Syd Barrett, January 6, 1946 – July 7, 2006
His early Pink Floyd songs represent psychedillica at its height, often infused with a fairy-tale child-like sensibility. His later work is often a harrowing illustration of a mind helplessly witnessing the process of its own destruction. Listening to some of the songs on the solo albums is almost indecent. There are also some bootlegs of songs that haven't ever been officially released: "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Vegetable Man" are Pink Floyd songs that the band never released since they were deemed too intimate and realistic a depiction of what was going on in his mind.
I think evey Barrett fan secretly harbored the hope that Syd would make a triumphant return to rock music, maybe with members of Pink Floyd. I certainly harbored this hope. But it wasn't realistic. I think the real secret hope is that we could somehow go back in time and keep Syd Barrett active and creative in rock music throughout the late 60's and 70's. Sort of like the "What if Buddy Holly hadn't died in that plane crash?" speculation. I think this loss of Syd is probably the reason his meager output is so heavily scruitinized. (That and the fact that much of Pink Floyd's later, most well-known music was often about him.) We look for the genius we want him to have been. It's like looking at a few pieces of a shattered vase we never got to see whole, and becasue we are convinced the vase must have been beautiful, we convince ourselves the shards are beautiful, too. But the fact is the shards are very sad, and we honestly can't say what the vase would have been like.
I'll leave you with the lyrics to Dark Globe (from the Syd Barrett archives):