Syd Barrett: a true rock legend

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A little more backstory about Syd Barrett, from the Guardian UK.

Comment is free: Syd Barrett: a true rock legend
Syd Barrett: a true rock legend Joe Boyd, who discovered Pink Floyd in 66, shares memories of a man who was then at the vanguard of Britain's counterculture.

It's a grossly overused phrase, but Syd Barrett was a true rock legend, mostly because he hasn't performed live or recorded, or even been seen for more than 30 years. Barrett, whose death was confirmed today, was the first “acid casualty”, and few actually remember the man who led the most important group of Britain's counterculture in 1966 and 1967.

One man who does remember is Joe Boyd. He discovered Pink Floyd in the summer of 1966, and promoted them at the legendary UFO club on London's Tottenham Court Road, where Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd made their name. Boyd also produced Pink Floyd's first single Arnold Layne, and writes about his experiences with the group in the excellent book White Bicycles.

From Barrett's wiki:

Syd Barrett had one noted reunion with Pink Floyd, in 1975 during the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here. Barrett attended the Abbey Road session unannounced and watched the band record Shine On You Crazy Diamond — coincidentally, a song about him. At that time, Syd had gained a lot of weight and had shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and his ex-bandmates did not at first recognise him (one of the photographs in Nick Mason's book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd appears to have been taken that day; it is captioned simply: Syd Barrett, 5th June 1975). Eventually, they realised who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was reduced to tears. Members of the band also reported on their featured VH1 episode of Behind The Music that Barrett held a toothbrush and attempted to brush his teeth by holding the brush still and jumping up and down. A reference to this reunion appears in the film Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), where the character 'Pink,' played by Bob Geldof, shaves off his eyebrows after succumbing to the pressures of life and fame.

In an interview for VH1, Rick Wright spoke about the session, saying: “One thing that really stands out in my mind, that I'll never forget; I was going in to the the Shine On sessions. I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me. And I didn't recognise him. I said, 'Who's that guy behind you?' 'That's Syd.' And I just cracked up, I couldn't believe it... he had shaven all his hair off... I mean, his eyebrows, everything... he was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful. And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking... seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we're actually doing that particular track. I don't know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful.” In another interview, Nick Mason has said: “When I think about it, I can still see his eyes, but... it was everything else that was different.” In yet another interview, Roger Waters has said: “I had no idea who he was for a very long time.”

Wish You Were Here
“Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd)

Syd Barret 2002

And, theoretically, Johnny Depp has optioned (or is looking to option) a film script to make a biography. So get typing!

I can't help me'self - some Syd Barrett and/or Pink Floyd video from YouTube or Google Video below.

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Pink Floyd - VH1 Legends - Part 1

Pink Floyd - VH1 Legends - Part 2

This is the first half of part three of VH1 Legends on Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd

This is the second half of part three of VH1 Legends on Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd performing Interstellar Overdrive, taken from the documentary “Tonite Let's All Make Love in London”

Pink Floyd Arnold Layne Promo 45 Release 1967 Video

Syd and the gang playing “Interstellar Overdrive” for like almost 20 mins~ dude

1 Comment

Ah, Astronomy Domine, my favorite Barrett tune (though my fave version features Gilmour subbing for Syd on Ummagumma and doing some innovative sonic freakout stuff on his guitar).

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