Remembering Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett, musical genius

This week, we lost Syd Barrett, founder of the band Pink Floyd. Early news reports mentioned that his death was due to cancer, while others mention diabetes as a leading cause. All I know for certain is that Syd checked out a long time ago, retreating from the public eye to deal with his own personal problems.

I was a big fan of Syd Barrett’s work, as both a member of Pink Floyd and as a solo member. There was a period in my life where I practically wore out my “Nice Pair” compilation that repackaged the first two Pink Floyd albums “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets.” I absolutely loved that stuff!

Last year, Pink Floyd got a lot of attention for their reunion at the Live 8 event. I always hoped there would also be a Syd Barrett reunion. As Brian Wilson, Roky Erickson, and Daniel Johnston demonstrated that mental health issues need not cripple one’s musical talents, I wished that Syd would somehow gather his strength to make music once again. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

In the liner notes by Brian Hogg for the Syd Barrett 3-CD box set “Crazy Diamond,” there was one particular mention about Pink Floyd shows at the Roundhouse that caught my eye:

A subsequent review in “IT,” termed the quartet a “psychedelic pop group” and described their “scary feedback sounds and slide projections (which) produced outer space/prehistoric textures on the skin.” Other accounts noted that the power blew out during “Interstellar Overdrive,” which suggested that by this stage the Floyd were bending original songs to a set once-renowned for freaked-out readings of “LOUIE LOUIE” and “Road Runner.”

I don’t know if any such recordings actually exist, or they were merely stoned recollections of events that were not properly recorded for posterity. Nonetheless, I continue to search for the elusive recordings of early Pink Floyd performing LOUIE LOUIE.

If you have any such recordings, please send me an email.

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