The Sights & Sounds of Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett (guitar,
Singles on Colombia
One Mind-Blowing Album :
Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (Colombia SX 6157)
'Aside from whatever hints Pink Floyd fans were able to glean from 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' (dedicated to Syd), the majority of them had no idea who Syd Barrett was'
It all begins in 1965, Syd Barrett wins himself a scholarship to the Camberwell School of Art and promptly moves down from Cambridge. He finds home with neighbours Roger Waters and the leading supplier of L.S.D. to London. Roger invited him to join his band 'The Screaming Abdabs' of which already featured Nick Mason & Rick Wright. As with many bands from this period, the band toyed with the R&B sound but all this was to change upon meeting Peter Jenner, a professor at the London School of Economics. Jenner thought upon an idea of making a fortune without having to sell out and immediately told them to ditch their set and write more freakier songs, Barrett responsed straight away with just that. With this the group worked hard and soon got onto the Sunday bill at the Marquee. Their light-shows stage appearances was described as" flickering pure white light and prisms giving the illusion of vivid colours" . They became the toast of the underground scene with many recording labels after their signatures. The Pink Floyd finally signed to EMI who offered them the best deal.......
The first single 'Arnold Layne' was recorded featuring a poor chap who stole (and wore) women's clothing. With plenty of radio play the single crept into the top twenty of the pop charts. Incidently the flip, 'Candy and a Currant Bun' was originally entitled 'Lets Roll Another One' but the title was soon changed because it was too obvious what the song was about. The follow-up single 'See Emily Play' had the band performing the song on Top of the Pops and a top 10 smash making the band a house-hold name. Performances at the '14 Hour Technicolour Dream' made way for the their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn', named after a chapter from 'Wind in the Willows' with 'Astronomy Domine and 'Interstellar Overdrive' spearheading the album and surreal nonsense lyrics and on 'Matilda Mother' and 'Bike' making the album - often regarded as one of the finest examples of psychedelic space-rock. But with this, the price of fame, Barrett was now heavily into L.S.D. and wouldn't perform with the group, blankly staring whilst playing live. A third single 'Apples & Oranges' appeared without chart success "I couldn't care less" was Barrett's remark) and an appearance in the film, 'Tonite, Lets Make Love In London'. Two further tracks were recorded, 'Scream Thy Last Scream' & 'Vegetable Man' but these still remain (officially) unreleased. By now the rest of the band realised they couldn't continue with Barrett and replaced him with Dave Gilmour. For many the bands earliest recordings -with Barrett- remain the this group's best. For the works immediately after Syd's split with the band click here