January 6 – The Crazy Diamond Began To Shine

The crazy diamond began to shine back on this day in 1946 – Syd Barrett (Roger to his parents) was born. Few artists have built up such a reputation and influenced so many in so short a time.

As a child, Barrett was obsessed with art of all kinds, and a friend of Roger Waters. After enrolling at an art school, seeing the Beatles and Rolling Stones and meeting David Gilmour in 1963-64, he began writing songs . However, it was old friend Waters with whom he’d really get things going, they soon had a band called the Abdabs, which a few names later became The Pink Floyd Sound. Barrett was big into experimenting with musical techniques like distortion and feedback, and with psychedelic drugs. The band soon became the darlings of the London underground scene during the Summer of Love and after two reasonably successful singles which Barrett had written (“Arnold Layne” and “See Emily Play”) the band had a contract with EMI and were recording at Abbey Road next door to the Beatles. Barrett was a huge factor in the debut, Piper at the Gates of Dawn but his weird and unpredictable behavior got him kicked out of the band, replaced by Gilmour ironically, soon after. Not a step they took easily apparently; all of them were fond of Barrett and their 1975 album Wish You Were Here was dedicated to him, with the lengthy two-part song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” about him.

He died in 2006 from cancer after withdrawing from society, by and large, to paint and live with his Mom. Gilmour remembered him fondly as a “genius who made us smile with his wonderfully eccentric songs about bikes, gnomes and scarecrows…he touched more people than he could possibly imagine.”

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12 thoughts on “January 6 – The Crazy Diamond Began To Shine

    1. yes, one of those ‘what ifs”? IF he hadn’t been so tripped out on acid and IF he had his mental issues addressed properly, maybe he could have stayed active and a piece of PF. But would he have stayed creative under those conditions? Who knows.

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  1. badfinger20 (Max)

    I have a blogger friend who lives in the UK who saw them in the UFO club with Syd…or uh Roger! I love that era of Pink Floyd becasue I like that era period.

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  2. That’s a great image you chose to go with your post, Dave. Way back when I had the Pipers of Dawn and the Umma Gumma albums and enjoyed their experimental nature. Crazy Diamond is a perfect nickname for Syd.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure there are all kinds of people who get offended by it these days, “crazy” being a ‘trigger word’ or whatever to so many types. I like their Syd-era music, but like the 70s version better… still, would have been interesting to see where they would have gone had he been well enough to stay on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For anyone who has been there, the word fits. If society wasn’t so fixated on labels and became more sensitive being kind to those who struggle, we’d all be a lot better off. I wonder also where they would have gone…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. true enough. Leads to a whole psychology debate I suppose about ‘should everyone’… if it were possible to change DNA to get rid of mental problems like that, would it ultimately benefit us or harm mankind?

      Liked by 1 person

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