12.8.06

Eleven Reasons Why Syd Barrett Was Cool

Syd Barrett, an original member of Pink Floyd and one of the true icons of the psychedelic late '60s, has passed away at age 60. Rather than dwell on the tragic passing of this amazing musical figure, we here at ChartAttack want to celebrate the great moments of this man's career. Without further ado, here are 11 reasons why Syd Barrett was cool:
# 1. He founded Pink Floyd. 'Nuff said.
# 2. He gave the band their unique name, which always sounded incredibly psychedelic, by simply taking the names of two obscure bluesmen (Floyd Council and Pink Anderson) and putting them together.
# 3. The first Pink Floyd record, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, is a psychedelic classic and was the complete brainchild of Barrett. The album featured several unique techniques, such as Barrett using his Zippo lighter on his guitar for feedback and distortion and all kinds of bizarre vocal parts throughout.
# 4. He wrote songs that were filled with wonder and amazement. His imagination produced songs about bedtime stories ("Matilda Mother"), magic cats ("Lucifer Sam"), tricked-out bikes ("Bike"), scarecrows ("The Scarecrow"), gnomes ("The Gnome") and even one about a bloke who got sent to jail for stealing ladies' panties off the washing line ("Arnold Layne," the first Floyd single).
# 5. There's no doubt that he had an influence on The Beatles and the recording of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band. Floyd were working on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at Abbey Road at the same time as The Beatles were doing their record, and both groups would wander down the hall to see what crazy noises were coming out of the respective studios.
# 6. He had a song for Floyd called "Let's Roll Another One," but the record company wouldn't go for that in 1967. That didn't stop Barrett, though. He just wrote new lyrics and the song came out as the trippy "Candy And A Current Bun."
# 7. His sense of song structure was truly magical, as evidenced on tracks like the crazy "Apples And Oranges." It flopped as a single, but it holds the award for being a psychedelic song that was actually too psychedelic for even the late '60s.
# 8. Despite his problems with drugs that eventually caused him to leave Floyd, Barrett also made two incredible solo albums, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett. Again, Barrett's sense of whimsy came to the forefront in songs like "Baby Lemonade" and his working of a James Joyce poem as "Golden Hair." The band Gigolo Aunts took their name from a track on Barrett. Even though Floyd couldn't contain him as a member, both Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour took turns producing him solo, and Richard Wright played on Barrett.
# 9. One of the best loved Floyd albums is basically a tribute to Barrett. Wish You Were Here featured "Have A Cigar," which detailed the band's first meeting with EMI back in '67, and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," a heartfelt tribute to Barrett.
# 10. Here's a list of just a few different bands and musicians he had an affect on: This Mortal Coil, Marc Bolan, David Bowie, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Cure's Robert Smith, Johnny Marr (formerly of The Smiths), My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, Primal Scream, Voivod, The Libertines, The Beta Band, Julian Cope, Robyn Hitchcock, The Flaming Lips, R.E.M., Mercury Rev, The Dead Kennedys' East Bay Ray, Camper Van Beethoven, Pearl Jam, Love And Rockets, Elevator To Hell, The Melvins, Transatlantic, Phish, Dream Theater, Graham Coxon (formerly of Blur) and former Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante.
# 11. When tribute records became the big thing in the late '80s and '90s, one of the first was one for Barrett called Beyond The Wildwood. There was another one, entitled On A Distant Shore, released in 2004.

?Dan "The Mouth" Lovranski

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