Friday, October 21st, 2016

Wish You Were Here


Syd Barrett, founder of the band Pink Floyd, died last friday of cancer. (Ht: Jed) From the Guardian:

Born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge in 1946, he acquired the nickname Syd aged 15. He left Pink Floyd in 1968, just as the band was about to achieve worldwide recognition, and lived in the basement of his mother Winfred’s semi-detached house, where he boarded up the windows to keep out the eyes of both the press and fans. He recorded two solo albums.

Pink Floyd’s Shine on You Crazy Diamond, from the 1975 album Wish You Were Here, was said by many to be a salute to him. Barrett’s use of drugs, particularly LSD, in the 60s, was well-documented and he was often described as the original acid casualty.

The article then quotes David Gilmour as saying he thought Barrett’s mental breakdown was inevitable.

It was a deep-rooted thing. But I’ll say the psychedelic experience might well have acted as a catalyst. Still, I just don’t think he could deal with the vision of success and all the things that went with it.

Of course, the strangest part of the Syd Barrett story was how he appeared in the studio during the recording of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” in 1975.

Barrett attended the Abbey Road session unannounced and watched the band record Shine On You Crazy Diamond — coincidentally, a song about him. At that time, Syd had gained a lot of weight and had shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and his ex-bandmates did not at first recognise him (one of the photographs in Nick Mason’s book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd appears to have been taken that day; it is captioned simply: Syd Barrett, 5th June 1975). Eventually, they realised who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was reduced to tears. Members of the band also reported on their featured VH1 episode of Behind The Music that Barrett held a toothbrush and attempted to brush his teeth by holding the brush still and jumping up and down. A reference to this reunion appears in the film Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), where the character ‘Pink’, played by Bob Geldof, shaves off his eyebrows after succumbing to the pressures of life and fame.

In an interview for VH1, Rick Wright spoke about the session, saying: “One thing that really stands out in my mind, that I’ll never forget; I was going in to the the Shine On sessions. I went in the studio and I saw this guy sitting at the back of the studio, he was only as far away as you are from me. And I didn’t recognise him. I said, ‘Who’s that guy behind you?’ ‘That’s Syd’. And I just cracked up, I couldn’t believe it… he had shaven all his hair off… I mean, his eyebrows, everything… he was jumping up and down brushing his teeth, it was awful. And, uh, I was in, I mean Roger was in tears, I think I was; we were both in tears. It was very shocking… seven years of no contact and then to walk in while we’re actually doing that particular track. I don’t know – coincidence, karma, fate, who knows? But it was very, very, very powerful.” In another interview, Nick Mason has said: “When I think about it, I can still see his eyes, but… it was everything else that was different.” In yet another interview, Roger Waters has said: “I had no idea who he was for a very long time.” (Wikipedia)

Lyrics: Shine On You Crazy Diamond I-IV

“Shine On You Crazy Diamond (I-V)”

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Be Sociable, Share!

Print this entry

Comments are closed.