List of songs about or referencing Syd Barrett

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Syd Barrett was an English singer, songwriter, musician and painter who co-founded the rock band Pink Floyd in 1965. He was known to be reclusive.[1][2][3] Reclusiveness may coincide with mental disorders and some persons may have speculative diagnoses of schizophrenia (see List of people with schizophrenia), but this does not mean that Barrett's songs, and the songs about him, concern reclusion: for example, the instrumental "Interstellar Overdrive" exemplify Pink Floyd's early psychedelic period.

Barrett left Pink Floyd less than a year after the release of their first single, "Arnold Layne". He played with the band only on their first two albums (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn), contributing Jugband Blues as the closing track on A Saucerful of Secrets, before recording two albums in 1970 (The Madcap Laughs and Barrett), the latter of which failed to chart. In 1975 the Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here became a popular screed against music business with its theme the loss of Barrett.[a]

With the decline of the record industry[b] and changes in the music business,[c] Barrett's alienation remains relevant.[4][5] The following list is indicative of Barrett's legacy.[6]


Released Title Writer(s) Artist Notes
1996[7] "What's the New Mary Jane" Lennon, JohnJohn Lennon Beatles, TheThe Beatles Aug 1968 outtake, supposedly inspired by Barrett,[8][9] released in 1996
Apr 1999 "Incarceration of a Flower a Child" Roger Waters[10] Marianne Faithfull 1968 composition supposedly about Barrett,[11][12] or perhaps a revision of it[13]
Oct 1970 "If" Roger Waters Pink Floyd Supposedly about Barrett[14][15][16][17]
Sep 1978 "Pink's Song" Richard Wright Richard Wright Visibly about Barrett
Nov 1972 "Oh! Wot A Dream" Kevin Ayers Kevin Ayers About Barrett[18]
Mar 1973[19] "Brain Damage" Roger Waters Pink Floyd References Barrett[20]
Sep 1974[21] "Mr. Barrett" John Steele [22] Flaming Star From a self-produced album dedicated to Barrett[22]
Sep 1975[23] "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" Roger Waters, Richard Wright, David Gilmour Pink Floyd About Barrett[24]
1978[25] "Psychedelic Punkeroo" Twink[26] Twink And The Fairies About Barrett[27]
Jan 1981[28] "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives"[29] Dan Treacy Television Personalities About Barrett[30]
Apr 1981 "The Man Who Invented Himself"[31] Robyn Hitchcock Robyn Hitchcock Wrongly supposed to be about Barrett[32][33][34]
May 1984[35] "Song For Syd Barrett" Martin Newell The Cleaners from Venus About Barrett[36][37]
1986[38] "Stolen Letters" Magic Y, Uncle T[39] Peter Sellers and the Hollywood Party About Barrett[40]
1987[41] "Spun Out Of A Mind" Magic Uncle[42] Peter Sellers and the Hollywood Party Barrett lyrics in title (of the 7" single)[43]
June 1992[44] "Song For Randy Newman Etc." Martin Phillipps[45] The Chills Barrett mentioned[46]
Mar 1994 "High Hopes" David Gilmour, Polly Samson Pink Floyd Refers to Barrett[47]
1995 "Syd's Wine" Steve Peregrin Took Steve Peregrin Took 1972 demo. (Original 1971 song title was "Beautiful Deceiver")
Release title refers to Barrett whom, Tony Secunda alleged, performed on the track.[48]
Feb 1996[49] "A Star Too Far (Lullaby for Syd Barrett)"[50] Genesis P-Orridge, Larry Thrasher Genesis P-Orridge and Psychic TV[51] About Barrett[6][49]
May 1996 "My Man Syd" Anton Newcombe, The BJM [52] The Brian Jonestown Massacre About Barrett[53]
Oct 1998[54] "1974"[55] Robyn Hitchcock Robyn Hitchcock Refers to Barrett[56]
Nov 1998[57] "Hyperdrive Reprise" Brock, DaveDave Brock Hawkwind Instrumental for Pink Floyd book, partial cover[58]
2000[59] "Anyday-Anyway (Encore)"[60] Kevin Coyne, Achim Goettert[61] Kevin Coyne From a self-distributed live album about Barrett[62][63]
Dec 2000[64] "Ya znayu, gde zhivet Syd Barrett" Umka & Bro[65] Umka & Bro Russian version of "I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives"[64]
June 2004[66][67] "Syd Barrett Blues" Rod Webber Rod Webber About Barrett[68]
Oct 2005[69][70] "Gente de Barrett" Sidonie Sidonie About Barrett[71]
Feb 2006[72] "Syd Barrett" Alain Pire[73] Michel Drucker Experience About Barrett[74]
Sep 2006[75] "Scarecrows In The Rain"[76] Mystery Jets Mystery Jets About Barrett[77]
Oct 2008[78] "Oranges and Apples" The Trash Can Sinatras[79] The Trash Can Sinatras About Barrett[78]
Nov 2008 "Dark Asteroid"[80] The Damned[81] The Damned Dedicated to Barrett[82][83]
Dec 2008[84] "Nobody Home" Phil Judd, Rod Leith Phil Judd Refers to Barrett[85]
2009 "We Know Where Mr. Barrett Lives"[86] Michael Svidén[87][88] Michael Swidén Revision of a July 2006 MP3 about Barrett,[89] released in 2010[90]
Sep 2010[91] "Morts-Vivants" Katerine[92] Katerine Mentions Barrett (in French)[93]
Mar 2012[94] "When Your Garden's Overgrown"[95] Paul Weller, Simon Dine[96] Paul Weller About Barrett[97]

Other songs[edit]

The above list may be incomplete, and subtle references may be found in songs not included above, especially Pink Floyd songs such as "Fearless",[12] which would be more explicit in "Brain Damage"[20] and songs in The Wall such as "Hey You" and "Nobody Home".[98] Some claimed Barrett references turn out to be spurious.[99][100] The Shamen credit their song "It's All Around" to Barrett[101] and some bands, like Jennifer Gentle, are named after Barrett songs (in this case, from a line in "Lucifer Sam");[102] two bands are known as Baby Lemonade. Italian band Birdy Hop is named after a Syd Barrett song;[103] the title of their debut album, Welcome To The Insanity Ride, recalls a line from "Octopus"[104][105] and producer and singer-songwriter Amerigo Verardi[106] has been compared to Barrett.[107] Los Prisioneros's "Concepción" mentions Barrett in the chorus, referencing the rumors about him living in Chiguayante, and how supposedly the 2 cities he ever made a concert in were London and Concepción.[108]

Edgar Froese and Tangerine Dream recorded a tribute album to Syd Barrett, Madcap's Flaming Duty in 2007.

Cover versions of Barrett songs[edit]

Of the many cover versions of Syd Barrett songs,[13][109] the best-known are David Bowie's 1973 "See Emily Play",[110] The Jesus and Mary Chain's 1984 "Vegetable Man",[111] R.E.M.'s 1989 "Dark Globe" and the Smashing Pumpkins' 1991 "Terrapin".[112]

Internet songs[edit]

Sharing and streaming over the Internet has resulted in a number of unreleased Barrett tributes, including the 1999 mp3 "Elephant" by Rex Tangle on his website,[113] the 2000 instrumental MP3 "A Tribute to Syd" by The Worms on disc 18 of Have You Got It Yet?,[13] a 2007 video of "There's A Man In Cambridge (Song for Syd Barrett)" by "Alec" on YouTube,[114] and a 2007 parody cover video ("Pink Floyd – Paying The Piper") by "Pauldullson", also on YouTube.[115]


The following are references cited in order to link to explanatory information. The references not cited in specific parts of the article are in the External links section at the bottom of the page. The other sources are in the next section.

  1. ^ Lasri, Hemza (18 December 2009). "Top Ten: Songs about other artists". Clash Magazine Limited.
  2. ^ Evangelista, Benny (16 June 2003). "Music industry changing its tune / Teenagers who download from Internet finally forcing record industry to adapt". SFGate. Hearst Communications, Inc.
  3. ^ Wolff, Michael (10 June 2002). "Facing the Music". New York Media LLC.


Where not otherwise specified, the retrieved dates in the reference section are assumed to be 28 March 2014.

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  2. ^ Bailey, Jason (6 September 2013). "10 Notorious Pop Culture Recluses". Flavorwire. Flavorpill Media.
  3. ^ Jensen, K. Thor (18 February 2014). "11 Most Famous Celebrity Recluses". AMC Networks Inc.
  4. ^ Indar, Josh (7 November 2013). "Is Rock 'n' Roll Dormant, Dying or Already Dead?". PopMatters Media, Inc.
  5. ^ David (8 June 2012). "Must See: Lauryn Hill Warns Artists Against 'Dangerous' Music Industry". That Grape Juice.
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  13. ^ a b c Laughing Madcaps (2003). "random notes". HYGIY #18. Open publishing.
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External links[edit]