Syd Barrett/Shutterstock.com

I don't think I'm easy to talk about

Born Roger Keith Barrett, Syd Barrett was the former lead singer and founder of the progressive-rock band, Pink Floyd. Already a talented guitarist and composer, Barrett had met the other founder members, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright while studying at art college in the mid-sixties.

The name Pink Floyd – initially The Pink Floyd Sound – came from two musical heroes of Barrett’s. He later claimed the name had been beamed into his head by a UFO.

Pink Floyd became hugely successful, but Barrett’s LSD consumption and mental-health issues led to a breakdown just as the band was about to go stellar. He left Pink Floyd entirely in 1968 and despite some initial attempts to forge a solo career, soon became known as something of a rock recluse. Floyd’s 1975 hit Shine on You Crazy Diamond was a tribute to their bandmate and friend. Pearl Jam, REM and David Bowie all acknowledge him as a major musical influence.

Pink Floyd enjoyed a long career without Syd and he continued to receive a substantial income from royalties which he was entitled to from their album sales. He lived out his life quietly in the Cambridgeshire home where he had grown up, with his former bandmates describing him as the guiding light of their formative years, when he died of cancer aged just 60.