Syd Barrett: In Memory of a Mad Genius
Roger Waters once called something Syd did “a real act of mad genius” and the label of “mad” continues to follow him around nearly eight years after his death in 2006.
Lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter during Pink Floyd’s early years, Syd was born 68 years ago today January 6th, in 1946 in Cambridge, England.
That act of mad genius is told of in the 2006 book, “The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd”.
“According to Roger Waters, Barrett came into what was to be their last practice session with a new song he had dubbed “Have You Got It Yet?”.
The song seemed simple enough when he first presented it to his bandmates, but it soon became impossibly difficult to learn and they eventually realized that while they were practicing it, Barrett kept changing the arrangement. He would then play it again, with the arbitrary changes, and sing “Have you got it yet?”. Eventually they realized they never would and that they were simply bearing the brunt of Barrett’s idiosyncratic sense of humor.”
One of my all time favorite Pink Floyd songs is “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”.
It’s a beautiful, haunting piece, all the more so, of course, because it’s about the brilliance and madness of one of Pink Floyd’s founding members and how drug use took him to a distant land, far, far away, even while he was still (somewhat) here on earth.
It was a bad idea to retain an unpredictable member of the band, who might occasionally play one note over and over again on stage, so Syd was asked to leave Pink Floyd in 1968.
According to sydbarrett.com, in 2010, EMI Records released An Introduction To Syd Barrett, a new collection that brought together for the first time tracks from Syd’s Pink Floyd work, as well as his solo work, on one album, including some brand-new remixes. David Gilmour was executive producer of the album.
Are you a fan of the Syd Barrett-era of Pink Floyd?