Syd Barrett Tributes from Bowie, Robyn Hitchcock, Wayne Coyne and More

Syd was a major inspiration for me.  The few times I saw him perform in London at UFO and the Marquee clubs during the 60s will forever be etched in my mind. He was so charismatic and such a startlingly original songwriter. Also, along with Anthony Newley, he was the first guy I’d heard to sing pop or rock with a British accent. His impact on my thinking was enormous. A major regret is that I never got to know him. A diamond indeed.”
David Bowie, NME 2006

A Collection of Great Dance Covers

A range of artists play tribute in the videos below to Pink Floyd’s crazy diamond, Syd Barrett: Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus and Mary Chain, Robyn Hitchcock, The Soft Boys, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, Hope Sandoval (formerly of Mazzy Star), Love and Rockets, Hawkwind, David Bowie – hey, even Soundgarden (and for the record, both pearl Jam and the Melvins have covered “Interstellar Overdrive” – but then again, who hasn’t)…

We begin with “Interstellar” covers by Camper Van Beethoven and Teenage Fanclub…

Jam band moe. has covered “Interstellar Overdrive” (or incorporated it into their own songs) since their early gigs.  Download these two 1995 shows for some examples: Sept 1st and Sept 14.  Here’s a more recent example from 2008.

Arguably no artist is more associated with Syd Barrett than Robyn Hitchcock.  From Syd’s influence on his work with The Soft Boys to becoming virtually a Syd tribute act in recent years (for example, check out these sets from 2006 and 2007 – in which he plays the entire Piper at The Gates of Dawn plus other songs by Syd).

Ratdog commonly jammed on “Matilda Mother” (download dozens of examples here).   

Like Hitchcock, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has recurringly discussed Syd Barrett’s influence on him.  The association between the two artist is so strong MTV even mentioned Wayne in Syd’s obituary!
From covering “Dark Globe” to picking “Effervescing Elephant” on playlists and being a go-to interviewee at Syd’s death, Wayne is fully aware of Syd’s casted shadow on him, saying in shortly after Syd’s death, “I’d always held out hope, because we’d go to England so much – we’ve been to Cambridge (where Syd lived) quite a few times – and I always held out hope that we’d accidentally drive by his house and he’d be out in his garden out there. And I’d say, “Hey Syd!” Just a hello. ‘Cause he never wanted to come out in public anymore. People would see him riding his bike or flying a kite. That’s it. But sadly that dream will never be now.” 

According to January 2004’s Wired, Syd Barrett’s “No Good Trying” was the third most played song on Wayne’s iPod.  Shortly before that, Wanye concluded his guest playlist for iTunes with “Effervescing Elephant.”

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