. The early lives of the band members are interesting, but once the band is formed, it bec...
  • Dan
    Prior to Nick Mason's autobiographical account of Pink Floyd's history, this was the definitive book on the band. The story is incomplete - the book was published in 1991 (the same year the author died) and so there is no mention of the final album - The Division Bell - and it's supporting tour. Nor of course is there any mention of the Live 8 reunion, or the deaths of Rick Wright and Syd Barrett. What is here is an enjoyably - though not scholar...
  • Thomas
    As is consistent with most other comments I have read regarding this book, the first half of the book that focused on the early days of The Pink Floyd Sound vis-a-vis Syd Barrett was much more gripping than the later half. (Perhaps this is just an inate statement regarding how interesting Barrett is compared to Waters?)Having never really listened to Pink Floyd, it was pretty interesting to read this book before forming pre-conceived notions abou...
  • Jason
    This book is the definitive biography of Pink Floyd and no fan of the band should be without it. Shaffer brilliantly weaves together the Pink Floyd saga from its Cambridge roots to psychedelic London to international acclaim and leaves nothing out.Where a lesser author (and fan) would have been frustrated by the band members' isolation or the spotty early history, Schaffner presses on. He includes interviews with Barrett and the rest of the Floyd...
  • Scott
    I think the most profound aspect of this book is its explanation of Pink Floyd in its early days, its performances at the London underground club the UFO, and especially its in depth coverage of Syd Barrett. I remember reading this book as a teenager and being so moved by the story of Syd Barrett and being fascinated by this 'untold' history. Too often, people only think of the Floyd as the band that wrote and performed "Dark Side of the Moon" an...
  • Brian Hodges
    If you are more than just a casual fan of Pink Floyd, this book is a no-brainer. It not only delves into the inspiration behind each of their albums and waxes eloquently about their mind-bending live shows, but it discusses in great detail the personalities behind this largely anonymous band. From the days of Syd Barrett, through Barrett's inevitable descent into drugs and psychosis, through the golden years of "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wa...
  • Daniel
    Having just read another Floyd bio (Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd) this made for an interesting contrast. SoS is older (early nineties, so nothing about the Live 8 reunion or deaths of Syd and Rick obviously) and is more of a fan's eye view of the band and as such, has all sorts of interesting little bits of fan trivia and occasional knowing asides. It's also very pro-Gilmour, whereas Blake's book is a bit more even-handed as w...
  • David Ward
    Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey by Nicholas Schaffner (Delta Books 1991)(780.92) appears to be the definitive volume on the great British band "Pink Floyd." The book explores in great detail the rise of the band and the tragedy that was the fall of one of the founders, Roger "Syd" Barrett from apparent LSD-induced psychosis. The book contains the best description of the London psychadelic scene of the 1960's. Over twenty years after ...
  • Lee
    Volumes have been written about the band Pink Floyd, but usually very little is said about their early years with Syd. Some would argue that this book devotes too much time to these early years, focusing as it does on the band's developmental stages and early history. However, Schaffner's work leaves one with a sense that it was these formative years that truly shaped the band, and started them down the path to what they would become 30 years lat...
  • Brian
    Every step of Pink Floyd's journey is covered here up through the late 90's and since they've only played one show together since then, you would have to say this story pretty much covers it. When you are in love with a band or writer or filmmaker and you find a book that tells you as much about them, things you didn't know like in a book like this, you can't help but enjoy it.Negative side note: Roger Waters refused to be interviewed for the boo...
  • Geoff
    This book is pretty comprehensive. I don't recall it being very expansive about the falling out between Waters and the rest of the band which is fine by this reader. Great description of the development of the band in the underground during the height of the scene in London. A clear depiction of the rise and fall of Syd Barrett and the makings of their great 70s albums. It's not very technical music-wise, but the story's there.
  • Kelly Dienes
    I really loved this biography. Schaffner is obviously a HUGE Syd fan, and I was happy to find that Syd is mentioned all throughout the book. You can tell that Schaffner has some issues with Roger, but I mean, who doesn't. Despite this, the book is mostly objective and very well-written. I look forward to reading his other biographies.
  • Sam
    I have to find my copy of this and re-read it. Now that NICK MASON's tell-all has come out, this first telling might seem kind of pedestrian. However, the late Nicholas Schaffner's bio was the most detailed of the time. I guess when a member of the band writes a tell-all, it kind of makes the previous book irrelevant, but this is still a fantastic book for fans.
  • Jeff
    When I originally bought this book I was hoping for some sort of explanation why Pink Floyd decided to sound the way they do. Instead I happened upon (as most of the reviewers had said when I was searching for the best book on the subject) a review of how Pink Floyd came to be, and a chronology of their albums and lives. Pretty in-depth coverage.