Barrett: The Definitive Visual Companion, a rare and fully authorized book about Pink Floyd co-founding member Syd Barrett, which came out as a luxury book in 2011 will be rereleased as a paperback this fall. The new version of the book will be much more affordable than the original. It will be available for purchase on November 24.
The book includes 350 rare photos of Barrett and Pink Floyd onstage and in rehearsal as well as some candid shots of the singer at home. It features his surviving artwork and love letters, notes and postcards he had written throughout his life. The new edition also has some never seen before artwork not released in the previous edition.
Members of Pink Floyd and Barrett’s family participated in the book’s creation and compilation.
The book, written by Russell Beecher and Will Shutes, is separated into five sections: “Photographs: Pink Floyd”, “Photographs: Solo”, “Letters”, “Art” and an introduction.
The introduction has pictures of Barrett with some of his paintings as well as a childhood photos from around 1949 or 1950. It explains how the authors compiled the book’s content through interviewing Barrett’s siblings and combing through family photos.
Captions of the photos were written by Pink Floyd band mates like Roger Waters and people that have known him and saw him perform.
Barrett co-founded Pink Floyd in 1965. However, by 1968, his erratic behavior caused the band to decide to move on without him. His personality changes may have been due to his increasing use of LSD although those who knew him suspected he was also suffering with schizophrenia.
Since forming the band, Pink Floyd recruited David Gilmore to help out on guitar. Gilmore took on a greater role in the band after Barrett’s departure. However, even after Barrett split, his bandmates continued to play a role in his professional life. Gilmour and Waters co-produced Barrett’s solo debut “Madcap Laughs” while Gilmour and Richard Wright (also a Pink Floyd member) co-produced his second and final LP “Barrett”.
Musically, Barrett was known for his free form guitar playing and his use of dissonance, echo, distortion, feedback and studio effects.
Barrett was active in the music industry for less than 10 years. He withdrew completely in 1972 and retired from public life. He guarded his privacy carefully while dedicating his time to painting and gardening.
Pink Floyd continued to keep Barrett in their hearts. They wrote the song “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” for him. The Wall” was also said to be loosely based on Barrett’s character.
In 1988, record label EMI put out on album of unreleased Pink Floyd tracks and outtakes called “Opel” with Barrett’s approval. The album compiled tracks Barrett made with the band between 1968 and 1970.
Barrett died of pancreatic cancer in 2006. He will always be known as a mysterious and troubled figure who shaped the world of classic rock.