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Roger Keith Barrett (born January 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England), known as Syd, was one of the founding members of the 1960s psychedelic rock group Pink Floyd.
Syd Barrett (1969) (Larger image)
Barrett in concert (Larger image)
Barrett (More recent image) (Larger image)
He was originally the lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter but since he remained a member for only a short period, he is remembered primarily for his contributions to the band's first album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), and the hit singles "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Layne", plus two solo albums.
Although his activity in pop music was short, his influence on 60s artists (and those of successive generations) has been profound.
As Pink Floyd's popularity grew and his alleged consumption of psychotropic drugs (chiefly LSD) increased, Syd's appearance became unpredictable and his behavior a hinderance to the success of the band. After recording some parts for Pink Floyd's second album, A Saucerful of Secrets (1968), Barrett 'left' the group. That is to say, the other members just discontinued picking him up to go to concerts and jams. Syd increasingly withdrew from the world of music, releasing a couple of idiosyncratic solo albums The Madcap Laughs (1970) and Barrett (1970) en route. On these albums he worked together with former Pink Floyd band-mates Roger Waters and David Gilmour and members of The Soft Machine. Sessions for a third album were unfruitful.
The Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here (1975) was a thematic tribute to Syd; the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", which opens and closes the album, has been acknowledged by Floyd members to be explicitly about him. The Television Personalities track "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives"' is another well-known tribute. Although not actually about, or in tribute of him, Roger Waters used Syd's departure and condition for inspiration on Dark Side of the Moon, and The Wall (Which, despite rumour, is not a retelling of his story, but the main character - Pink - has similar characteristics and life to Syd).
In 1988 studio outakes were released on the album Opel.