Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Syd Barrett Dead

Syd Barrett, founding member of Pink Floyd died last Friday. He was 60 years old and had not been a public figure for many years. The image to the left is from the late 1960's.
I first heard Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" in 1987 (20 years after it had been released) and it had a major impact on me. After this I learnt who had written most of the songs on it. I then bought the three solo albums he did and listened to them many times up to the mid-1990's when I started to move on in music. Although I rarely listen to Syd Barrett's music today, without him I would not be the person I am today.
Some of the genius of Pink Floyd with Syd at the helm can be recognized from this 1967 TV broadcast, Look of the Week. A mixture of psychedelic sound (fuzz, drone, delay) a Romantic poetic and children's fairy tales and stories (especially the Wind in the Willows) combined with Syd's original composition style to produce some of the most influential popular music of the 20th century. Here are the lyrics to 'Golden Hair' (1969), one of Syd's most beautiful songs, adapted from a James Joyce poem:

Lean out your window, golden hair
I heard you singing in the midnight air
my book is closed, I read no more
watching the fire dance, on the floor
I've left my book, I've left my room

For I heard you singing through the gloom
singing and singing, a merry air
lean out the window, golden hair

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