Syd Barrett's Story

The life of Syd Barrett

Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett was a rock artist and guitarist, and one of the founders of the highly successful psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd. He was the one that provided the musical direction for the band until his departure in 1968. During his membership with Pink Floyd he co-created two albums. He was the one that wrote Pink Floyds debut single “Arnold Layne”, which gained the boys of Pink Floyd a contract with EMI. When the contract with EMI had been signed he also played a major role in creating and writing lyrics for their first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The success of the album, which ranked 6th on the British album charts, started off his psychiatric illness: he started using LSD.

The start of his drug addiction

When during the band’s tours his condition became worse and worse, David Gilmour was asked to join the band, later turning out to be the one that would replace Syd. During on stage performances of Pink Floyd David Gilmour would play the music originally intended to be played by Syd and Syd himself would just wander around on stage. This condition could of course not be maintained, and after a while the band continued their tours without him. From the second album the band made, A Saucerful of Secrets, only one track was written by Syd Barrett, namely Jugband Blues. Shortly after the production of the second album Syd Barrett was officially put out of the band.

His career after Pink Floyd

After he had left the band he created two albums on his own, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. Besides his short solo career he also joined the band "the Stars" in his post-Pink-Floyd-period, but without much success. His departure of the Stars meant the end of his musical career. Syd Barrett's departure had a huge influence of the remaining members of Pink Floyd. The clearest sign of them missing Syd Barrett is the album Wish You Were Here, a tribute to Syd Barrett. A mysterious anecdote is that Syd Barrett has shown up during the recordings of the track Shine On You Crazy Diamond. He "Well wore out his welcome with random precision", as is said in the lyrics of that particular song.

Post-music life

In the days after his career as a musician he rented a hotel room in London for a while, but when he ran out of money he went back to Cambridge to live in his mother’s house. It is said that after his musical period he has spend his live as a painter and gardener. Although he has not been a member of the Pink Floyd band for a very long time, he did receive a percentage of the band earnings during his whole life, thus being able to pay for his eccentric lifestyle. Syd Barrett died on the 7th of July 2006 of pancreatic cancer.

What makes Syd Barrett a Tragic Hero?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License