His creative genius was derailed by a drug-fueled psychological collapse, forcing his removal from the group he helped form. Though Barrett helmed Pink Floyd for barely two years out of their three-decade career, his specter haunted the band for the remainder of their existence and his presence is felt in some of their finest work. Once he retreated into his private world, he left it to fans to solve the riddle that is Syd Barrett. By the end of his life, he had reverted to his birth name, Roger, and settled into his role as an amateur painter and local eccentric in his native Cambridge, England. Syd Barrett, the rock icon, died long before pancreatic cancer claimed his physical body on July 7th,
The band's initial success gave way to uneasiness over Barrett's behavior
Who Was Syd Barrett?
Guitarist Syd Barrett took to music at an early age. While in London for college, he joined the band that would become Pink Floyd as the guitarist and wrote many of their early songs. He soon became erratic and was forced to leave the band.
Barrett found inspiration through LSD usage
By the spring of , Pink Floyd was at the forefront of the psychedelic rock movement that was pushing its way into mainstream popular culture. Fronted by lead guitarist and songwriter Syd Barrett , and including bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and organist Richard Wright, the band cracked the Top 20 in the United Kingdom with their catchy debut single, "Arnold Layne. As described in Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett and the Dawn of Pink Floyd , the band was fueled by the creativity of its frontman, known for his cryptic lyrics that mixed mysticism and wordplay, and an experimental guitar style that made use of echo machines and other distortions. Sadly, the same forces that drove Barrett to artistic breakthroughs also led him down the path of self-destruction , leaving him exiled from the group shortly after they arrived on the charts and rendering him a cautionary tale as Pink Floyd became one of the biggest bands in the world.
See our special update on Syd Barrett - His life, his mental illness, and his recent passing away July 7, More information on street drugs and schizophrenia , other causal factors. Note - in the story below, we've linked to sections where the author has described some of what are now known to be common symptoms of schizophrenia. Follow the links to learn more. Trouser Press February p. Nor is it the total absence of color. A black hole in space, in fact, is a concentrated area so densely packed that nothing, not even light, can penetrate it. Blackness is actually all colors at once, so many colors merging at such intensity that the riot of their profusion produces, to the superficially perceptive eye, only nothingness: black. Try it with your crayons or magic markers: everything at once, too much simultaneous input layered repeatedly, gives you blackness.