Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett:1940 - 2006



The madcap, the stranger, the legend, the martyr, dead at 60. (Wikipedia shows he died on "July 7". Fourteen year-olds must be IMing right now: "dude, he is still alive!")

Everyone has their favorite Floyd phase. Some even like their late '80s and '90s output. [said with a very straight face.] No doubt DSOM is the band's creative peak, but the Pink Floyd I fell in love with was their very first avatar, fronted by Syd Barrett. This was the band that wrote the book on melancholic music. While the Beatles' "Lucy" was having happy, colorful adventures, Barrett's "Emily" was quite a different girl: playing all alone in the woods by a river after dark. She cries, she borrows dreams; did Floyd ever write such personal songs again?

If the early years of rock and roll defined the popular archetypes - the suffering poet, the joker, the wild man - Syd Barrett will be remembered as the Seer, the one blessed - or cursed - with the ability to see alternate realities.

The Observer ran a story about a meeting with the reclusive musician back in 2002. The end of the story is just so sad.

(How's this for a hair-raising fact: right around the time when Pink Floyd were in the EMI studios to record "Piper At The Gates of Dawn", "Sgt. Pepper" was being recorded next door. And did you know that the cover photo for "Piper" - later to become a standard-issue, cliched "acid rock" visual - was shot by a photographer called "Vic Singh"?)

(Syd Barrett's image courtesy of Musicmoz.org)

8 comments:

wildflower seed said...

Thanks for the link to the Observer story.

"Some even like their late '80s and '90s output."

Hey, I'd pick "The Final Cut" over some of those earlier efforts any day of the week. :)

km said...

VB, at least you didn't say "Division Bell" :))

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Thanks for the link.

Deaths Head Roy said...

Loved the songs in the first phase of Pink Floyd!!

Love Bike best of all!!
"I know a room full of musical tunes
Some rhyme
Some ching
Most of them are clockwork
Let's go into the other room and make them work"....somehow haunts me still now.....
RIP Syd....

km said...

Roy: that's a beautiful song, yeah. And I wonder if Queen got their inspiration for "Bicycle Race" from Floyd?

Deaths Head Roy said...

Surely think so.........

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