A Begginers Guide to Syd Barett and Pink Floyd
- Before I get into the factual history of Pink Floyd, I'd like to state that there is more to Syd Barett than just the words I wrote. There would be no Pink Floyd as they are known today if there was no Syd Barett. He put them on the map, and they might not have had a record deal without him.
Syd Barrett, born Roger Keith Barrett on January 6, 1946, in Cambridge, England, was an English singer, songwriter, and musician. He was the founding member of the band Pink Floyd and played a significant role in the band's early success. Syd Barrett's musical genius and unique style influenced several musicians and bands during his short-lived career. Unfortunately, Barrett's mental health issues and drug abuse led to his untimely departure from Pink Floyd and a tragic end to his life.
- Syd Barrett's Early Life and Musical Career
- Syd Barrett grew up in Cambridge, England, and attended the Cambridge High School for Boys. He showed a keen interest in music from a young age and learned to play the guitar and piano. He was also a talented artist and had a passion for painting and drawing.
- In the early 1960s, Syd Barrett formed a band called The Tea Set with his friends. They played covers of popular songs by Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and The Beatles. The band changed its name to Pink Floyd in 1965, and Syd Barrett became the band's lead guitarist and primary songwriter.
- Pink Floyd's Early Success
- Pink Floyd quickly gained a following in the London music scene with their psychedelic sound and unique live performances. Syd Barrett's songwriting and stage presence were a significant factor in the band's early success. His songs, such as "See Emily Play," "Arnold Layne," and "Bike," showcased his whimsical and playful style, which resonated with the youth of the time.
- In 1967, Pink Floyd released their debut album, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," which was primarily written by Syd Barrett. The album was a commercial success and received critical acclaim. It featured songs such as "Lucifer Sam," "Interstellar Overdrive," and "Astronomy Domine," which showcased Syd Barrett's unique songwriting and guitar-playing abilities.
- Syd Barrett's Mental Health Issues and Departure from Pink Floyd
- Unfortunately, Syd Barrett's mental health began to deteriorate around the same time as Pink Floyd's success. He had started experimenting with LSD and other psychedelic drugs, which exacerbated his underlying mental health issues. He began to exhibit strange behavior and became increasingly difficult to work with.
- Syd Barrett's mental health issues and drug use eventually became too much for Pink Floyd to handle. In 1968, the band decided to replace Syd Barrett with David Gilmour, who had been a close friend of Syd's and played guitar on a few of the band's songs.
Syd Barrett's Solo Career
- After leaving Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett attempted to launch a solo career. He released two solo albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett," both of which showcased his unique musical style and songwriting abilities. However, the albums were not commercial successes and received mixed reviews.
- Barrett's unique musical style and songwriting abilities influenced several musicians and bands during his short-lived career. His whimsical and playful style, combined with his experimental approach to music, paved the way for the psychedelic movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
- David Bowie, who was a big fan of Syd Barrett's music, has credited him as one of his primary influences. Bowie's early music, particularly his album "The Man Who Sold the World," was heavily influenced by Syd Barrett's songwriting and guitar-playing style.
- After Syd Barrett's departure, Pink Floyd continued to incorporate his musical ideas and themes into their music. The band's later albums, such as "Wish You Were Here" and "The Wall," referenced Syd Barrett and his contributions to the band's early success.
- Syd Barrett's music also influenced several alternative and indie bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Flaming Lips, and Radiohead have cited Syd Barrett as an influence on their music.
Syd Barrett's Legacy
- In 2008, a documentary film titled "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story" was released. The film chronicled the rise of Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett's role in the band's early success. The film also explored Barrett's mental health issues and his tragic departure from the band.
- In 2010, a biography of Syd Barrett titled "Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head" was published. The book, written by Rob Chapman, explored Barrett's life and musical career, including his time with Pink Floyd and his solo work.
- In 2016, Pink Floyd released a tribute to Syd Barrett titled "The Early Years 1965-1972." The box set included previously unreleased music and footage from Pink Floyd's early years, including several recordings featuring Syd Barrett.
- Syd Barrett's contributions to music and his influence on several musicians and bands cannot be overstated. His unique musical style and songwriting abilities paved the way for the psychedelic movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unfortunately, his mental health issues and drug abuse led to his untimely departure from Pink Floyd and a tragic end to his life.
- Despite his short-lived career, Syd Barrett's legacy as a musician and songwriter has endured, and he remains a significant influence on several generations of musicians. His music continues to inspire and delight fans around the world, and he will always be remembered as one of the pioneers of psychedelic music.
Syd Barrett's Tragic End
- Syd Barrett's mental health continued to deteriorate, and he became increasingly reclusive. He lived with his mother in Cambridge and rarely left the house. He continued to write and record music but never released anything after his second solo album.
- Syd Barrett passed away on July 7, 2006, at the age of 60, due to complications from diabetes. His legacy as a musician and songwriter has endured, and he is remembered as a pioneer of psychedelic music and a significant influence on several musicians and bands.