Syd Barrett – RIP

Syd The world of music is still reeling at the sad
news of Syd Barrett’s departure. Last Friday, Barrett’s family revealed that a
60 year old Syd had lost a battle with a complication relating to his diabetes.
Even though Barrett has been out of the public eye for the best part of 30
years, the influence and innovation that belonged to him is still resonating
today.

Tributes have poured in from a host of stars, most notably David Bowie who said
"I
can’t tell you how sad I feel. The few times I saw him perform in London at UFO
and the Marquee clubs during the ’60s will forever be etched in my mind. He was
so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter. Also, along with
Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I’d heard to sing pop or rock with a
British accent. His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that
I never got to know him. A diamond indeed."

Most famed for his work with the (then) fledgling Pink
Floyd, Barrett became the British Psychedelic pin-up with the release of Piper
at the Gates of Dawn, and killer cuts like ‘See Emily Play’, ‘Arnold Layne’ and
‘Candy and a Currant Bun’. Syd recorded one more track with the Floyd on the
patchy (but great) ‘Saucerful of Secrets’ with the sneering and sharp ‘Corporal
Clegg’. It was through Syd’s odd-but-catchy songs that saw them regulars at the
seminal UFO club in London, which also cemented Barrett’s place at the top of
the Brit Psyche boom.

Then, Dave Gilmore happened, ultimately to replace the
mentally fragile Syd in the Pink Floyd line-up. Barrett then went on to record
to wonderful curio solo LPs in the shape of ‘Barrett’ and the must own ‘The
Madcap Laughs’. Various compilations released further work of Barrett’s,
notably ‘Opel’, and the unreleased ‘Bob Dylan Blues’ on a ‘Best of…’. With his
death, one should expect a re-evaluation of his work, and a release of the much
mooted box-set.

Even though his work was sporadic, and quite often shifting
in focus, his dream like consciousness flitting throughout his lyrical output, and
brilliant use of melody sees England lose yet another true trailblazer. To
honour him, go and listen to his albums and then pick your jaw up from the
floor.

Mof Gimmers

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