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Floyd founder Syd Barrett dead at 60

Guest JMT

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Guest JMT

im a much bigger fan of the post-Barrett era, but for what its worth...


Rock Legend Syd Barrett Dies At 60

July 11, 2006, 10:20 AM ET


Pink Floyd co-founder Roger "Syd" Barrett has died at the age of 60, reportedly due to complications from diabetes. The artist, who left Pink Floyd in the late 1960s after his mental health began to decline, spent the better part of the past 30 years living in seclusion with his mother in Cambridge, where he was born on Jan. 6, 1946.

Pink Floyd began life as most unassuming U.K. bands of the mid-'60s did: as a run-of-the-mill blue rock combo. Led by the enigmatic Barrett and staffed by bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Rick Wright and drummer Nick Mason, Pink Floyd quickly began to push the boundaries of conventional rock, attracting underground acclaim for their trippy live shows.

Barrett proved himself a true genius, blending elements of pop and psychedelia on early singles such as "See Emily Play" with mysterious, almost light-hearted lyrics. Pink Floyd's 1967 debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" still stands as one of the best psychedelic rock albums ever, driven by Barrett's oddball narratives and the band's skill with both long jams and perfect pop nuggets.

But as Barrett's intake of LSD increased, his behavior became increasingly peculiar (especially in a live setting, where he'd often lapse into a zombie-like state), so much so that the rest of Pink Floyd were no longer able to work with him.

Enter David Gilmour, who allowed Pink Floyd to continue playing live while Barrett worked out his problems. The rest of the group hoped Barrett would at least still be able to write songs, but this too proved to be impossible, and eventually he was booted from Pink Floyd entirely.

Gilmour and members of Soft Machine helped the fragile singer through two solo albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett." But by 1973, he was beset by a myriad of mental problems and retreated to Cambridge, rarely to be seen in public again.


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Guest Seb

I watched a show on VH1 on this guy once, crazy story. I guess they wrote that song "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" after him. RIP Syd

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Guest Philip

I watched a show on VH1 on this guy once, crazy story. I guess they wrote that song "Shine on you Crazy Diamond" after him. RIP Syd

I think I saw that one as well. It even had some closeup footage from the present day of him walking to a car or something. They wouldn't let the cameras get close though.

JMT I agree with you in that I like the post-Barret era more. I think 'Dark Side...' was ridiculously genious, especially for the type of tech they had to work with such as looping tapes, etc. But I like the smooth, reverbed-out guitars from "The Division Bell" even more. The lyrics are timeless as well.

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Guest JMT


i ordered it from amazon over a month ago but the release was pushed back. it should be arriving soon.

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Guest mp3some

^Pulse is the dopest live concert evah!!!! ;D

Been rocking it lately.... a lot!

Anyways, RIP Syd Barrett.



Many artists have acknowledged Barrett's influence on their work. Paul McCartney and Pete Townshend were early fans; Jimmy Page, David Bowie, Brian Eno, and The Damned all expressed interest in working with him at some point during the 1970s. In fact, Bowie recorded a cover of "See Emily Play" on his 1973 album Pin Ups. On a VH1 program, honoring rock bands and artists, Pete Townshend gave a speech honoring Syd Barrett, and telling a story where he told Eric Clapton that he had to come see this guy play, who was Barrett. Townshend called Barrett legendary. Barrett as a guitarist was remarkable for his free-form style in playing chords (and also for the use of echo, tapes and other effects): his rhythm guitar, as well as his often minimalist and dissonant solos, are seen even today as a major influence on punk, post-punk, and similar scenes.

Barrett's decline had a profound effect on Roger Waters' song-writing, and the theme of mental illness would permeate Pink Floyd's later albums, particularly 1973's Dark Side of the Moon and 1979's The Wall. One track from Dark Side of the Moon, entitled "Brain Damage", contained a specific reference to Barrett's mental illness. A later line in the song references "the band you're in starts playing different tunes," which is a situation Barrett often got into when suffering from the symptoms of his mental illness. Wish You Were Here (1975) was a conscious tribute to Barrett. Other artists that have written tributes to Barrett include his contemporary Kevin Ayers (of the Soft Machine), who wrote the song "Oh Wot a Dream" as a tribute (Barrett provided guitar to an early version of Ayers' "Singing a Song in the Morning"). Barrett fan Robyn Hitchcock is repeatedly compared to Barrett, has covered many of his songs live and on record, and has paid homage to his forebearer with the songs "The Man Who Invented Himself" and "(Feels Like) 1974." The Television Personalities track "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives" from their 1978 album And don't the kids love it is another well-known tribute, apparently based on fact.

R.E.M. has covered the haunting "Dark Globe", as have Soundgarden, Placebo and Lost and Profound. The Smashing Pumpkins have covered "Terrapin." Gary Lucas and Voivod have covered "Astronomy Domine". The Industrial collective Rx composed of Kevin Ogilvie (Nivek Ogre) and Martin Atkins has recorded a version of "The Scarecrow." At the Drive-In's frontmen (now the main members of The Mars Volta) covered "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" and have claimed that they tried constantly to emulate The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's sound in their music. Slowdive covered "Golden Hair," which was a Syd Barrett version of the poem by James Joyce, on their EP "Holding Our Breath." Phish has performed several Barrett solo songs in concert, including "Love You," "Terrapin", "Baby Lemonade," "It's No Good Trying," and the Piper at the Gates of Dawn track "Bike."

Other artists/bands that have claimed influence and/or covered Barrett's work include Étienne Daho, This Mortal Coil, Marc Bolan, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Robert Smith (of The Cure), Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths), Kevin Shields (of My Bloody Valentine), Primal Scream, Voivod, The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, The Beta Band, Lone Pigeon, Julian Cope, Robyn Hitchcock, The Flaming Lips, R.E.M., Mercury Rev, Replicants (featuring former members of Tool and Failure), East Bay Ray (of the Dead Kennedys), Camper Van Beethoven, Voivod, The Three O'Clock, Pearl Jam, Love and Rockets, Elevator To Hell, The Melvins, Transatlantic, Phish, Dream Theater, Graham Coxon (formerly of Blur), John Frusciante (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Eppo, Skobot Bzzzz, and the Vinyl Skyway; most bands in the Elephant 6 collective, such as Of Montreal, have a very distinct Barrett influence in their music.

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