Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"Magnesium Proverbs and sobs"
Better known as Syd,
Roger Keith Barrett (January 6, 1946 – July 7, 2006) was an original, founding member of the British rock group Pink Floyd.A key figure in the development of London's underground music scene, Syd found himself in the role of lead vocalist, lead guitarist and primary songwriter.
Pink Floyd began its existence as just another straightforward blues band, but in 1965 the group began to move in a more adventurous direction, Syd's fanciful lyrics and unconventional guitar technique placed them at the front of the burgeoning psychedelic music scene.
It was on Pink Floyd's first tour to the United States in 1967 that Barrett began to show the effects of his illness, apparently undiagnosed schizophrenia (exacerbated by his use of LSD). It would render him catatonic during performances and in 1968 Syd was kicked out of the group due to his increasingly unpredictable behavior on and off stage, thus ending Syd's membership in the band he had named and led to national success.
Barrett was still popular in London when he left Pink Floyd, so he wasn't able to stay dormant very long. Harvest label head Malcolm Jones and Pink Floyd members Richard Wright and David Gilmour (who was Barrett's replacement in Pink Floyd, childhood friend, and has remained one of Barrett's strongest advocates) helped to spearhead the making of two Syd Barrett solo albums in 1969 and 1970, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.
Although he continued to receive royalties from his work with Pink Floyd he lived his life in relative obscurity and seclusion.
After leaving music behind he did turn to art for his creative endeavors.
While trying to live a quiet life he was still pursued by journalists and paparazzi. Interest in his music and curiosity over his seclusion would never diminish, until his death.
After battling diabetes for several years, Barrett died at his home in Cambridge on Friday July 7, 2006. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, but this was usually reported as "complications from diabetes".The occupation on his death certificate was given as "retired musician."