Remembering Syd Barrett…

On this day in 1946, Roger Keith Barrett was born, but to most who remember him, he is remembered as Syd, the founding guitarist of Pink Floyd, who is sadly now mostly remembered as being perhaps the most famous acid casualty of the late 1960’s. He was so much more.

Syd’s guitar style is often overshadowed by the more precise and calculated style of his successor, David Gilmour. This is somewhat understandable, as Gilmour’s playing is masterful, but it’s too easy to forget the obvious influence his predecessor in Floyd had on his style. Gilmour’s playing is deeply rooted in blues conventions, but often wanders toward more experimental, dreamy realms. It’s almost impossible to dissect how much of this experimental side is in-grained and how much is a product of his initially being chosen as a replacement player for Barrett, but it seems fairly obvious to me that those occasional bursts of experimental psychedelic oddities in early Gilmour solos and leads must have been run through the filter of Barrett’s influence, seeing as Gilmour’s first job in Floyd would have been to learn the songs Barrett wrote for the band.

Barrett remains sadly underrated as a guitarist simply because he is too easily thought of as a drug casualty. The substance of his musical output is considered by many to be of secondary importance to his personal life and the impact it had on subsequent lyrics written by Roger Waters. This is a shame, because his playful inventiveness on tracks such as “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive” provides the listener with a rich tapestry of ideas to explore and enjoy.

So today, on what would have been Syd’s 66th birthday, treat yourself to some of his great music, this time perhaps really listening for the occasional flashes of brilliance scattered throughout his work.


One Response to “Remembering Syd Barrett…”

  1. Polly Andy Says:

    If the Beatles and the Doors had an autistic love-child, it would run musical circles around this hack. The best part of this song starts at the 4’12” mark.

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