Pink Floyd co-founder Roger "Syd" Barrett has died at the age of 60, reportedly due to complications from diabetes. The artist, who left Pink Floyd in the late 1960s after his mental health began to d
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger "Syd" Barrett has died at the age of 60, reportedly due to complications from diabetes. The artist, who left Pink Floyd in the late 1960s after his mental health began to decline, spent the better part of the past 30 years living in seclusion with his mother in Cambridge, where he was born on Jan. 6, 1946.
Pink Floyd began life as most unassuming U.K. bands of the mid-'60s did: as a run-of-the-mill blue rock combo. Led by the enigmatic Barrett and staffed by bassist Roger Waters, keyboardist Rick Wright and drummer Nick Mason, Pink Floyd quickly began to push the boundaries of conventional rock, attracting underground acclaim for their trippy live shows.
Barrett proved himself a true genius, blending elements of pop and psychedelia on early singles such as "See Emily Play" with mysterious, almost light-hearted lyrics. Pink Floyd's 1967 debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" still stands as one of the best psychedelic rock albums ever, driven by Barrett's oddball narratives and the band's skill with both long jams and perfect pop nuggets.
But as Barrett's intake of LSD increased, his behavior became increasingly peculiar (especially in a live setting, where he'd often lapse into a zombie-like state), so much so that the rest of Pink Floyd were no longer able to work with him.
Enter David Gilmour, who allowed Pink Floyd to continue playing live while Barrett worked out his problems. The rest of the group hoped Barrett would at least still be able to write songs, but this too proved to be impossible, and eventually he was booted from Pink Floyd entirely.
Gilmour and members of Soft Machine helped the fragile singer through two solo albums, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett." But by 1973, he was beset by a myriad of mental problems and retreated to Cambridge, rarely to be seen in public again.