One of the three shades of pink in Pink Floyd (The other two are Roger Waters and David Gilmour). Syd was most well known for giving Pink Floyd its start in 1965 by composing psychedelic types of music. Just give Interstellar Overdrive or Astronomy Domine a listen, and you'll hear what I'm talking about.
Everyone in Pink Floyd regarded Syd as a musical genius. He had a very unique way of approaching and composing music which appealed to everyone. Unfortunately, as history repeats itself, Syd (as a genius) was doomed to go crazy. Essentially, he took larger and larger amounts of LSD (or, acid), until his participation in the band became disruptive. Stories exist of Syd getting up on stage while he was under the influence of LSD, and just staring blankly into the audience, guitar in hand. Eventually, he would suddenly jam on the guitar at random, or play out of key, leaving the other band members and the audience hopelessly confused. It was also said that if Syd were to offer you tea, you would turn it down, as it was most definitely laced with LSD.
But Syd, as a genius, was going to go crazy anyway, for he was schizophrenic. He could not cope with the pressure of being famous. His mind whirled and whirled, until his only escape was through more LSD. Syd was eventually replaced by David Gilmour as lead guitarist, the idea being that Syd would write the music, while the rest would perform it live. Unfortunately, this was not workable for long, and Syd was abandoned all together.
Later, Pink Floyd's album, "Wish You Were Here" was released in dedication to Syd Barrett. On it, the legendary classic "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was born, ringing clear universal feelings for the living tragedy known as Syd Barrett.
Shine on, Syd!
Editor's note: Syd Barrett passed away at age sixty due to complications of pancreatic cancer at his home in Cambridge on July 7, 2006.