Wednesday 6th January marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Syd Barrett, founder member of the Pink Floyd and one of the most influential musicians in British pop history. To mark the occasion, Syd Barrett’s new official website will be launched at 12 noon on Wednesday.
Celebrating his unique life and career, both of which continue to inspire and enthral, it is a unique resource that offers an unrivalled insight into this enigmatic musician. The website has been created by those who knew him best – his family and friends. The clean, modern design offers an intimate experience for Syd’s fans, incorporating his favourite colour indigo and offering previously unseen, restored family photographs.
Going forward, regular updates will reveal even more exclusive material, photographs and information. Featured songs will receive detailed analysis alongside reviews, essays and images from a range of celebrity guest writers. Syd’s nephew Ian Barrett says “2016 promises to be an exciting year for Syd Barrett’s fans and we hope that in keeping with my uncle’s talents, this online resource will act as a springboard, inspiring a new generation of artists – both musical and visual.”
Syd Barrett was with the Pink Floyd for just three years (1965 to1968), yet when the band released their greatest hits album in 2001 he had written over a fifth of the tracks.
Born Roger Keith Barrett in 1946 in Cambridge, Syd obtained his nickname from regulars at a local jazz club who christened him after an old drummer from the area.
At the age of seventeen Barrett left Cambridge to study at London’s Camberwell Art School where he was reunited with his old friend Roger Waters. He joined Roger’s band the Pink Floyd and quickly became their main songwriter. The band was named after two Georgia blues men Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Their experiments with feedback and electronic sound quickly made them the hippest band among London’s early psychedelic set.
Although still a prolific songwriter, Syd’s experimentation with drugs meant his grasp on reality was slipping away. He didn’t turn up for interviews and started to behave erratically, to the extent that an American tour had to be cut short.
In January 1968 the band excused Syd from performing live to enable him to concentrate on songwriting and David Gilmour was asked to take his place. By 1968 the band had parted ways with Syd, leaving him to record and release two solo albums ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’ and a single ‘Octopus’.
1970 saw Syd retreat to his mothers house in Cambridge where he formed The Stars with some local musicians though his involvement was shortlived. The following years saw him moving between Cambridge and London, where he stayed on friends’ floors. In 1978, having tired of London, he walked back to Cambridge, where he lived reclusively until his death on 7th July 2006, aged sixty.