Home / Q: What Ever Happened To Syd Barrett, One Of The Founding Members Of Pink Floyd?

Q: What Ever Happened To Syd Barrett, One Of The Founding Members Of Pink Floyd?

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A: During the early 1960s, a London art student named Syd Barrett teamed up with four kids from the Regent Street School of Architecture to form an R & B group. Barrett named the band the Pink Floyd Sound after a blues record by Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, and the group was off and running.

Trading their blues sound in for a psychedelic one, the band became a huge hit around London. By 1968, however, Barrett’s excessive use of LSD and seemingly schizophrenic mood swings made his onstage and offstage behavior increasingly erratic and strange. The band brought in David Gilmour to cover the performances, and Barrett would be gone from the band within the year.

On the upside, Gilmour brought a heft of talent with him, and in 1973, Pink Floyd became an international success with the release of Dark Side of the Moon. Some years later, they achieved superstardom with The Wall album and movie. At the same time, Barrett was working on solo projects, but his psychological well-being continued to spiral downward. Still feeling the emotional impact of their loss, Pink Floyd dedicated a song from their 1975 album Wish You Were Here to Barrett: “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond.”

Barrett died a recluse at the age of 60 in July of 2006.

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  • Maybe I’m being a little overly sensitive, but I find it a bit offensive that there’s not even a mention of Syd’s death last summer here, since it was a pretty significant event in the rock world. This comes across a bit flippant in light of his loss.

  • Eric Olsen

    um yes, the bio was a bit outdated – I have updated it

  • Vern Halen

    Mr. Johnson – although I would agree with you about the importance or interest of the death of Syd Barrett, frankly, around here few people even know who he is. To them, Pink Floyd starts with Money, skips a few years, and ends at the hit single Another Brick In the Wall. And the band consists of three unnamed guys and a guy named Pink Floyd who sings and maybe plays guitar, or bass, or slot machine. So I guess it doesn’t surprise me that SB slips between the cracks in the chronicles of the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

  • zingzing

    what on earth are you talking about? vern, where is “here?” anyone with a passing interest in psychedelic music knows who barrett is/was. now, anyone with more than a passing interest in psychedelic music who likes pink floyd should be shot dead, but that’s just an opinion.

    there’s a time and a place for pink floyd. that’s called college. there’s a time and a place for led zepplin. that’s called middle school.

  • Vern Halen

    Dead serious – I don’t know a lot of Pink Floyd fans. “Boring & depressing” is typically part of the sentence when they’re mentioned at all. Maybe I just hang around with weirdos – now that I think of it, many probably had Johnny Rotten’s “I Hate” Pink Floyd T shirt when they were in middle school.

  • The Dude

    Frankly….none of you really kmow what you are talking about when it comes to Syd, and I can’t really be bothered to waste my time and explain, but at the end of the day Syd was gone on drugs but not that far gone to know that he actually had the last laugh, and none of you are well informed enough to give an opinion……There would be no Floyd story without him…..really think about it, and get more info before you are all experts! If you don’t know who Syd Barrett is…you better start doing some serious research beacause you are truly behind the eight ball END OF STORY!

    ps….Dave Gilmour rules for his talent and love of Syd Barrett!!

  • Vern Halen

    For the record, I didn’t slam Floyd or Syd – I simply was remarking on how amongst people I know, very few of them know anything at all about Pink Floyd other than Money and Brick in the Wall. Sometimes a band just doesn’t become very familiar with the general audience. There are people who work in music stores to this day who think Jethro Tull is the guy who plays the flute thingy.

  • I thought the album Dark Side of the Moon was about Syd?

  • STM

    No, I thought it was just the song Shine on You Crazy Diamond as well. Didn’t Barrett, who was no doubt an eccentric, just kind of drift away of his own accord, not coping at all with the band or what was going on?

    The story I’ve heard is that he just wanted to get away from it all. And did.

    However, the world has him to thank for the band.

  • Barrett’s influence was not only on “Shine on you Crazy Diamond”… if you listen to “Brain Damage” in Dark Side of The Moon or a character like the adult Pink on “The Wall”, you can see the Barrett’s presence there…

    Barrett changed the music world, there’s and after and before with Barrett

  • The Dude

    STM, Yeah that’s right! He had enough of the pressures and just gave it up. Maybe the drugs played a small part, but when you look around at alot of the musicians of the time, alot of them were doing drugs but still had careers and have careers to this day. Some passed away at an early age from the abuse. Syd was smart enough to get out when he did, never mind, he became a legend at an early age because he refused to play the game…and therefore he played the game it’s kind of catch 22. Good on him!

  • I disagree–Syd was mentally ill–probably Asperger’s syndrome mixed with massive doses of various drugs, which rendered him debilitated (vs. functioning brilliantly with his “disorder” as he once did).

    There’s a story on Wiki that I should paste here about how he tried to reconnect with the band, but he was a complete acid casualty by then and the scenario was tragic. A classic mad genius, I would say.

  • Hey Guys!, I understand that the history of Syd is pretty unclear and different people have different opinions about him. But I suggest everyone listens to his work esp. his solo albums if you havent already. I believe you would have a better opinion of him after you can see what he gave to the world. One thing to keep in mind when listening to Syd is that the voice coming from the speakers is that of Syd Barrett and not of a pop-star trying to show you how good his music is. Till now I have rarely come across such earnesty in writing and recording music. He is just practicing the art he knows and not playing to seek your applause.

  • Landon

    I’m 55 years old. I didn’t take LSD but I really liked Floyd From Barretts days to Gilmour. I have an older Pink Floyd where Gilmour was talikin about Barrett at home and he said Barrett would just sit in his chair and stare at the wall. Ummagumma. A Nice Pair, Made In Holland. Those are some of the albums that I remember from Syd’s days.

  • Albert Anglo

    In 1968/9 I lived a couple of doors away from Syd in West Cromwell Road. At night there was often a big methadrine scene on the rooves of the houses there, where people would wander around naked except for a white sheet. There were a number of heads(as they were known then) all living in the same house where I was, living with an American chick from LA. I knew that someone from Pink Flloyd lived two doors away with other heads, and that he used to join the roof scenes, but I did not know who he was exactly. People used to point him out to me as he was the one who used to stand right on the very edge of the roof area, looking down onto the street, freaking us all out at the time. I lived at 97 and the other head-house was 101, I think! I used to design psychedelic posters then(Alexis Korner bought one from me) and I gave them to the freaks in the roof scene, so perhaps Syd had one of mine!