This week it is 10 years since the sad death of Syd Barrett, the rock star who swapped his role as the creative genius of Pink Floyd for a life of obscurity back in his home town, Cambridge.
Syd’s death in July 2006 prompted an outpouring of grief from fans all over the world, and a welter of tributes from within the music industry. But his funeral at Cambridge Crematorium was a quiet affair, with only around a dozen members his family and some close friends attending.
He was born in Cambridge in 1946, growing up in Hills Road, and his name was Roger, not Syd – that was a name he adopted later. He went to Morley Memorial School, Cambridgeshire High School for Boys (now Hills Road Sixth Form College), and later the art school at CCAT, Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology.
Syd was a colossally skilled craftsman, however as a young fellow in the Sixties, he was additionally attracted to the neighborhood music scene.In 1964, he was welcome to join a band called Those Without, as a vocalist and bass player, and he properly did. The band’s drummer, Stephen Pyle, is credited with proposing they call themselves Pink Floyd, however they stayed with Those Without, propelled by the Francoise Sagan novel Those Without Shadows.
One of Syd’s classmates was Roger Waters, whose mother had moved to Cambridge when he was a tyke. In 1965, the two buddies framed Pink Floyd in London with two different performers, Richard Wright and Nick Mason, and the band rapidly got to be built up on the capital’s underground music circuit. They discharged several singles that got into the graphs – Arnold Layne and See Emily Play – and after that drew out their introduction collection in 1967, The Piper At The Gates of Dawn.
Syd was the pioneer of the gathering, composing the greater part of the material, singing lead vocals and playing lead guitar, yet he was likewise taking medications, including LSD, and it wasn’t much sooner than he quit Pink Floyd, to be supplanted by another Cambridge chap, David Gilmour.
Subsequent to leaving the band, he lived in London for a period, and after that returned home to Cambridge in 1981, making the whole 60-mile venture by walking. At first he lived with his mom at the family home in St Margaret’s Square, however she later moved out to give him a chance to have the house to himself, and it is there he stayed, until his passing at 60 years old.
In an interview published in the News in 2008, Syd’s sister Rosemary said: “After returning to Cambridge he showed no interest in Pink Floyd at all. He just tried to put that whole thing away. If anyone called him Syd, he wouldn’t answer. He wasn’t Syd because Syd was Pink Floyd.”
In October, his life will be honored with the revealing of a craftsmanship remembrance to him at the Corn Exchange, together with a show being sorted out by Cambridge Live.