Syd Barrett

English musician (1946–2006), co-founder of Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett (6 January 19467 July 2006), born Roger Keith Barrett, was an English singer, songwriter, guitarist and artist. He is most remembered as a founding member of psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd, providing major musical and stylistic direction in their early work, although he left the group in 1968 amidst speculations of mental illness exacerbated by heavy drug use.

Syd Barrett


  • I'm full of dust and guitars…
    • Rolling Stone, December 1971
  • I don't think I'm easy to talk about. I've got a very irregular head. And I'm not anything that you think I am anyway.
    • Rolling Stone, December 1971
  • And what exactly is a dream, and what exactly is a joke?
    • Jugband Blues
  • It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here, and I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here.
    • Jugband Blues
  • Well, I'm a painter, I was trained as a painter…I seem to have spent a little less time painting than I might've done…But it didn't transcend the feeling of playing at UFO and those sort of places with the lights and that, the fact that the group was getting bigger and bigger.
    • Melody Maker, March 1971
  • I remember the last time we were in the studio that Nick (Mason) ripped this fart. It was one of the most atrocious things the others had ever smelled in their lives. While Roger and Rick fled in terror, I asked Nick for seconds.
    • Billboard, February 1967
  • That's all I wanted to do as a kid. Play a guitar properly and jump around. But too many people got in the way.
    • Rolling Stone, December 1971
  • Well, I've got a colour telly, and a fridge. I've got some pork chops in the fridge, but the chops keep going off, so I have to keep buying more.
    • In response to being asked by David Gilmour what he was up to lately during an unexpected reunion in 1975, as written in Nick Mason's Inside Out
  • My favorite food when I was with the Floyd was Heinz Baked Beans. I would shit my pants quite regularly during sessions. To this day, I believe that's why Roger has such a dour look on his face. I went through more pairs of trousers than I care to discuss. I guess you could call that era "Pooper at the Gates of Dawn” or “Atom Fart Mother.”
    • Cashbox, May 1971
  • We feel that in the future, groups are going to have to offer much more than just a pop show. They'll have to offer a well-presented theatre show.
  • Their choice of material was always very much to do with what they were thinking as architecture students. Rather unexciting people, I would've thought, primarily. I mean, anybody walking into an art school like that would've been tricked--maybe they were working their entry into an art school.

About Syd BarrettEdit

  • Syd was so beautiful with his violet eyes. I only sort of lay beside him, nothing more could be accomplished. Then he had a breakdown and was gone. He hardly spoke. He would just tolerate me because I was so overpowered, so in awe that I didn't really speak either. I only hung around him for two or three weeks just before he flipped and was virtually removed from the group. I knew Syd was wonderful because he wrote such wonderful songs. He didn't have to speak because the fact that he couldn't speak made him who he was: this person who wrote these mysterious songs. I just liked looking at him: he was very pretty. A lot of the time with pop stars, when they open their mouths, it was all completely ruined anyway. So it was perfect that he was like that. My first pop star and it was just wonderful that he didn't speak.
    • Jenny Fabian, Groupie (1969)
  • It's sad that these people think he's such a wonderful subject, that he's a living legend when, in fact, there is this poor sad man who can't deal with life or himself. He's got uncontrollable things in him that he can't deal with and people think it's a marvellous, wonderful, romantic thing. It's just a sad, sad thing, a very nice and talented person who's just disintegrated.
  • Syd was so full of whimsy as well as horrible gas. I swear to God that the early recording sessions of Pink Floyd always smelled like a strange mixture of rotten eggs, rancid cabbage, and crap.
  • Well, he's schizophrenic. And has been since 1968.
  • If you had said to a young Syd, ‘Look, this is your bargain in life, you know, you’re going to do this fantastic stuff, but it won’t be forever, it’ll be this short period. There’s the dotted line, are you going to sign for this?’ I suspect, maybe, a lot of people would sign for that, for making their mark.
    • Bob Klose, The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story (2003)
  • "He was firstly an artist and secondly a musician. If ever he was asked what he did, the reaction would always be 'I'm an artist', never 'I'm a musician.' *
  • '... I remember seeing an early R.E.M. gig at the Hammersmith Odeon. I went backstage and they were all very warm and welcoming, apart from Michael Stipe who just sat in the corner with his back to me. Then he went on for the encore and did an a cappella version of [Syd's] 'Black Globe', which might have been his way of saying, "Syd was all right but you're an arsehole."'*
    • Roger Waters

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