Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Syd Barrett and the dark side of the moon

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell
Blue skies from pain
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
- Wish you were here (Pink Floyd)

Syd Barrett was a musician, a singer-songwriter, an artist...

He is best known as the founder of the band Pink Floyd,
one of the most successful bands of all times. (250 million albums worldwide)

Syd was also mentally ill.

He played with Pink Floyd for something like 3 or 4 years,
from 1965 to 1968...

and then the strange behavior became too strange.
They would play a concert and Syd would strum only one cord
during the whole show.

Or he would sit and watch them play, like a spectator.
Then he became violent.

The band eventually let him go.

In 1973, Pink Floyd recorded the album DARK SIDE OF THE MOON,
in reference to Syd's mental illness.

It had nothing to do with astrology
and everything to do with lunacy.

It became their best selling album.

In 1975, they recorded WISH YOU WERE HERE...

again, for Syd.

He showed up at the recording session at the Abbey Road studio,
and they barely recognized him.

He had shaved all his hair and his eyebrows,
had gained weight
and was lost and erratic.

While they recorded, he watched across the room,
while he stood and brushed his teeth.

It fascinates me that the life of ONE person can affect so many others.

Millions of people still love and listen to
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON today (including me).

This music wouldn't exist if it weren't for this man
spiralling into the abyss,
and others (his band members) being sensitive to what he was living
and wanting to give their feelings a voice.

Wanting to give his feelings a voice...

I believe we are more often inspired
by the dark side than we are the light side.

It reminds us that we are all human.

This amazes me,
how one life can touch so many others.

This is Syd, during the WISH YOU WERE HERE
recording sessions at Abbey Road studio...

He died in 2006, aged 60, of complications from diabetes.

For those of you not familiar with the song,
Wish you were here...


  1. What a lovely tribute. I love that album and knew about Syd's mental illness and it's influence on some of the band's music.

    I love the painting of him over the music paper.


  2. Wow! Love the portrait on the music sheet ~ very creative and well done ~ Great music and lyrics ~ (A Creative Harbor)

  3. Love the portrait and seeing how it came together!

  4. I never knew about any of that and Pink Floyd. Hard to believe when I graduated high school in 1968. Thanks for filling me in and I like the portrait. Such a sad story.

  5. Thank you for telling his story. I had no idea. Very interesting and sad. And your painting is a beautiful tribute!

  6. I love the portrait of Syd. Very fitting that you painted it on a song sheet. Their song is amazing, thanks for adding it.
    Years ago before a PF light show my boyfriend[husband] explained the whole story to me and it really made the experience that more powerful.great post! thanks, as alwasy, for all your kind notes.

  7. I think "Dark Side of the Moon" is one of the best produced albums EVER, and it's one of my favorite albums. I've even learned how to play Great Gig in the Sky. I only knew about 50% of the things you told us about Syd. Thanks for sharing! Speaking of how one person's life affects many made me think of the movie, "The Adjustment Bureau". Have you seen that? I think you would really enjoy it!

  8. Wow your portrait is now on page 15,16,17 of google image search and it's so fabulous!!!

    Your passion and deep soul are also portrayed in this sad story. That's what makes you such an amazing writer. You get to the heart of the matter with few words!!

    Mental illness stories are always told in the worst case scenario after the fact instead of the progression!! Very impressive work!! The story and the image!!!

    You need to write two books at once!!

    Hugs Giggles

  9. wow, I didn't know that stuff, thank you for sharing it so beautifully, I will listen to the album with new ears now, Nina

  10. I wrote this poem earlier, and upon searching "Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Piano," found your paintings and your blog...

    "Is This What We're Supposed To Be Doing?"


    "it's almost springtime"

    I thought I heard her say
    as the clouds rainbowed into
    the post-hurricaine bassline

    of "Money" on
    the Dark Side
    Of The Moon.

    I suppose I was 17
    the first time i heard
    the tempest lady

    rattle the china
    upon the seashore
    of summer's heart

    and bring the leather
    of an old green ford impala
    to its heavenly knees.

    Now I'm somewhere
    between 49 and 50
    and I'm learning the

    band is
    just finding
    it's groove.

    and maybe
    it's Aretha Franklin
    or the gold in

    the cup you
    gifted away
    that's keeps


    it's good.


    And with your permission, I'd love to please use one of your artworks here to illustrate my poem on my blog next Tuesday, that will be Aug. 27th, 2013.

    Thank you!

    And did you happen to grow up in Bathurst, NB, Canada, and graduate high school in like, 1982?

    thanks again.

  11. Okay, so I was curious and clicked over where it says "Pauline." I thought you were another Pauline at first. But, imagine my chills when i saw You live in New Brunswick, Canada!!

    I think maybe we went to high school together.

    anyway, click over to my webpage, if you wish and email me or please leave me a comment. Wish I could leave my maiden last name ("Funster" is my stage name) and the community I grew up in, but... best not for privacy sake these days.

    thanks again!!

  12. on 3rd thought, I think the poem still needs a bit of tweaking, but hold that thought. And your artwork is AMAZING!!

    And I think maybe I knew you from Baton twirling in the Chaleurettes, funny the things and people we remember.

    well, Cheerio!

    This crazy woman is off as quickly as she hurricained in. :)