Roger Keith Barrett
|Jan. 6, 1946
|Jul. 7, 2006
|Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Artist. Barret cofounded the band, Pink Floyd, along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright in 1965. Their 1967 album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" was a huge commercial hit. Of the eleven songs on the album he wrote eight and co-wrote two others. An innovative guitar player, he was never afraid to experiment with techniques for different sound. The group's distinct sound can be directly related to his experimentation. As the success of the band grew his experimentation with drugs such as LSD caused erratic behavior that increased as time went on. This combined with his mental illness led to an increasing lack of participation in the bands musical endeavors. Another guitarist was asked to join the band to compensate for this increasing lack of performance. The band members were not amused with his behavior and by 1968 he was officially released from the band. He released two solo projects. The first album "The Madcap Laughs" was produced by David Gilmour and Roger Waters. It is widely believed that the song "Dark Globe" is a self description of one suffering from schizophrenia. The second album "Barrett", took 6 months to record mostly due to his mental state. It was produced by David Gilmour. On this second album Gilmour played guitar, Rick Wright played keyboards and Jerry Shirley played drums. Most believe the songs on the albums were written in the years before Pink Floyd and that he wrote no songs after leaving the band. During these years he was not in the public eye with regard to his music. With the exception of one performance on radio all of his music was in studio. The one live performance was on June 06, 1970 in London at the Olympia Exhibition Hall. He performed with Gilmour and Shirley. Strangely, he put down his guitar and left the stage after just four songs. He disappeared for a year after a performance on February 16, 1971 where he performed three songs from "Barrett". He formed the band Stars in 1972 but it only lasted a short while. In 1975 while Pink Floyd was recording "Wish You Were Here", he showed up at the session to watch them record "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The song was written by Roger Waters about Barrett. The band members did not recognize Barrett as he had changed so much as his mental illness had progressed. He continued to shun all public attention. By 1974 he was ready to record again. However, that session only lasted three days. At this time it appears as though he cut his ties with the music business. He sold rights to his solo albums to the record label and moved to a London hotel room. After the funds of the sale were depleted he walked to Cambridge, England where his mother lived and moved into her basement. He lived there for the rest of his life. It was at this time that he reverted back to his given name, Roger Barrett. He had taken the name Syd at the age of 15 after a well-known local Cambridge drummer, Sid Barrett. He changed the spelling to Syd to avoid confusion. From then on he lived his life in relative obscurity and seclusion, turning to graphic art for his creative endeavors. While trying to live a quiet life he was still pursued by journalists and paparazzi. At his death Barrett left an estate of almost $3 million to his two brothers and two sisters. This was largely due to his former bandmates, who made sure that Pink Floyd royalty money was paid to him throughout the years. David Gilmour was quoted as saying, "we made sure the money got to him alright". Interest in his music and curiosity over his seclusion never diminished.
(bio by: Julie Karen Hancock (Cooper) Jackson)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.