Syd Barrett's short career lasted from the mid-sixties, when he became famous as the singer, guitarist and main songwriter of Pink Floyd, to 1972, when he withdrew from the public eye to spend the remainder of his life as a recluse. He was responsible for much of the Floyd's early material, including the hit single "See Emily Play" (chosen as John Peel's Climber on Radio London for the week beginning 28th May 1967) and several of the tracks on the band's first album, "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn", which Peel played on the Perfumed Garden for some weeks before its official release on 5 August 1967. However, his behaviour first became erratic during the second half of 1967 (although he participated in the band's first two sessions for Top Gear) and the other members of Pink Floyd eventually decided to replace him in April 1968.

At this stage in their career the Floyd were the "stars" of the British underground scene and Peel not only played their records but also frequently acted as compere at performances such as the Hyde Park free concert of summer 1968. Although Peel later recounted that he had had a friendly relationship with the band (especially drummer Nick Mason) he never referred to any events involving Syd Barrett.

Barrett's two solo albums did not sell as well as those of his former bandmates, but were unusual and intriguing enough to attract Peel's attention; he was the only Radio One DJ to play tracks from the first, and Barrett was booked for a session (details below - a second BBC session was recorded at the time of the second album for Bob Harris).

As the Syd Barrett legend began to grow, with appreciation of his songwriting skills combining with accounts of his sometimes alarming behaviour, his Peel session began to be valued as an addition to his slim catalogue of recorded work. Therefore it was one of the sessions selected for the penultimate Top Gear in 1975 and was repeated again in 1981, illustrating how Barrett's music, unlike the later work of Pink Floyd, appealed to the post-punk generation. The appearance of a new biography and a further set of reissues of his work in 2010 shows that his influence is ongoing.


One session only. Available on "The Peel Session" (1988, Strange Fruit) and on "The Radio One Sessions" (2004, Strange Fruit)

1. Recorded 1970-02-24. First broadcast 14 March 1970. Repeated 30 May 1970, 22 September 1975, 30 April 1981, 22 June 1982.

  • Baby Lemonade / Effervescing Elephant / Gigolo Aunt / Terrapin / Two Of A Kind


  • ‘He didn’t talk to us (during the session); he talked to Dave Gilmour who’d tell us what he thought Syd had said.’ [1]


  • Syd Barrett (Guitar, Vocals)
  • Dave Gilmour (Organ, Bass, Guitar)
  • Jerry Shirley (Drums)

Festive Fifty Entries


Other Shows Played

(The list below is researched only from the database of this site and is almost certainly incomplete. Please add more information if known.)


(The list below was compiled only from the Cover Versions page of this site. Please add more information if known.)

Artist | Track | First Known Play

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