Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett & the Dawn of Pink Floyd

Crazy Diamond: Syd Barrett & the Dawn of Pink FloydMike Watkinson & Pete AndersonOmnibus PressIt’s difficult not to romanticize those who rise to the summit of the heavens only to plummet back down to Earth, their golden wings sundered. Such human tendencies go back further than the myth of Icarus, to the beginnings of civilization: mourning for one who fell too soon. Hollywood, of course, has reduced all that to melodrama and soapsuds. So it’s refreshing that this biography’s authors refuse to get too corny about Roger “Syd” Barrett’s rocket ride to stardom in Britain with his band Pink Floyd, and then his subsequent disillusionment with stardom, his mental fragmentation aided by LSD (why do you think they called him Syd?) and his protracted fall into anonymity. Still, Watkinson and Anderson clearly respect their subject enough to feel embarrassed for imposing on the gentle recluse later when they attempt to interview him. All in all, this is a great bio, with lots of insightful interviews. Interestingly, conspicuous in his absence here is Roger Waters, who, if you ask me, owes much of his subsequent success to Barrett’s breakdown.