Saluting Syd Barrett's Recorded Legacy

01/06/2011
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(Gibson) Syd Barrett spent only 60 years on Earth, although for at least some of that time maybe lots of it Syd seemed to be in a place that was more interstellar. Barrett's recorded legacy of two Pink Floyd albums, two solo albums, a few live recordings and a handful of singles is the work of a visionary who ultimately lost both his vision and his grip on reality. He also lost his life to pancreatic cancer in 2006, after a 34-year retirement, or retrenchment, from music.

Barrett was born on January 6, 1946, 65 years ago. His career as a musician lasted only seven years, starting in 1964 with the formation of Pink Floyd, who had four different names during their first year including the Screaming Abdabs and the Meggadeaths (take that, Dave Mustaine).

Barrett's self-made musical realm was a kaleidoscope of fantasy and distortion and sonic gamesmanship perfect for the LSD-drenched times. Syd's (and early Floyd) fans included such rock dignitaries as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. He developed a vocabulary of extended technique based on alternate tunings, slide teamed with Echo-Plex, feedback and an angular attack instantly recognizable on such early Pink Floyd numbers as "Lucifer Sam" and "Interstellar Overdrive," which remains a study in epic six-string heaviness. more on this story

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