Jimmy Page never had the chance to witness Pink Floyd perform with Syd Barrett. By the time Page led The Yardbirds on their final tour in 1968, Pink Floyd had already decided to move forward without Barrett, their iconic frontman.
However, Page, the guitarist of Led Zeppelin, held Barrett’s contributions in high regard for their bold exploration of new sonic landscapes within rock music.
In a 2017 conversation with Phil Alexander, former editor of MOJO magazine, Page lamented not being able to experience Pink Floyd’s original lineup firsthand, expressing, “I really wish I could have!”
While The Yardbirds’ last shows leaned into psychedelic rock, Page remembered that their approach went beyond superficial drug influence and simple chords.
Despite his skepticism towards some artists under the psychedelic banner, he found Pink Floyd to be an exception. He believed the band was at the forefront of reshaping rock’s possibilities.
Recalling his exposure to Pink Floyd, Page told Alexander, “I did listen to their music and back then, I saw some of the footage that is now familiar to all of us.”
He commended Syd Barrett’s exceptional abilities, noting how he channeled his creativity to bring something unique and groundbreaking to the table.
Pink Floyd’s interpretation of psychedelia stood out as innovative and captivating, setting them apart from others that Page found lacking depth. Their experimental approach resonated deeply with him.
Speaking to Brad Tolinski, editor-in-chief of Guitar World magazine, as chronicled in the 2012 book “Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page,” Page compared Barrett’s impact on guitar music to that of Jimi Hendrix.
He praised Barrett’s songwriting during his early tenure with Pink Floyd as inspirational and unparalleled. Barrett’s ideas flowed abundantly and carried a positive spirit, showcasing his undeniable genius.
Sadly, Barrett’s mental health struggles led to his departure from Pink Floyd in January 1968, eventually leading him to leave the music industry altogether in 1972.
In the recently released documentary “Have You Got It Yet? In the Story Of Syd Barrett And Pink Floyd,” David Gilmour shared his regrets about his relationship with Barrett. Gilmour acknowledged that despite their youth, there might have been more they could have done.
He expressed a wish that he had defied Barrett’s family’s advice and visited him, believing that a simple friendly visit could have been beneficial for both.