I arrived at work yesterday to the news that Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd, died at the age of 60.
Syd only played on their first 2 albums, Piper at the gates of dawn and Saucerful of secrets. His songs had a very different sound to the space-rock which Pink Floyd were most known for on mega-popular albums like Dark side of the moon and The wall, having a much more whimsical element to them. His sound was largely influenced by his experimentation with LSD, the use of which led to him leaving the band after their 2nd album, and eventually to his isolation from the world in the early 70's due to mental illness. The 1975 Pink Floyd album Wish you for here contained the 10-part epic Shine on you crazy diamond, which was apparently a tribute to Syd. A common story states that an overweight and hard-to-recognise Syd actually appeared in the studio during the Wish you were here sessions, only adding to his mystique.
I'm not going to be one of those bandwagon jumpers who says that I've been a huge fan of his just because he died; the truth is, I'm not. I only have 2 albums which he contributed to: the aforementioned Piper at the gates of dawn, and his solo debut album from 1970 The madcap laughs. While his songs on Piper definitely add a unique element to the Floyd sound, I can't say it's the kind of stuff which warrants repeat listens for me. And his solo album has its charm, but it's also incredibly dated. I'd much rather give Dark side of the moon or Meddle a listen over any of those albums.
There's no doubt he has had a lot of devoted fans over the years, and his music has influenced countless musicians. Rest in peace, Syd.
Pink Floyd - Scarecrow [Link Removed]
Syd Barrett - Octopus [Link Removed]
UPDATE: Song links removed.