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Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett Dies at 60

Syd Barrett dead - www.paul-altobelli.comSyd Barrett, the former lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 60.

Syd died peacefully at his home in Cambridge after suffering from complications related to diabetes.

I personally was never much of a Syd or early Pink Floyd fan. Syd's music, along with the first few Floyd albums, is a little too trippy for me -- not really my cup of Magic Mushroom tea. My real passion for the Floyd, as with many fans, starts with the 1971 release, Meddle. Syd was long gone by then -- from the band and from reality. Syd, of course, was the king of rock and roll causalities. Syd, like the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson and the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, took shovelful of drugs that ultimately fried his brain and his genius.

Whatever my opinion may be about Syd's music I cannot deny that fact that his overall contribution to rock and roll is immeasurable. He founded one of the most influential rock bands of all time and invented the British psychedelic movement.

The following is an extract from UK trade paper Music Week's daily news page:

Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett has died at his Cambridgeshire home from what is believed to be complications from diabetes. The 60-year-old, who suffered a breakdown in the Sixties following his use of LSD, had been a virtual recluse for more than three decades after completely withdrawing from the public spotlight in the early Seventies. He passed away last Friday, although news of his death has today only been announced.

Pink Floyd issued a statement saying, "The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death. Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire".

Barrett penned their first two hit singles, Arnold Layne (which reached number 20 in the UK) and See Emily Play (a UK number six), while their first album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn followed later in 1967. However, their third single Apples And Oranges reflected Barrett's worsening mental state. David Gilmour joined the line-up in February 1968, giving rise to suggestions [that] Barrett would follow the example of Brian Wilson and stop touring with the band to concentrate on his songwriting. Instead, his departure from the band was announced the following April. The last Floyd album he appeared on was their second set, A Saucerful Of Secrets, released in July 1968.

Work then started on his first solo album, The Madcap Laughs, which made it to number 40 in the UK chart in February 1970. A second album, Barrett, followed, but an attempt to return to recording in 1974 ended in failure.

Despite being a recluse since the mid-Seventies, Barrett remained an inspirational figure to many musicians. His legacy was felt in recent solo gigs this year by David Gilmour who in one concert at London's Royal Albert Hall performed Barrett's Arnold Layne with David Bowie during the encore.

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