Goodbye Syd Barrett
True West Lucifer Sam 7" (True West, 1982)
It says a lot about the state of commercial radio and the vitality of college radio,that the first time I heard anything written by Syd Barrett was through True West. By the time I hit my teens, FM radio had just started to get gobbled up by corporate entertainment. What was to be called "Classic Rock" is what ruled the airwaves - Styx, Foreigner, The Eagles, Molly Hatchet, and, as a sop, the Yardbirds and the Stones. The Pink Floyd I grew up on was Roger Waters' band. It was Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. Even good Waters' Pink Floyd, like Meddle and More, never hit the radio dial. That Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd was (and still is) absent the same frequencies isn't a surprise, but it does explain what the "classic" in Classic Rock means. Classic Rock is the rock that sells. It is the feel good sound of a generation, much like Mitch Miller or Paul Anka. Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd did not sell, at least not the quantity that The Wall did, and it is certainly not comfortable. However, it is classic in sense that classic means of quality and timeless. The playfulness of Bike and Effervescing Elephant doesn't get grumpy with age. As far as love songs go, Terrapin is one of the best. There are few riffs as great as the one that anchors Interstellar Overdrive. Challenge me to come up with one that strong and I'll say Lucifer Sam.
As stated above, True West's version of Lucifer Sam was my first exposure to Syd Barrett. My first exposure to True West was through KDVS, the college station in Davis and the epicenter for a scene that was True West, Dream Syndicate, Game Theory, and Thin White Rope- all profoundly influenced by Barrett.
True West's Lucifer Sam single was released in 1982 and was produced by TW's Russ Tolman and Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn (both of who were in 15 Minutes). The song was recycled on a number of different True West releases and a couple of comps. It is a great version of a great song. I figure that there will be a hundred blogs with Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett tracks on them, so I'll post something different, my first look into the man's mind.
In memory of Syd Barrett, who died this week of complications from diabetes. He was 60 and left a nice basket of great songs. May he ride his bike in peace.
Some people are saying "Who's Syd Barrett?" - but as for the true Pink Floyd fans among us, we know exactly who he was. We are all too familiar with his unfortunately sad story.
And to us, he is still a rock and roll hero... a legend... a diamond indeed.
Even though he hasn't done anything new in over 35 years, Syd Barrett's death remains a very significant loss in the world of rock and roll.
Simply put - if it weren't for Syd, Pink Floyd would have never been.
Syd shines on.
the fact he "disowned" his past is kind of uneasy proof that all is good.
stability is over rated.
anybody out there got Jesus & Mary Chain's version of "Vegetable Man"?? i would love to hear it.