The legendary Syd Barrett is best known as the genius behind Pink Floyd’s early material. He became a founder member of the band in 1965, and is responsible for the bulk of their psychedelic rock-orientated work, before he quit the band in 1968. A combination of mental instability and indulgence in hallucinogenic drugs caused him to struggle with his position as the band’s creative epicentre, and also with his new found fame. Although he largely retired from the public eye from then on, he released two solo albums in 1970, the first of which, The Madcap Laughs, was critically lauded. The album showcased his unique guitar playing style, and trademark simple, charming, almost childlike songs, tinged with psychedelia. He briefly formed the supergroup Stars in 1972, although no material was ever released. He then spent the remainder of his life living in Cambridge, completely away from the public eye. The extent of his medical problems are unknown, but it is thought that he spent the remainder of his days gardening, painting, and ignoring his musical past. Pink Floyd famously paid tribute to him with Shine On You Crazy Diamond in 1975, and when he died in 2006 there was no shortage of critics and music fans wishing to pay homage to his considerable former talent and his considerable influence.
Followers: Spaceman 3, The Coral, Super Furry Animals, Swell Maps, Robyn Hitchcock, Television Personalities, Julian Cope, Gigolo Aunts, Graham Coxon
Influenced By: The Beatles, Bob Dylan
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