Life of a Would-Be Rock Legend: ‘The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story’

I’ve never been a huge Pink Floyd fan, but I’ve always had a different opinion about the highly successful UK band’s founding member, Syd Barrett. Perhaps it’s because he was the most charismatic, talented, and considerably intriguing one of the lot, and when he left Pink Floyd in 1968 after a drug-induced meltdown, that’s when the group moved away from its early psychedelic sounds to the dude-centric drones of prog rock.

Barrett was Pink Floyd’s main songwriter, guitarist, and lead vocalist during its early days as well as the one who named the band after a pair of blues musicians: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. After his dramatic departure, Barrett continued to compose some truly mesmerizing tunes, and while Pink Floyd went on to become world famous, at least Barrett was able to focus on his own incredible work.

Fortunately, there’s a documentary that recognizes Barrett’s place in the trajectory of rock history, along with his role in shaping a band that would go on to sell more than 250 million records worldwide, while Barrett himself retreated to a quiet life in the country where he died at the age of 60 in 2006.

Photo credit: Colin Prime

Photo credit: Colin Prime

Originally made in 2001, The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story has already been issued on DVD twice, but there’s a brand-new two-disc set from Eagle Rock Entertainment that not only features the original hour-long documentary, it also includes bonus material that makes the latest release so compelling. Clocking in at a whopping 213 minutes of combined material, the new issue features an extended interview with Roger Waters about Syd Barrett, as well as a second disc featuring unedited interviews with Pink Floyd members David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright, plus a performance of “Love You” by Graham Coxon.

But the highlight remains the original documentary. Perhaps it’s because it was filmed while Barrett was still alive that his spirit imbues the film’s direction on every level. Through rare clips, home movies, and exclusive interviews with Barrett’s colleagues, The Pink Floyd & Syd Barrett Story eloquently and elegantly captures and chronicles the rise and fall of a lost rock legend.

Photo credit: Colin Prime

Photo credit: Colin Prime