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Syd Barrett Dies Aged 60 (Read 777 times)
solodka
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Syd Barrett Dies Aged 60
Jul 11th, 2006 at 11:16pm
 
Pink Floyd's Barrett dies aged 60

Barrett went on to release two solo albums after leaving Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett, one of the original members of legendary rock group Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 60 from complications arising from diabetes.

The guitarist was the band's first creative force and an influential songwriter, writing their early hits.

He joined Pink Floyd in 1965 but left three years later after one album. He went on to live as a recluse, with his mental deterioration blamed on drugs.

"He died very peacefully a couple of days ago," the band's spokeswoman said.

"There will be a private family funeral."

He was the first guy I'd heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent - his impact on my thinking was enormous
David Bowie
A statement from Pink Floyd said: "The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death.

"Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."

David Bowie described Barrett as a "major inspiration", saying: "I can't tell you how sad I feel.

"The few times I saw him perform in London at UFO and the Marquee clubs during the '60s will forever be etched in my mind.

"He was so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter. Also, along with Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I'd heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent.

"His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that I never got to know him. A diamond indeed."

Born Roger Barrett in Cambridge, he met future bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour at school.

He originally busked folk songs around Europe with Gilmour before enrolling at the Camberwell School of Art in London.

Upon joining the Pink Floyd Sound - as they were originally known - he composed See Emily Play and Arnold Layne, both from 1967, as well as most of their album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

But his drug intake soon began to affect his role in the band.

He would often be seen standing on stage with his guitar dangling from his neck, staring into the crowd.

'Mental breakdown'

At one stage, he was unhappy about appearing on Top of the Pops and walked out of a session recording in July 1967 after "freaking out".

"That really was the first sign of his complete mental breakdown," producer Richard Buskin wrote later. "He never did come back into the studio any more after that."

With Barrett's behaviour becoming increasingly erratic, Dave Gilmour was brought in to the band in February 1968.

Barrett's departure was announced that April and he soon started work on the first of his two solo albums.

Reclusive life

The band's biggest-selling releases, Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall, emerged in the post-Barrett era, with the band selling an estimated 200 million albums worldwide.

Just as Pink Floyd were about to achieve worldwide success, Barrett retreated from public life to return to Cambridge.

Little was known about his whereabouts for 20 years until it became known he was living with his mother.

Band members said his breakdown may have happened even if he had not used drugs - but the pressure of fame along with the substances probably acted as a catalyst.
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Re: Syd Barrett Dies Aged 60
Reply #1 - Jul 13th, 2006 at 2:50am
 
Floyd's first leader, Syd Barrett, dies
By Ken Barnes

A sad return for me -- just turned on the computer after 11 days out of pocket and saw that Syd Barrett had died at 60.  The announcement was just released, but it appears Barrett, who suffered from diabetes, died an unspecified few days ago.

Syd Barrett will always be one of rock's great might-have-been mysteries. When Pink Floyd made their startling debut in 1967 straight out of Cambridge, England, with first single Arnold Layne and debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the band sounded like nothing else on earth. And Barrett, make no mistake about it, was Pink Floyd. The other members -- bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason, keyboardist Rick Wright -- supplied instrumental coloration, but they were fulfilling the singular vision of Barrett.

In songs such as See Emily Play (a top 10 UK hit), Gnome, Lucifer Sam and Scarecrow, he devised a peculiar mix of classic British whimsy and avant-garde psychedelic pop, a style that set the tone for a key stream of British music for the next five years and onward.

The remarkable Astronomy Domine set Floyd's outer-space-rock agenda, but Barrett's explorations of inner space caused a frighteningly quick crash, as follows.

A legendary consumer of LSD and other drugs, Barrett rapidly fell into a state of virtual catatonia,  standing motionless onstage, contributing only occasional vocals and random guitar slashings. The rest of the band first hired Cambridge chum David Gilmour to augment Barrett's role, then simply decided to carry on without their putative leader. Barrett shows up ephemerally on Floyd's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (the fascinatingly disjointed Jugband Blues is his, and a couple of outtakes exist), but that was the end of his Floydian legacy.

Somehow, with the assistance of erstwhile bandmates Gilmour and Wright, he managed to complete two cult-adored solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett, released in 1970, both by turns fascinating and frightening in their raw glimpses of a fragmenting mind still illuminated by flashes of musical genius. But that last burst of creativity, apart from scattered outtakes and an abortive 1972 band called Stars that played a few gigs, was it. He retired to his family's Cambridge home and spent his last three decades in virtual anonymity.

Pink Floyd struggled at first without him, but found their way with 1973's alltime prog-rock chart champ, Dark Side of the Moon. They memorialized Barrett on the follow-up, 1975's Wish You Were Here, with the fitting tribute Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and the rest of the Pink Floyd story is too well-known (and too complicated) to go into here.

But it's endlessly fascinating to speculate what would have happened to the band had Barrett not psychedelically imploded. It's doubtful that Waters and Gilmour would have come to the fore as songwriters, so we would not have had Dark Side or The Wall or all the other Floyd landmarks in rock's geography.

But you know what? I'd trade 'em all for another few albums led by a relatively healthy Barrett. During his brief peak, he was as brilliant an innovator and songwriter (and as fascinatingly quirky a guitarist) as anyone during that most creative era. Obviously, we'll never know what he could have done. But spare a kind thought for one of the great, tragically underdeveloped talents of rock's golden era.

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Re: Syd Barrett Dies Aged 60
Reply #2 - Jul 13th, 2006 at 9:35am
 
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond..."
Rest In Peace Syd.
"Boris"
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