Pink Floyd Founder Syd Barrett Dies

Friday, July 07, 2006 | 03:58 PM
in Music

Timeline_darksidePink Floyd has lost its "crazy diamond."

Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett the brilliant, erratic catalyst for Floyd's early success, "died peacefully at home" last Friday at 60, according to his brother. The musician had been in ill health for years, battling type 2 diabetes, as well as stomach ulcers.

Timeline_wish A singer and guitarist, and originally the band's principal songwriter, Barrett masterminded Pink Floyd's breakthrough album, Pipers at the Gates of Dawn, before being sidelined in the late 1960s by LSD-induced behavioral problems.

In a statement, the surviving members of the seminal band, said they "are naturally very upset and sad" at the news of Barrett's passing. "Syd was the guiding light of the early band lineup and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."

Barrett teamed with bassist  Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright to launch Floyd in 1965, deriving the name from two bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Barrett fronted the band during its initial rise to fame, culminating with the 1967 classic The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which mixed jazz, rock and R&B with psychedelia--a template for the prog-rock sound the band refined in its 1970s heyday--and propelled Floyd to stardom.

Timeline_animalsBut Barrett couldn't enjoy the band's triumphs. He began to suffer from increasingly severe mental problems brought on by his heavy use of LSD and mood-altering drugs, frequently faltering during concerts.

In January 1968, his Floyd mates invited friend and fellow guitarist-vocalist David Gilmour to take over playing Barrett's parts during live shows, but with the understanding that Barrett would continue writing and recording songs.

Ultimately though, as Barrett grew increasingly unpredictable and his musical output dwindled, he was booted from the band. Only one track he wrote, "Jugband Blues," made it onto Floyd's second album, 1968's A Saucerful of Secrets.

Timeline_thewallWith Waters assuming band leadership, Floyd cemented its legendary status with a string of masterpieces, including 1973's Dark Side of the Moon, the 1975 tribute to Barrett, Wish You Were Here, which featured the epic track "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," and 1979's The Wall.

The post-Barrett Pink Floyd sold over 200 million albums and became one of the most mesmerizing live acts in music history. The band, Barrett included, was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.


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Sources:
Pink Floyd Founder Dies
Josh Grossberg
Jul 11, 2006, 10:00 AM PT
http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0,1,19468,00.html

Syd Barrett: a true rock legend
Joe Boyd
Guardian, July 11, 2006 07:30 PM
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/jon_dennis/2006/07/syd.html

Pink Floyd Timeline
http://www.pinkfloydonline.com/timeline.html

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