The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion

The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion

The student news site of Hawthorne High School.

The Clarion


What Happened To You Syd Barrett?

Syd Barrett...RIP
Syd Barrett…RIP

Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett was born on January 6, 1946 in Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was the  frontman and primary songwriter for Pink Floyd, who was known for his unique psychedelia.

He had a one of a kind music style and was a very interesting person. In 1965, Barret alongside Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright founded Pink Floyd.  In 1967 their album “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” was released and it was a hit.

The following year a portion of the album “A Saucerful of Secrets’ ‘ was released and it was Barrett’s last. Into 1968, shortly after that album was released, Syd was pushed out of the band. So why would one of the co-founders be pushed out of the band only 3 years later?

Barrett had a rough childhood. He was one of 5 siblings born to parents Max and Win. When Syd was young, his father died of cancer only a few months before he was to turn 16. Barrett’s full name is Roger Keith Barrett, but he received the nickname Syd after his mimicking of celebrity Sid James to his friends and teachers at school.

Syd had known Roger Waters from Primary school in Cambridge and met David Gilmour as a teen so they tended to cross paths at various times. These young men were the creative leaders to their band Pink Floyd with Richard Wright joining soon later on. Syd Barrett was initially kicked out of the band due mental deterioration, presumably brought on by his drug use. Which is only half the case. 

Barrett had one final and noted reunion with the members of Pink Floyd on June 5, 1975. After that he was unheard of to all the people he once knew very well. Syd had developed a more troubled personality as the years went on. Roger Waters, who was the bass guitarist for the band, simply said, “Syd went crazy in 1967,  by ’69, we weren’t seeing him anymore. He’d disappeared completely.”

He continued, “It was a huge loss. And I did love him.”

The entirety of the band was nothing but caring and kind towards Syd. People everywhere were worried about him and never knew what was to come. The band’s song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” parts 1-9 was a lyrical message to Syd with his shown legacy to the band. The lyrics say, 

“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,

Blown on the steel breeze.

Come on you target for faraway laughter,

Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,

Rode on the steel breeze.

Come on you raver, you seer of visions,

Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!” 

Both parts of the song (1-5 and 5-9) are around 13 minutes long with minimal lyrics, but meaningful ones. The title itself explains Syd as being crazy, but as beautiful as a diamond. 

In 1982 a film was released for the album Pink Floyd: The Wall. The film was based on the album, with minimal words as the actors mimed to the music. The star of the movie was named Pink played by Bob Geldof. The story was written by Roger Waters himself, basing the character off of Syd Barrett and the storyline off of his life and Barrett’s life.

The film’s running time is about 1 hour and 35 minutes long. The movie is about  “Pink” a very successful musician who happens to be very drugged out in his Los Angeles hotel looking back at his very isolated childhood. He recalls his lonely upbringing, which is when he built a symbolic wall to the world (in his own mind) as he coped with the death of his father and the overbearing ways of his mother.

Pink lost everything he ever cared about and with the “help” of drugs decided to change himself which appeared as if he went crazy. He lost his family, wife and friends due to fame. This all related back to Barrett with the loss of his family and the drugs use that caused him to lose his mind. The movie ends with a judge sentencing Pink “to be exposed before his peers” and gives the order to “tear down the wall!” Following a dreadful long silence, the wall is smashed, and Pink screams in terror. His ultimate fate is left unknown. Just like Syd Barrett. 

There will never be a real experience to know Syd Barret other than information collected by his bandmates. He was a kind soul with good intentions until trauma along with illness caught up to him. Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett died on July 7, 2006 due to pancreatic cancer at 60 years old. For his remaining hidden years up until his death he painted, which again goes to the lyric “Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!” from Shine On You Crazy Diamond. It is impossible to forget Syd Barrett as many songs from not only the band Pink Floyd, but many others have symbols pointed towards him.

In loving memory of Roger Keith “Syd” Barrett.      

About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Neeb, Staff Writer
Hi, my name is Kaitlyn Neeb, and I am currently a freshman at Hawthorne High School. I am very excited for the years ahead of me here at HHS. This is my first year of writing for the Clarion as well as in high school overall. I love to play volleyball and I am currently on the Hawthorne Bears Volleyball team. My interests include things like reading, writing, volleyball and downtime with my friends and family.