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Syd Barrett discography

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Although Syd Barrett was the driving force behind Pink Floyd's 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, he recorded more albums as a solo artist than he did as Floyd's lead guitarist, lead vocalist, and primary songwriter.

Barrett's solo career lasted only a couple of years, finally sputtering and ending for the same reasons he was pulled from the Pink Floyd lineup: erratic, unpredictable behavior and a decline in all aspects of his musical talent due to heavy use of drugs. In spite of the circumstances of his departure, his former band mates didn't stop considering him a close friend, and did everything they could to help start and sustain his solo career.

While his solo career might not be considered a commercial success, it holds great interest for heavily invested Pink Floyd fans who understand how this troubled soul, who left the music business and lived the rest of his life as a recluse in his boyhood home in Cambridge, England.

1970 - 'The Madcap Laughs'

Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
Capitol Records

Barrett started working on his debut solo album almost as soon as he left Pink Floyd in 1968, but with frequent changes of producers, and several hiatuses (including one for psychiatric treatment) the album wasn't released until 1970.

Most albums have a producer. Madcap Laughs had five of them, including his former band mates, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, who were in the midst of recording Pink Floyd's Ummagumma album, and could only devote two days to finish the album, but were happy to help a man they considered their friend.

The first single from The Madcap Laughs, "Octopus" was released in November 1969, two months ahead of the album's release. The song had originally been titled "Clowns and Jugglers" but was reworked and renamed by Gilmour and Waters. It would be the only solo single Barrett would release. The song's final title resulted from a line in the song ("... the mad cat laughed at the man on the border ...") that was misheard by Gilmour. The title was retained because madcap is heard in another part of the song.

(Listen to "Octopus")

The Madcap Laughs was the only Barrett solo album that charted, reaching #40 on the UK album chart. It has been released on LP vinyl, audio cassette, CD and MP3. A 2013 CD reissue included six bonus tracks of outtakes, making their first appearance on CD.

THE MADCAP LAUGHS - TRACK LIST - 2013 REISSUE

1. "Terrapin
2. "No Good Trying
3. "Love You
4. "No Man's Land
5. "Dark Globe
6. "Here I Go
7. "Octopus
8. "Golden Hair
9. "Long Gone 10. "She Took a Long Cool Look
11. "Feel
12. "If It's In You
13. "Late Night
14. "Octopus (Take 1 & 2)
15. "No Good Trying (Take 5)
16. "Love You (Take 1)
17. "Love You (Take 3)
18. "She Took a Long Cool Look (Take 4)
19. "Golden Hair (Take 5)

1970 - 'Barrett'

Syd Barrett - Barrett
Capitol Records

Sales of The Madcap Laughs were sufficient to prompt the label (EMI) to order a second album. Barrett felt that the first one had suffered because so much time elapsed between the time it was started and the time it was completed. Accordingly, he began work on his second studio album just a few weeks after its debut, and Barrett was released in November 1970, less than a year later.

This time around, David Gilmour was the only producer, and was also the bassist. Pink Floyd keyboardist Rick Wright also contributed, as did Jerry Shirley, who at the time was Humble Pie's drummer.

If the debut album had taken too long to produce, Barrett didn't take long enough. "Those sessions were done so quickly," Gilmour was quoted as saying the book, Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd: Dark Globe. "We were rushing to gigs every day and had to fit recording sessions in between."

Listen to "Dominoes"

Barrett generally got higher marks from critics than Madcap had. An Allmusic review said the album was "a bit fuller and smoother than the first album." Nonetheless, Barrett failed to chart in either the US or UK.

The album has been issued on LP vinyl, audio cassette, CD and MP3. A 2013 CD reissue included seven alternate takes as bonus tracks.

BARRETT TRACK LIST - 2013 CD REISSUE

1. "Baby Lemonade"
2. "Love Song"
3. "Dominoes"
4. "It Is Obvious"
5. "Rate"
6. "Maisie"
7. "Gigolo Aunt"
8. "Waving My Arms In The Air"
9. "I Never Lied To You"
10. "Wined And Dined"
11. "Wolfpack"
12. "Effervescing Elephant"
13. "Baby Lemonade" (Take 1)
14. "Waving My Arms In the Air" (Take 1)
15. "I Never Lied To You" (Take 1)
16. "Love Song" (Take 1)
17. "Dominoes" (Take 1)
18. "Dominoes" (Take 2)
19. "It Is Obvious" (Take 2)

1988 - 'Opel'

Syd Barrett - Opel
Capitol Records

The original release of Opel included eight songs that had been recorded for, but not included on, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett plus six alternate takes of songs that did make on those albums.

Originally, the album was to have also contained two unreleased Barrett songs that had been recorded for Pink Floyd albums, but the band decided not to authorize their inclusion.

The album has been issued on LP vinyl, audio cassette, CD and MP3. A 2013 reissue includes additional bonus tracks that were released on a 1993 reissue.

Listen to "Swan Lee (Silas Lang)"

OPEL - TRACK LIST - 2013 CD REISSUE

1. "Opel"
2. "Clowns and Jugglers"
3. "Rats"
4. "Golden Hair"
5. "Dolly Rocker"
6. "Word Song"
7. "Wined and Dined"
8. "Swan Lee (Silas Lang)"
9. "Birdie Hop"
10. "Let's Split"
11. "Lanky (Part One)"
12. "Wouldn't You Miss Me (Dark Globe)"
13. "Milky Way"
14. "Golden Hair"
15. "Gigolo Aunt" (Take 9)
16. "It is Obvious" (Take 5)
17. "It is Obvious" (Take 3)
18. "Clowns and Jugglers" (Take 1)
19. "Late Night" (Take 2)
20. "Effervescing Elephant" (Take 2)

1987 - 'The Peel Session'

Syd Barrett - The Peel Session
Strange Fruit

Recorded in February 1970 shortly after the release of The Madcap Laughs, The Peel Session consisted of performances to air on BBC's Top Gear show, hosted by John Peel.

Among the five tracks, just one was from the just-released debut album. Two more would appear on the second album. One of the songs, "Two of a Kind" listed Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright as the writer on the initial release, but later pressings gave writing credit to Barrett.

Listen to "Two of a Kind"

As on Barrett, David Gilmour was on bass, Jerry Shirley on percussion. The Peel Session was released on LP vinyl, audio cassette and CD but is out of print, and considered a collector's item.

THE PEEL SESSION TRACK LIST - ORIGINAL RELEASE

1. "Terrapin"
2. "Gigolo Aunt"
3. "Baby Lemonade"
4. "Effervescing Elephant"
5. "Two of a Kind"

A 2004 reissue, titled The Radio One Sessions contained, in addition to the Peel recordings, three additional tracks ("Baby Lemonade", "Dominoes" and "Love Song") from another BBC show, hosted by Bob Harris, which were bootlegs recorded off the air when the program was broadcast.

Listen to "Effervescing Elephant"

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