Pink Floyd

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Pink Floyd

Postby Ian » Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:58 am

Hells teeth!

I didn't think I'd ever see the day when Roger got back on stage with the Floyd... but it's going to happen it seems!

Floyd 'mini' reunion

I'm feeling comfortably numb already :D
I still don't blame you for leaving baby... it's cold living with goats
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Postby scottz » Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:20 pm

Unbe-freakin-lievable!!!

Ian, please tell me you're packin the mini-disc & shuffling into Hyde Park with the masses of Floydian's to witness this great and terrible thing!
This is going to be a date in Rock History to be remembered!
I'd like to be at that first rehearsal. You know, I don't think there will be any musical awkwardness at all. Now if they would just rise up to Un-ring the Division Bell, and in honor of the day, hold dearly to the namesake, the song..."Keep Talking".

...last saw The Floyd in 1994, Kansas City...Pulse. Ahhh!
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Postby Ian » Tue Jun 14, 2005 1:15 am

scottz wrote:Ian, please tell me you're packin the mini-disc & shuffling into Hyde Park with the masses of Floydian's to witness this great and terrible thing!
This is going to be a date in Rock History to be remembered!
I'd like to be at that first rehearsal. You know, I don't think there will be any musical awkwardness at all. Now if they would just rise up to Un-ring the Division Bell, and in honor of the day, hold dearly to the namesake, the song..."Keep Talking".

...last saw The Floyd in 1994, Kansas City...Pulse. Ahhh!


I haven't got a ticket Scottz but it'l probably be on UK TV, so there may be a way to share :)

As I understand it, the tickets were given away for the price of a text message.... if you got one back, you were in!

Needless to say, these are now changing hands on Ebay for hundreds of pounds..... not quite the kind of publicity Bob Geldoff was looking for eh?

Anyway, I hope there is a thawing of the ice between Roger and the rest of the guys.
It'd be great to think there could be 'another' final cut and maybe a tour with the best known line up of the band.

I aint seen them live since the WYWH tour and I'd love to be actualy there to feel Gilmore's guitar cut through you on that Comfortably Numb solo.

We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year
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Postby Browncoat » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:05 pm

I find it odd that this thread isn't more lively...

I've been listening to a lot of Pink Floyd lately. Matt so kindly allowed me to "borrow" his digital copies of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, and The Wall. Lately, I've been mostly listening to Dark Side of the Moon. However, I think I prefer Wish You Were Here just a tiny, tiny bit more. (Currently listening to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Part IV.")

I also just bought my best friend a copy of the Wish You Were Here LP, which he doesn't have.

Really irritated by the short breaks between songs, on iTunes on DSotM and WYWH. I'm starting an LP collection soon though (once I ... ahem... buy a turntable), and DSotM will be my first purchase. And I'll make my friend lend m WYWH...
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Postby notalone » Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:07 am

I have a Mobile Fidelity LP of DSOM, but my favorite Floyd song is probably "Echos" from Meddle.
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Postby Jon » Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:42 pm

Browncoat wrote:I find it odd that this thread isn't more lively...


I've been nearly album and classic rock radio Pink Floyded to death in my time, but I'm always up for one more listen to Animals.
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Postby Browncoat » Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:37 pm

I was going to post here today anyway, since today is the release of Pulse on DVD (for us young people who barely remember how to work a VCR). However, I just heard about this recently, and it seems more important...

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/13814051/
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Postby ScottG » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:12 pm

Syd Barrett has died.
"Indifferent, but distanced perfectly
Projected endlessly, it’s so FUCKING beautiful!!!"
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Postby keith from ny » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:46 pm

Sad. Piper at the Gates of Dawn is still my favorite Floyd album. His life was certainly no bed of roses.

I hope he's floating on a river forever and ever...
I don't know nothing except change will come
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Postby Our Kid » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:09 pm

Syd Barrett has died. He was 60 years old. Born in Cambridge, England on January 6, 1946, he founded Pink Floyd in 1965 in London. Syd would remain in the band for just about one year - and inform its consciousness forever.


Syd founded the band which became known as Pink Floyd. He, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, Bob Close and Roger Waters began jamming together in London in late 1965 while they were students at London's Regent Street Polytechnic School where several of them were pursuing an education in architecture. Syd was an art student. In true bohemian form, the guys made a habit of spending their collegiate grant money on musical equipment. Mostly, they played rhythm 'n blues. Eventually, they would stretch those blues as far as they could possibly go, inwardly and outwardly.

First they were called The T Set. Then The Screaming Abdabs. Then The Architectural Abdabs. Then The Abdabs. Finally, taking the names of delta bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, Barrett combined the two to arrive at the name Pink Floyd. First they were The Pink Floyd Sound. Then they became The Pink Floyd and finally Pink Floyd. To those of us who grew up loving their sound, they will always be referred to in certain circles as "The Floyd".

By 1967, they were the unofficial "house band" of the exploding London Underground music scene, gigging constantly and creating a larger than life vibe with their amazing light show and stage manipulations. Much of the entire movement was centered around two things, one being the independent paper International Times (or IT) which was edited and run by John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Joe Boyd (who would go on to produce records by everyone from Pink Floyd to Nick Drake to R.E.M.) and the other being the club called UFO (which stood for Underground Freak Out and was pronounced You - Fo by those in the know). There was a third element at play, of course, and that element was drugs. They seemed to be everywhere in the underground scene.

Syd in London, 1967.
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The Swinging London scene was very different than the concurrent one taking place in San Francisco, above all else by being more intellectually driven. The London underground was the playground of collegiate students and artists. The tunes played by London underground bands were often more inward-driven and laid back (with the notable exception of the songs played by soon-to-be Yes member Steve Howe's Tomorrow) than their Stateside counterparts.

The UFO occupied a former Irish dance hall and as 1967 progressed it became far too small to host the shows which Hoppy and Boyd were producing through the IT. As the result of the venue's lack of space and the furor caused by Hoppy's bust for drug possession that summer the UFO club was moved across London to The Roundhouse in late 1967. It had been at The Roundhouse, in fact, that The Pink Floyd had helped launch both UFO and IT in October of 1966.

The Roundhouse was a rickety old turntable railway engine shed that had most recently been owned by the Gibley's Gin distillery, which had used the expansive space to age huge vats of gin on its second level. The roundhouse was drafty and terribly cold, the toilet facilities were lacking (two toilets for around 2,000 people, literally), and the stairway into the place was narrow and falling apart. Regardless, it remained a constant in the London music scene for over seventeen years before its closure in 1983. It was actually re-opened earlier this year.

Regardless of the venue or the journalistic vehicle used to promote their music, The Pink Floyd was the backbone of the entire London Underground music scene. They were the spaciest, the heaviest and the most fascinating amongst an underground community that included Procul Harum, Tomorrow, The Soft Machine and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. The Floyd had their own light show and, eventually, their own sound system. The sound system, called the Azimuth Coordinator, was the first true professional quadraphonic sound system used by a live act and that sound system, as much as the band or the music, was the pulsing heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Having sat in the bosom of that baby a few times, I can state with certainty that there is nothing quite like the experience. There are speakers all around you and the music surrounds you, completely.

Peter Jenner and his business partner Andrew King soon signed The Pink Floyd to their management group, Blackpool Enterprises of London. Their housemate June Child became Blackpool’s secretary and, eventually, one of Syd Barrett’s closest friends. This role was one she filled with pride, even as he descended into the void, until another rock-god-to-be showed up at Blackpool’s door in early 1968.

The Pink Floyd were also quickly signed to EMI Records in England and sent into the studio to record. On August 5th, 1967, The Floyd released their debut album, The Piper At The Gates of Dawn. The album title matches the title of Chapter Seven of Kenneth Grahame's classic children’s book The Wind In The Willows, one of Syd Barrett's favorites. The band recorded the tracks for the album at Abbey Road studios at the same time The Beatles were working on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Although Pepper is the better known and more influential of the albums today, it was Piper that went the farthest out toward the boundaries of Pop music at the time.

The album kicks off with Astronomy Domine, a true Floyd classic, and contained many of the songs which made up the bands live shows at the time. Amongst them was the track Interstellar Overdrive, which was the centerpiece of every Pink Floyd show Syd ever performed at. The accompanying single release, See Emily Play (which was not included on the album), was a #1 hit on English radio and The Floyd became instant stars in their homeland.

For the rest of 1967, The Pink Floyd were the toast of London's music scene, often sharing the stage with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Soft Machine at shows in London and across England. Unfortunately for them, their creative flashpoint was reeling further and further away from reality. Syd Barrett, the quiet, attractive, intelligent lad from Cambridge, was losing his mind and (arguably) a great deal of it had to do with the acid.

It was, of course, the the peak of acid's popularity. Dr. Albert Hoffman's amazing little concoction, lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD as it was commonly known, was everywhere in Swinging London. Hoffman had invented the drug during a Swiss research program in 1938. He spilled a very small amount of the liquid on his fingertips while working in a research lab on April 16th of that year and the faint but strange effects he felt afterward led him to purposely ingest a 250 microgram sample three days later. Within an hour of swallowing the substance he began to feel sick and decided to ride home on his bicycle. Beginning with that extraordinary ride, he participated in the first “acid trip” ever taken.

I wish I could say "I digress" and move on, but I can't. Syd Barrett and LSD are forever connected. By 1967, fueled by the work of Dr. Timothy Leary at Harvard University and the promise of a new consciousness, young people in America and England began ingesting LSD recreationally in greater and greater numbers. It was the drug of choice (along with grass and hash) for the London Underground scene. In fact, at the IT kick-off in October of 1966 which I mentioned earlier, every person who walked through the entrance to the Roundhouse club in London was handed a sugar cube. Although the cubes were not spiked with the usual drop of LSD, the inference was obvious. Everyone, it seemed, was trying acid.

Everyone, including Syd Barrett.

For Syd, the drugs would take a terrible, irreversible toll. Yes, Syd Barrett had some of the quirks of an introverted person. No, he could not seem to handle the skyrocket ride of fame that came so quickly. Regardless, many of those who were around him at the time contend to this day that his state deteriorated immensely as the result of the drugs he took freely (and not so freely) during his meteoric rise to fame.

This is where the trouble began. Already quirky, obsessively artistic and creative, Syd became a celebrity Trips Guide for the entire London underground. He was the embodiment of the entire culture, clothed head to toe in Carnaby Street’s finest offerings. It didn't hurt his popularity (or that of the band) that the ladies found him so attractive, either. Yes, Syd did a lot of acid on his own and with his friends. The trouble began when people, assuming that he must have always wanted to be tripping, began "dosing" Syd without his knowledge at the parties and clubs where he was one of the brightest diamonds in the setting. Soon, with the help of all that acid, he would be the craziest.

It was not as nearly evil as it sounded, since little was known about the negative side of an acid trip in 1967. Regardless, Syd Barrett began a period where he would often spend literally days at a time tripping on acid. Slowly but surely, Syd began to break down mentally. To the reader, this may sound like so much bullshit. Unfortunately, it is true. Eventually, living in a spacious rooming-house in Kensington, surrounded by hangers-on and various drug sellers and takers, Syd was often locked in the closets (or worse) while having bad trips. It is doubtful that anyone, at the time, realized the possible impact of what they were doing.

Things came to a head as 1967 slid along. As Pink Floyd was ascending into the pop music stratosphere, Syd was falling at terminal velocity to earth. The band made its first trek across the Atlantic to the United States in the second half of the year. Continuing to ingest large quantities of drugs, this time plied upon him by American hipsters still basking in the ebbing Summer of Love, Syd moved closer and closer to the breaking point.

Riding the uneven waves of his consciousness in Hollywood with the other Floyds on November 5th, 1967, Syd Barrett was interviewed by Pat Boone on Boone’s legendary American television show. Syd’s response to each question was an empty stare. It was an extremely uncomfortable scene. The following day on American Bandstand, Syd stood in front of the camera with his mirror-covered Fender Telecaster hung over his shoulder as they cued the record player. While See Emily Play blared through the speakers, Barrett neither strummed his guitar or lip synched to the record. He just stared into the camera, his eyes miles away.

Returning to London, the band struggled with thoughts of what to do about Syd. Yes, he was deteriorating before their very eyes, but he was their jewel. He wrote and sang most of the songs. David Gilmour, a childhood friend of Syd’s from Cambridge (whom Syd had taught to play the guitar) was brought in to handle the guitar duties around Christmas of 1967 and a few gigs were held in early 1968 with both Gilmour and Barrett on stage. The gigs were disasterous and there seemed to be only one solution. The band, riding the heady crest of newfound fame, would have to go on without the man who had steered their initial push to the top. In April of 1968 it was announced in the press that Syd Barrett had left Pink Floyd. Syd returned to Cambridge. Few people outside the inner circle of Pink Floyd knew just how far he had really gone.

In March of 1969 Barrett went into EMI studios in London and recorded the tracks which would make up his first solo alum, The Madcap Laughs. With Barrett’s fragile state, the sessions were painful to produce and Dave Gilmour was eventually brought in to mix the project and prepare it for pressing. Upon its release in 1970 The Madcap Laughs was well enough received that a second solo album, simply entitled Barrett, was recorded the same year. This time Gilmour was on board from the start and his deft command of the sessions produced a richer, more polished product. Indeed, Gilmour continued to look after his childhood friend until the end, making sure that Syd received the royalty money he was due and ensuring that The Madcap was well taken care of. Syd also appeared on BBC Radio twice in 1970 and performed live at a Music and Fashion festival on June 7th of that year as well, with Gilmour in place as a sideman. He continued to split his time between a place in Cambridge and a flat in London into the early 1970s.

Syd in Earls Court, 1970
Image

Syd’s influence continued to be felt years after his departure into solitude. Glam rock darling and pre-punk legend Marc Bolan of the great band T. Rex patterned himself almost completely after Syd Barrett. Bolan, of course, had help. He was befriended by Barrett’s close confidante June Child upon his arrival in London in 1968. June was still working as a secretary at Blackpool Enterprises when Bolan came knocking and she helped make sure Bolan was signed to Blackpool, the same management team (Peter Jenner and Andrew King) that had made Syd Barrett a star. She also became, eventually, June Bolan, Marc’s wife. David Bowie also loved Syd dearly, having seen Syd with The Floyd in 1967, and he has credited Syd for ages as one of his biggest inspirations. Barrett’s legend richly informed Bowie’s Space Oddity album in 1969. Bowie also recorded the Floyd classic See Emily Play for his 1973 album Pin Ups which consisted of covers of songs by his personal favorites.

Syd Barrett eventually moved back to Cambridge to live in the care of his mother. Although he would be seen occasionally around the town (his movements captured in photographs from time to time by typically loathsome paparazzi), the days of Syd having real contact with the outside world had come to an end. The traditional image of him as a completely insane madman living in an empty room is more than a bit exaggerated but he certainly never shook the ghosts of 1967, whatever they were. He would remain in Cambridge, mostly alone, until his death on July 7, 2006.



Pink Floyd would indeed continue on without Syd Barrett. As the 1960s oozed into the 1970s their sprawling, space-pop sound was refined further and further over a series of albums. Dave Gilmour assumed significant control of the band’s musical sound. Gilmour’s guitar work with post-Barrett Pink Floyd yielded an abundance of emotionally charged, incredibly memorable solos. Today he is considered by many to be one of rock’s greatest instrumentalists. Roger Waters, who had mistreated Barrett horribly during Syd’s descent into darkness, moved to the front of the group as far as songwriting went. His bleak, often disturbing song lyrics would become a hallmark of Pink Floyd’s image. Waters would, in a de facto sense, control Pink Floyd until the band’s split following the release of 1983’s The Final Cut.

The inspiration for many of Waters’ songs on the band’s 1973 Dark Side of the Moon album was Syd Barrett. That album would go on to become one of the most popular, best selling records in rock history and make Pink Floyd a household name forever. The 1975 follow-up album Wish You Were Here was constructed entirely around the life, rise to fame and legend of Syd Barrett. In fact, Syd turned up - uninvited and unannounced - at EMI studios on June 5, 1975 during the final mixdown of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (a song about him) and noticably spoooked his former bandmates. Much of the content of 1979s The Wall was based on incidents that either involved or recalled Syd Barrett.

In the early 1980s, Pink Floyd split due to Waters’ dictatorial inklings and the band’s loss of market share in a new, post-MTV world. However, echoes of Syd were heard anew when Mason, Gilmour and Wright re-formed sans Waters for their 1987 comeback smash, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. When they released The Division Bell in 1994 and began their subsequent world tour, the band opened every show with a riveting performance of the Wish You Were Here cornerstone and Barrett elegy Shine On You Crazy Diamond, accompanied by a dramatic film which featured a Barrett-like character stumbling into madness in a world of Swinging London-era, Carnaby Street clad harlequins.

Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd in early 1968. Pink Floyd, however, has never completely left Syd Barrett. His spirit informs and colors the band’s musical output, indeed its very image, to this day. He has been absent from the band’s lineup since early 1968 and the band’s output since his departure is overwhelmingly about absence – in thought, in feelings and in life itself. Song lyrics, album cover images, all of it imbued with absence in the color and spirit of Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett.


I was a huge Floyd fan in my late teens. I wasn’t a drug person or a long hair, just a kid growing up who felt great comfort in the music and its expression of emptiness. Today, I don’t really listen to them as much, except for the albums which were released before Dark Side of the Moon. I love that span of albums, which showcase a band moving from the world of pop stardom to a deeper, richer place. It seemed that once they got where they wanted to be, things got very desolate and morose in the world of Pink Floyd. It was and still feels, to me, like a world without Syd. Today, I have been listening to The Madcap Laughs, The Piper At The Gates of Dawn and Wish You Were Here for hours and thinking a great deal about Syd. In rock, he reached a truly archetypal status long ago. In life, he reached fame but lost much of his mind. It was indeed a high price to pay.

Rest in peace, Syd.
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-Joni Mitchell-
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Postby Turk » Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:59 am

That was amazing, Tim.
Thank you.

It's a wonder that Syd maintained any sanity and life for as long as he did.
Good for Gilmour for making sure that he received royalties and support.

RIP, SB
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Postby TontoBronto » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:16 am

There's now a special 40th anniversary release of the debut album---
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Buy me

3 CD's (first CD's are full album in both stereo and mono, the third is bonus tracks).
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