Syd Barrett

Late Night

Song Review by

"Late Night" occupies a special place in the mythology of Syd Barrett's solo career, being one of two songs (alongside "Swan Lee" that he cut with producer Peter Jenner on May 13 1968, at his first ever lone recording ssession. A second version was then recorded on May 28 and it is this take that was retained for eventual use as the closing track on The Madcap Laughs, Barrett's debut album. The instrumental backing track alone was later dusted off for inclusion within the Opel portion of the Crazy Diamond box set.

"When I woke up today and you weren't there to play...." Over the mournful cries of sketchy electric guitar, with just a hint of percussion deep beneath it, Barrett intones a lyric of gentle loneliness, regret and devotion - "the way you kiss will always be a very special thing to me." As we enter the instrumental break, a band moves in behind him, but the mood of the lyric remains unbroken and, besides, their presence is fleeting enough that, as the song closes, the guitar alone remains, still keening quietly and ultimately unaccompanied, to itself.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Madcap Laughs 1970 Capitol / EMI Records 3:10
Opel 1989 Capitol / EMI / EMI Music Distribution 3:19
Octopus: The Best of Syd Barrett 1992 Cleopatra
Crazy Diamond 1994 Capitol / EMI Records / Harvest / EMI 3:19
The Best of Syd Barrett: Wouldn't You Miss Me? 2001 Capitol / EMI Records / Harvest / EMI 3:14