You may never have heard of Syd Barrett but his legacy is all around every time you listen to a piece of modern music. His influence cannot be overstated and his own unique style of music and songwriting has never been replicated even though many have tried. He was one of the the founding membersÂ of Pink Floyd.
Born Roger Keith Barrett in January 1946 to a middle class family in Cambridge, Syd grew up and went to school with childhood friends David Gilmour and Roger Waters who would later change the world of music for ever. As a teenager Syd played with different blues bands in Cambridge and soonÂ earned a reputation for his innovative performances with local bands was given the name Syd after a Bass player in Cambridge called Sid Barrett.
He then went on to study art in the Camberwell Art School in London where formed and named Pink Floyd with fellow musicians Nick Mason, Bob Klose, Richard Wright and old friend Roger Waters and the band became a cult phenomenon in the psychedelic London music scene of 1966,Â with regular performances at the prestigious UFO Club where a young David Bowie had his life changed after watching Syd perform. Jimmy Hendrix, Pete Townsend and Eric Clapton would be seen at these early concerts and Syd's use of echo and distortion had a huge impact on the styles of said musicians.
In 1967 they recorded their first single Arnold Layne with producer Joe Boyd with EMI after signing a deal to record an album as well as the single. Syd threw himself into writing the bulk of the first album named The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn which has been voted one of the best psychedelic albums of all time.
Syd's songwriting and playing was heavily influenced by eastern spiritual concepts, children's stories his fondness for LSD and other recreational drugs that he consumed in massive quantities .
The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn's tittle was taken for The Wind In The Willows and was recorded in Abbey Road at the same time as The Beatles were recording their masterpiece Sergeant Pepper album. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney would come in and listen to what Syd and his fellow cohorts we crafting and the influence of Pink Floyd's album on The Beatles must be noted. They were riding high and were the kings of psychedelic London. Syd was hailed as a genius and lived the life of the rock star but things were about to take very bad turn and one of rock's most famous stories was about to be written.