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Pink Floyd Frontman Syd Barrett Dies
"He wouldn't do anything unless he thought he was doing it in an artistic way," group co-manager Andrew King once said. "He would throw the levers on the board up and down apparently at random, making pretty pictures with his hands."
The Pink Floyd recording was a popular success and led to television appearances, but Mr. Barrett proved an embarrassment. Several times, he stood in silence as the music played or as a host asked him a question. Once, he rubbed a gooey Brylcreem-laced concoction on his hair that, dissolved under studio lights, made his face appear to melt.
He constantly detuned his guitar during performances or strummed the instrument absent-mindedly. His band mates did not find this endearing and eventually dropped him altogether, but not before he sang the track "Jug Band Blues" on "A Saucerful of Secrets" (1968), which many consider his farewell:
It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here
And I'm most obliged to you for making it clear
That I'm not here
Mr. Barrett recorded two solo albums in 1970, "The Madcap Laughs" and "Barrett," which veered between whimsical and rambling. His public appearances became intolerable, with a reviewer for Melody Maker remarking, "The fingers on his left hand met the frets like strangers."
After brief hospitalization, Mr. Barrett was cared for by his mother, and he rarely left home. After his mother died in 1991, his health worsened, and his eyesight began to fail. He enjoyed gardening, however, and was said to be skillful at stuffing peppers.