If you haven’t heard yet, Syd Barrett’s family is confirming today that he died Friday, apparently from either complications due to diabetes or cancer. He was 60.

To be quite honest, I was stunned when I saw the news. I mean, I had no idea he was still alive. And I’m speaking as someone who was fairly aware of the arc of his career as well as that of Pink Floyd’s.

It may be difficult to imagine, but even as a clean-cut pre-teen, I was really into Pink Floyd. Mind you, what I heard when I first experienced Pink Floyd was post-Syd-Barrett, and it wasn’t until much later that I heard the stuff Syd Barrett wrote and recorded with the band.

And maybe I’m dim, but I also didn’t know until today that the “Wish You Were Here” album was a tribute to Syd. (And at this point, you may be questioning just how aware of his arc I have been. I knew that David Gilmour showed a lot of loyalty to Barrett over the years, playing songs in his honor and all that. Somehow I’ve missed that those songs were actually written for Syd.) That title song in particular was extremely influential on me as a young poet and budding songwriter. It meant a lot to me without even understanding the full message of what was being conveyed. Now that I listen to it again, it’s nearly heartbreaking.

Syd Barrett was still alive?

3 thoughts on “Syd Barrett was still alive?

  • July 11, 2006 at 5:28 pm
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    Wasn’t he also supposed to be one of the big inspirations for “The Wall”? I like what he did with the band, but it would seem that so much of the great stuff they did post-Barrett was based on Barrett’s mental decline. One has to wonder if he served as a better inspiration than guitarist, though he was certainly a talented musician.

    r.l.camino

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  • July 12, 2006 at 2:08 am
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    I thought of writing about Syd today but couldn’t find the words. You wrote pretty much what I would have.

    I never knew that the whole album was for him but I did know that “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” was for him. In recent Roger Waters concerts, you’ll see a big screen tribute to Syd while they play that song.

    In related news, Wall Street Journal had a story about mushrooms today (07.11.06).

    Chez Bez

    Reply
  • July 18, 2006 at 8:18 am
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    the wall was alot about him, the scene where geldoff shaves everything is a recreation of something syd done once when he was high

    Reply

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