Monday, July 17, 2006

Syd Barrett RIP

52 million records sold

Syd Barrett the founder of Pink Floyd died last week. The group he left became one of the greatest selling bands of all times (along with the Beatles and the Eagles) after he left. Syd left around 1968 and his group redefined music (and longstandng chart positions of records) with Dark Side of the Moon in 1973.

Syd was a visionary who reinvented music, which, if you think about, is not true of alot of people. Early Pink Floyd was improvisational and clever and light-hearted and farout and mod, and kind of intelligent too. Of course as the group wore on they become very heavy-handed, but then of course sold more and more too up to a point. Just yesterday here in Brooklyn some burly harley-dude was blaring The Wall from his bike stopped at a light on 4th Street (how's that one Syd?).

F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby wrote that the rich are different from you and me. This may be true, but it may be even more true that the famous are different than you and me. Its probably the pressure of fame that did him in, the entrapments and busyness expected of the famous.

Syd made a couple of records in 1970 with mostly people from the Floyd. These were basically him and his Dylan-like folky songs - but delightfully askew- with people improvising along. He made you feel that you could play too, and his records are still great for a carefree morning, as several of my few friends can attest.

Syd is the axiomatic cult figure and his vision brought alot to alot (not least millions of pounds to his group), and a talented and soulful person, and I for one miss his presence here on Earth.

** Workers opinion on who else reinvented music: Beethoven, Mahler, Stravinksy, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, John Cage, Ray Davies, Dee Dee Ramone.