Shine On You Crazy Diamond



"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is an epic nine-part Pink Floyd composition with lyrics written by Roger Waters, in tribute to former band member Syd Barrett, and music written by Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour. It was first performed on their 1974 tour. It was recorded for the 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here. The song was intended to be a side-long composition like "Atom Heart Mother" and "Echoes," but the song grew longer than a single side of vinyl would allow. It was split into two parts and used to bookend the album.

According to David Gilmour and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, on the Wish You Were Here episode of In the Studio with Redbeard, the band recorded a satisfactory take of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", but because of a new mixing console which was installed at Abbey Road, excessive echo from the other instruments all over the drums caused the band to re-record it. Nick Mason stated "With the invention of 16 track and 2-inch tape there was the belief for quite a while that there would be something wrong with editing tape that big. Consequently whenever we played these pieces, they had to be played from beginning to end. Particularly for Roger (Waters) and myself being the rhythm section, which would be laid down first, this was a fairly tough business because the whole thing had to be sort of right".

In another incident, a heavyset man with a completely shaved head and eyebrows wandered into the studio while the band was recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", although Nick Mason has since stated that he's not entirely certain whether this was the particular song being recorded when the man was in the studio. The band could not recognise him for some time, when suddenly one of them realised it was Syd Barrett. At that time, Barrett had gained a lot of weight and had shaved off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and the seven years gap meant that it took sometime for his ex-bandmates to identify him. Eventually, they realized who he was and Roger Waters was so distressed that he was reduced to tears. Someone asked to play the song again and Barrett said a second playback wasn't needed when they'd just heard it. Apparently, when "Wish You Were Here" was played, "He stood up and said, 'Right, when do I put my guitar on?' " keyboardist Rick Wright recalled. "And of course, he didn't have a guitar with him. And we said, 'Sorry, Syd, the guitar's all done.' When asked what he thought of Wish You Were Here, Barrett said it sounded a "bit old". He was greeted enthusiastically by the band but subsequently slipped away during the impromptu party for David Gilmour's wedding (which was, coincidentally, also on that day). It was the last time any of the other band members saw him. Gilmour recently confirmed this story, although he could not recall which song they were working on when Syd showed up.

Part I (Wright, Waters, Gilmour; from :00 – 3:56) begins with the fading-in of a dense synthesizer pad created with EMS VCS 3, an ARP Solina, a Hammond organ and the sound of wet fingers running around the rims of wine glasses filled with various amounts of water (recycled from an earlier project known as Household Objects). This is followed by plaintive Minimoog passages and a lengthy guitar solo played by David Gilmour on a Fender Stratocaster (neck and middle pickups) using a slightly overdriven sound and reverb. The harmony changes from G minor to D minor at 2:26, then modulates to C minor, then back to G minor. This is repeated again, and the part ends with the synth pad fading into the background.

Part II (Gilmour, Waters, Wright; from 3:55 – 6:28) begins with a four-note theme (B-flat, F, G (a minor third below the B-flat), E) repeated throughout much of the entire section. This theme leads the harmony to C major (in comparison to the use of C minor in part I), and this is because the last note is E (and not E-flat). This part includes a second solo by Gilmour. Nick Mason starts his drumming after the fourth runthrough of the four note theme, which is the point where riffs get into a fixed tempo. This theme is sometimes referred to as Syd's Theme.

Part III (Waters, Gilmour, Wright; from 6:29 – 8:43) begins with a Minimoog synthesizer solo by Richard Wright. This part includes a third Gilmour guitar solo which was bluesy in tone. When performed on the Animals tour, Gilmour added distortion to the guitar for this solo.

Part IV (Gilmour, Wright, Waters; from 8:44 – 11:10) Roger Waters is on lead vocals and David Gilmour, Richard Wright and female backing vocalists on harmonies.

Part V (Waters, from 11:10 – 13:30) has 2 guitars repeating a riff for about 1 minute. A baritone saxophone overlays the sounds, played by Dick Parry. It ends as the saxophones change from a baritone saxophone to a tenor saxophone. After, a time signature switch from 12/8 to common time (4/4) gives the appearance that the tempo speeds up the saxophone, and eventually drops the guitar and drums and opens to a tenor saxophone solo accompanied by an ARP string synthesizer keyboard sound and an arpeggio guitar riff that fades into the background. A machine-like hum fades in and segues into "Welcome to the Machine".

Part VI (Wright, Waters, Gilmour; from :00 – 4:55) begins with a howling wind from the preceding song "Wish You Were Here". As the wind fades away, David Gilmour comes in on the bass guitar. Roger Waters adds another bass guitar with a continuing riff pattern. Then Rick Wright comes in playing an ARP String Ensemble Synthesizer and after a few measures, several rhythm guitar parts (Gilmour would play the power chord rhythm part using his black Fender Stratocaster before switching to lap steel guitar for the solo in live performances in 1974 to 1977. Snowy White did the rhythm guitar parts on this track on the band's 1977 "In the Flesh" tour) and drums come in, a Minimoog Synthesizer comes in to play the opening solo. At the two minute mark, Wright's Minimoog and Gilmour's lap steel guitar play notes in unison before Gilmour does a lap steel guitar solo (the lap steel had open E minor tuning) with some counterpointing from Wright's synthesizers. It lasts for about 3 minutes (4 minutes when played on the band's "In the Flesh" tour) and Gilmour in each section would play an octave higher than the previous. The highest note he hit on the lap steel/slide solo was a B flat almost three octaves above middle C (one show in Cleveland on the tour he hit a G that was three octaves above middle C) followed by a reprise of the guitar solo from part IV (which was played by Snowy White in live performances on Pink Floyd's 1977 tour so David Gilmour could switch from lap steel guitar back to his Fender Stratocaster). The song then switches from 12/4 back to the 12/8 time signature found in parts II-V, giving the appearance of a slowed tempo and the vocals return.

Part VII (Waters, Gilmour, Wright; from 4:56 - 5:59) contains the vocal sections, almost identical to part IV (though half the length) before beginning the segue into part VIII.

Part VIII (Gilmour, Wright, Waters; from 6:00 – 8:59) brings in Roger Waters to play a second electric guitar for a high noted sound riff while Gilmour plays the arpeggio riff that bridges parts 7 to 8. A neat progression of beats in 4/4 plays for about 2 minutes before very slowly fading into the background as a continuous single keyboard note fades in around the 9 minute mark. When this section was played live on the band's 1977 "In The Flesh" tour, David Gilmour and Snowy White would be trading guitar solos in a duet (or known as the battle between Gilmour's black with white pick-ups Strat and Snowy's Goldtop Gibson Les Paul) which would extend this section upwards to between 5 and 10 minutes.

Part IX (Wright, from 9:00 – 12:22) is played in 4/4 time. David Gilmour in an interview described Part IX as "a slow 4/4 funeral march... the parting musical eulogy to Syd". The drums play for half of this part, and the keyboard plays for the final minute of the song before fading out. On the fade out, you can hear a short part of the melody of "See Emily Play" (at 12:07), one of Syd Barrett's signature Pink Floyd songs. When played live on the 1977 tour, the piano plays the chords on its own before the synthesizer solo was slowly changed from a synthesizer solo (early part of European leg) into half synthesizer and harmony guitar solo by Gilmour (higher notes) and White (lower notes) (on the end of the European leg and April and May, 1977 US performances) and then first a bluesy Gilmour solo followed by a harmony guitar solo by Gilmour (higher notes) and White (lower notes) (on the June and July, 1977 US performances) finally before ending with the synthesizer solo as on record. Part IX ends on a Picardy third.

The song was first performed on a French tour in June of 1974 as "Shine On". It was first introduced as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" on the British tour in November of 1974. The song was originally performed as one whole suite with some of the parts differing from the album versions with samplings of Syd's solo song "Dark Globe" during the opening of the song.

The multi-part version of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was first performed on the band's 1975 North American tour with "Have a Cigar" thrown into the middle of the piece. The 1975 versions were close to the final versions except parts one and nine were still not refined yet.

The band performed the whole 9-part "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" as part of the Wish You Were Here portion of their 1977 In the Flesh tour, with extra musicians Snowy White on guitar and backing vocals and Dick Parry on saxophones.

Part 1 mirrored the album version with Gilmour and Wright playing some parts of their guitar and synthesizer solos in a different way. Part 2's intro (or Syd's theme) was a little longer and Gilmour's guitar solos would vary night to night. Parts 3, 4 and 5 were as performed on the album although Wright, Gilmour and Parry would change up their respective instrument solo deliveries from parts 3 and 5 respectively from night to night. Gilmour added distortion to his guitar solo from Part 3 for these performances. Gilmour, Wright and Snowy White did the harmony backing vocals on the 1977 performances with Gilmour singing the highest parts, Wright the middle range and White sang the lowest harmony (his voice was clearly heard on SOYCD on an ROIO of Pink Floyd performing in Vienna, Austria from February 1, 1977).

The winds from the end of the previous song Wish You Were Here began Shine On You Crazy Diamond Part 6 which had a longer intro with Waters playing only the continuing G bass pattern that he did on record instead of the solitary bass thumps which were done by bass drum. Then Wright comes in on synthesizers and Gilmour plays a few chords on his black Stratocaster before switching to his lap steel guitar for the remainder of this secion which had a longer lap steel solo from Gilmour than on its studio counterpart. Touring guitarist Snowy White played rhythm guitar and did the guitar solo from Part 4 so Gilmour could switch guitars (from his red Janson lap steel guitar back to his black with white pickup Fender Stratocaster which Gilmour began the track with). Part 7 was like it was on the album (except on the final performance in Montreal, Roger Waters changed some of the lyrics like "Nobody Knows Where You Are" to "Nobody Knows Where We Are" and "Pile on many more layers" to "Pile on many more years"). Part 8 was longer and was now guitar solos from Gilmour and White unlike the album version (where it was a keyboard solo) and this section would be between three and ten minutes longer than the studio versions. Part 9 started with a long piano intro from Wright before what was initially a synth solo (played either by a roadie or Dick Parry) with some lap steel accompaniment from Gilmour. As the tour progressed to last of European shows and the first American leg, Part 9 changed into a half synthesizer half harmony lead guitar solo from Gilmour (higher harmonies) and White (lower harmonies). The last US leg had a bluesy guitar solo from Gilmour after the piano started the section and then the harmony guitar solos before ending like on the original album with a Wright keyboard solo and a mirror ball was risen from behind the stage to in front of Mr. Screen. Then the band would say "good night" before the encores.

Parts 1–5 of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" became a staple of Pink Floyd's live performances from 1987 until 1994. The track opened shows for most of the A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Delicate Sound of Thunder tours of 1987/88/89 and the tour closing performance at Knebworth in 1990 except for the first eleven performances where "Echoes" was the show opener before the band proceeded to play all of Momentary Lapse in the rest of the first half in a slightly different sequence to the album.

A condensed edition of the track (without the Gilmour's solo on Part 3) would then open the second half of the shows on the group's 1994 The Division Bell and tour (documented on P*U*L*S*E) except on shows where all of The Dark Side of the Moon was performed when "Shine On" opened the first half and in the last month and a half of the tour the band added part 7 to Parts 1–5.

Most recently, David Gilmour performed almost the whole suite (save parts 8 and 9) at his 2001 and 2002 semi-unplugged concerts (which were documented on his 2002 David Gilmour in Concert DVD) and has performed Parts 1–5 (in a new arrangement) on his 2006 "On an Island" solo tour.

Roger Waters has also performed the song on his 1999 and 2000 tours documented on his In the Flesh Live album and DVD which was a condensed parts 1–7. Part 6 on these performances had a lap steel solo from Jon Carin then guitar solos from Doyle Bramhall II and Snowy White. Then on Waters' 2002 tour, he played all nine parts like on record (although part 8 was shortened). Recently, an abridged version of parts 1–5 has appeared on Waters' 2006 The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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