Syd Barrett: Wish You Were Here

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Syd BarrettSyd Barrett was born on January 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England and less than 20 years later went on to found one of the greatest bands of all time, Pink Floyd. After Syd Barrett left Pink Floyd in 1968 due to drugs and/or mental health issues, the band went on to achieve their greatest commercial successes. In 1975, Pink Floyd started recording their iconic and beautiful “Wish You Were Here” album at the Abbey Road studios. The album is punctuated at the beginning and end by the epic song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, split into two parts and spanning 26 minutes total. This song, and much of this album, is a tribute to their friend Syd.

During the recording of “Wish You Were Here” at Abbey Road, Syd showed up unannounced in the studio. He looked nothing like his former self, and wasn’t even recognized by his friends and former band-mates. His behavior that day was extremely erratic, he barely spoke, and it was clear to everyone that he was not the same Syd. That day in the recording studio was the last time the members of Pink Floyd ever saw him.

Syd Barrett Abbey Road

Syd during his time in Pink Floyd (left) and at the Abbey Road sessions (right)

Roger Waters later went on to say, “I’m very sad about Syd. Of course he was important and the band would never have fucking started without him because he was writing all the material. It couldn’t have happened without him but on the other hand it couldn’t have gone on with him.”

From the late 70’s until his death in 2006, Syd lived in seclusion in his native Cambridge. He spent his days with his first passion, painting; which he went to school for before he became interested in music or founded the great Pink Floyd. In honor of Syd Barrett’s would-be 69th birthday, we share with you the masterpiece that is “Wish You Were Here”. While he is no longer with us, we still celebrate Syd’s life and his contributions to our lives.

Nobody knows where you are, how near or how far.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Pile on many more layers and I’ll be joining you there.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
And we’ll bask in the shadow of yesterday’s triumph,
Sail on the steel breeze.
Come on you boy child, you winner and loser,
Come on you miner for truth and delusion, and shine.
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