Syd Barrett

Greatly Appreciated


Syd Barrett  (6 January 1946 – 7 July 2006) was an English musician, composer, singer, songwriter and painter.  Best known as a founder member of the band Pink Floyd, Barrett was the lead vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter in its early years and is credited with naming the band.  Barrett left Pink Floyd in April 1968 and was briefly hospitalized amid speculation of mental illness exacerbated by drug use.  Barrett began his solo career in 1969 with the single “Octopus” from his first solo album, The Madcap Laughs (1970).  Nearly two months after Madcap was released, Barrett began working on his second and final album, Barrett (1970), produced by David Gilmour and featuring contributions from Richard Wright.  He went into self-imposed seclusion until his death in 2006.  (More from Wikipedia)
Basically, all I remember about the 1980’s band Steel Breeze is their name; the name is taken from a lyric in a Pink Floyd song, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.  (The song and the album from which it is taken, Wish You Were Here are dedicated to their troubled original bandleader Syd Barrett).   
(July 2012)
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The charming liner notes are entitled “The Skywalkers ABC”, and it still took me a while to realize that they were in alphabetical order.  It wasn’t just a list of “thank you’s” either; they included some commentary with their influences.  They include a lot of familiar bands and artists (at least to me) – Brian Wilson (“for his amazing ballads”), the Electric Prunes (“they got us to the world on time”), Syd Barrett (“for leading us into the sixties”), the Zombies (“the greatest ever”), Q65 (“and other Dutch freakbeat groups”) – but others that I don’t know at all, like Ola & the Janglers and Jan Breimer.  Their “X” item was “Careful with that X, Eugene!”, a take-off on an early Pink Floyd hit, “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”.  But the list started with Aliens (“what’s taking them so long”) and also includes the Monkey (“[Jacco Gardner]’s favorite dance move”), the Twist (“[Hugo van de Poel]’s favorite dance move”), their photographer Luuk Muller (“for making us look good”), their organ brand Philicorda (“the greatest instrument around”), the Universe (“the greatest place around”), and “You, for buying this record”. 
Since Year One came out, Jacco Gardner has been busy.  He has released several more singles and has a lot of YouTube videos in a somewhat different direction than his work with the Skywalkers.  The online Quip magazine has this description:  “His echo-washed sound recalls the psychedelic and lushly orchestral vibe of the Beatles’ Revolver or Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd, interspersed with the peppy, sardonic jabs of more modern fare like the Shins.” 
(January 2013)
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Meic Stevens is a national hero in Wales who began writing and recording songs in 1967 in the Welsh language in an attempt to create a body of pop music for the nation.  He is often referred to as “the Welsh Dylan” and is also compared with Syd Barrett, the original frontman for Pink Floyd and the mastermind behind their debut album and one of the great albums of British rock, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  


(April 2013)


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I have had the idea for a “might-have-been” post about rock and roll for most of the year; this is a mistake that I will not make again, I assure you!  I had no conception that the post would be this gargantuan when I started out, and this is likely due in no small part to having thought it through for several months.  There are several other examples that I had intended to include – the troubled life of the original frontman for Pink FloydSyd Barrett, and the San Francisco psychedelic band It’s a Beautiful Day that had a gorgeous hit in 1969, “White Bird” – plus others that have no doubt slipped my mind.  In the future, when I have a lot to say about a particular rocker, I will take them one at a time – as I did with the long discussion on Link Wray’s classic instrumental “Rumble in the UARB post on Link Protrudi & the Jaymen.  


(June 2013/2)


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Allmusic states the musical and historical importance of Ptooff! well in their entry by Dave Thompson:  “Talk today about Britain’s psychedelic psyxties, and it’s the light whimsy of Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd, the gentle introspection of the Village Green Kinks, Sgt. Pepperand ‘My White Bicycle [by Tomorrow] which hog the headlines.  People have forgotten there was an underbelly as well, a seething mass of discontent and rancor which would eventually produce the likes of Hawkwind, the Pink Fairies, and the Edgar Broughton Band. . . .


“But the deranged psilocybic rewrite of ‘Gloria’ which opens the album, ‘I’m Coming Home’, still sets a frightening scene, a world in which Top 40 pop itself is horribly skewed, and the sound of the Deviants grinding out their misshapen R&B classics is the last sound you will hear.  Move on to ‘Garbage’, and though the Deviants’ debt to both period [Frank] Zappa and [the] Fugs is unmistakable, still there’s a purity to the paranoia.


Ptooff! was conceived at a time when there genuinely was a generation gap, and hippies were a legitimate target for any right-wing bully boy with a policeman’s hat and a truncheon.  IT and Oz, the two underground magazines which did most to support the Deviants ([Mick] Farren wrote for both), were both publicly busted during the band’s lifespan, and that fear permeates this disc; fear, and vicious defiance.”


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In 1969Mick Farren “liberated” the earliest large-scale rock concert in the U.K., the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival by encouraging the fences to be torn down.  This concert – which took place the month after Woodstock (and with many of the same acts) – featured the Whothe BandFreeJoe Cocker, and the Moody Blues.  But the real excitement was caused by the inclusion on the bill of Bob Dylan, who had been little seen since his near-fatal motorcycle accident in July 1966.  When Dylan took the stage, audience members included three of the Beatles, three of the Beatle wives, three of the Rolling StonesEric Clapton, Liz TaylorRichard BurtonJane FondaRoger VadimSyd Barrett, and Elton John  


One of the main reasons for the location of the original Woodstock was to lure Bob Dylan out of hiding – the idea was to throw a huge party practically on his doorstep that surely he couldn’t resist attending.  Woodstock is the name of the town where Dylan lived (and also members of the Band); the festival itself was in Bethel.  But resist he did; Bob Dylan instead signed up to appear at the Isle of Wight Festival and set sail for England on August 15, 1969, the day that Woodstock opened.

(March 2014/1)
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Arnold Layne” b/w “Candy and a Currant Bun” is the first single by Pink Floyd (from 1967), with both sides being written by Syd Barrett.  The SS-20 version of Arnold Layne was recorded especially for a Syd Barrett tribute album, Beyond the Wildwood (1987), and it also appears on the second album by SS-20Son of Fantasy (1987), where the lead vocalist’s name is shown as Madeleine Ridgey.
(December 2017)
Last edited: April 7, 2021