Syd Barrett Opel on 180g LP
One of the most influential musicians in British pop history, Syd Barrett was as appreciated as much for his iconoclastic approach to the electric guitar as for his adventurous and imaginative songwriting. A co-founder of Pink Floyd, he was also quintessentially English, penning idiosyncratic and unique songs, and, along with Ray Davies, was directly responsible for a whole generation of musicians feeling that it was acceptable to develop their own indigenous brand of rock music.
Pink Floyd signed to EMI Records in 1967, releasing the singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play," both written by Syd, and the album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, again mostly composed by Syd and considered to be one of the greatest British psychedelic albums. However, as the band began to attract a large fanbase, it became clear that Syd's fluid approach to writing, performing and recording – spontaneous, one take only, nothing repeated – was increasingly at odds with the expectations of a musical scene that was still very conservative, especially outside London.
Possibly exacerbated by Syd's frequent experimentation with psychedelic drugs, his behavior became more erratic, to the point that the band decided to add a second guitarist for live performances. They hoped to call on Syd's compositional abilities for studio work, similar to Brian Wilson's role in the Beach Boys, while David Gilmour would bolster the band in live shows. The experiment didn't really work and, in January 1968, after a handful of shows as a 5-piece, the band elected not to pick Syd up on the way to a Southampton University show.
Syd and Floyd officially parted company in March 1968, with the band's management Blackhill Enterprises deciding to stick with Syd as a solo artist. EMI's new Harvest label committed to a Barrett solo project, and over the course of a year Syd recorded his debut The Madcap Laughs. The album was well received and sold reasonably, so EMI elected to record follow-up Barrett straight away, the last official Syd Barrett album, bar compilations. In 1988, EMI released an album of Syd's studio out-takes and previously unreleased material recorded from 1968 to 1970 under the title of Opel, a highly-regarded track omitted from The Madcap Laughs.
Syd Barrett Opel Track Listing:
2. Clowns and Jugglers
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. Mily Way
14. Golden Hair