Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett, 6 January, 1946 – 7 July, 2006

Syd Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd (who also gave the band its name), has passed away. Barrett's history and the early days of Floyd have been well documented elsewhere, so I'm not going into them here; just follow the links below if you're still a neophyte and want to find out why this is so much of importance.

It's hard to describe my feelings at the moment because along the years Syd's influence has been enormous on me (probably you can hear some Syd traces here and there in Kompleksi's stuff), and also on numbers of musicians: David Bowie (who covered Syd/Floyd's 'See Emily Play' for his Pin-Ups) and Julian Cope only a few among them.

After Syd had left Pink Floyd in early 1968 troubled by his ever-increasing mental problems (thought to be caused by his gargantuan intake of LSD, though many historians consider the truth must be far more complicated here), Floyd became by the mid-70s the dinosaur band admired by the masses of "classic rock" fans and loathed by punks.

However, Pink Floyd never totally managed to escape from under Syd's giant shadow, and he still remained a cult favourite loved by everyone. Even Sex Pistols initially wanted Syd Barrett to produce their debut album, even though (or just because) Syd had badly lost marbles by this era and had totally left music after 1974, living as a recluse in his native Cambridge until the end of his days.

Pink Floyd's debut Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) is still my all-time favourite album, and I must have given countless plays to my personally custom-made MiniDisc featuring the album plus Floyd's first singles with Syd, unreleased bootleg rarities like 'Vegetable Man', 'Scream Thy Last Scream' (a crying shame that EMI still keeps these gems locked in their vaults), and 'Jugband Blues', Syd's swansong with Floyd, from the band's second album (1968). These songs -- full of trippy strangeness, playful whimsy and mystique but also deep humanity -- always take me to some other dimension beyond time and space, remaining a source of endless inspiration.

Thank you, Syd: you will never be forgotten.

"Won't you miss me?
Wouldn't you miss me at all?"

See also:

Syd Barrett's Sister Talks


Syd Barrett @ pHinnWeb

Syd Barrett videos @ YouTube

Syd Barrett @ Wikipedia

Syd Remembered:

  • ABC Australia
  • Associated Press
  • BBC News
  • David Bowie
  • Brain Damage
  • Cambridge Evening News
  • CNN
  • Julian Cope
  • E! Online
  • Guardian
  • LA Times
  • Momus
  • Neptune Pink Floyd
  • New York Times
  • NME
  • Pitchfork
  • Rolling Stone
  • Slate
  • Spin
  • Times Online
  • Uncut
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post
  • WFMU
  • Wikinews
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Couple tributes more:

    The Word magazine & Robyn Hitchcock
    podcast on Syd (also on MP3).

    Mick Rock and his famous photos.