Syd Barrett was the original guitarist, vocalist, and composer for the great band, Pink Floyd. He was in college majoring in Art when he met an architech student, Roger Waters. The two formed a band along with Nick mason and Rick Wright. They went through several name changes, and Barrett finally settled on The Pink Floyd, amed after his favorite blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. The 'the' was later dropped from their name.
Barrett composed several of the band's early hits, including 'See Emily Play' and 'Arnold Layne'. He also wrote almost all the songs on their first album 'Pipers at the Gates of Dawn' (named after a chapter in the Wind and the Willows, one of Barrett's favorite books).
All through this period Barrett experimented with drugs, mainly LSD. At somepoints he would even lace his morning coffee with LSD. This problem eventually led to Barrett's downfall. While Pink Floyd were acheiving small amounts of fame, Barrett was becoming harder and harder to work with. At some of their concerts, he would refuse to play more than one chord and at others wouldn't play at all. An old friend of Syd's was brought in to replace him, David Gilmour. In highschool Gilmour had taught Syd how to play guitar, one of the reasons their playing styles were rather similar.
Though they had Barrett still writting songs in the background, even that became to frustrating. His songs started growing darker and darker until, eventually, Pink Floyd were forced to kick him out of the band.
That occured in 1968, around the release of their second album 'A Saucerful of Secrets'. Barrett contributed one song to the album, 'Jugband Blues', though there were a few others written and recorded that never made the final cut. The main examples would be 'Vegetable Man' and 'Scream thy last Scream' both of which Roger Waters still refuses to have released today.
Pink Floyd then went into what is known as their rather quiet phase, the period between 'Pipers' and 'Darkside of the Moon'. With the help of David Gilmour and Roger Waters, Syd recorded two solo albums, 'The Madcap Laughs' and 'Barrett'. Both were released in 1970. Gilmour confesed it was frustrating to work with Syd on those albums, and that was the last he saw of Syd for quite a few years.
In 1975, after great success with 'Darkside of the Moon', Pink Floyd (still Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, and Nick Mason) were stressing to come up with a follow up. After finishing recording one day, they noticed a rather large man that was entirely shaven of hair. None recognized the old band mate until someone finally realized 'That's Syd!'. When asked how he had gained so much weight, Syd replied "I have a large fridge I eat lots of Porkchops". Syd still hadn't realized he was out of the band, and asked when he should put on his guitar. Waters regretfully informed him that the recording was done, and they didn't need the guitar.
That day was the last any of them saw Syd, but they all are in contact with his family, and check up to see how he's doing every now and then. They thought if any of them went to see him, it may cause a backlash of somesort, so none did. David Gilmour has thought that enough time has passed that it might be a good idea to visit Barrett sometime.
The album released in 1975 was titled 'Wish you Were Here'. It was a tribute to their ex-band member, Syd Barrett. Including the 26 minute 'Shine on You crazy Diamond' and the title track.
Syd Barrett - The Crazy Diamond