Song of the Day #5,423: ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)’ – Pink Floyd

Continuing my look at 1975, first by counting down my own top albums of that year.

#2 – Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

It might be nostalgia that has this album so high on this list, but who am I to argue with nostalgia? After all, as Mad Men‘s Don Draper famously said, nostalgia is a “twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.”

Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here is the album I most associate with my high school years. And like Draper’s slide carousel, the album is a time machine. It teleports me back into the body of a 16-year-old kid bonding with new friends over old music.

Pink Floyd was the band my friends and I most admired, and Wish You Were Here was the album we most loved. It didn’t matter that we were 15 years late.

This was Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album and their first since the mega-success of 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s their third most popular, after The Wall and Dark Side, and among their best-reviewed.

Thematically, Wish You Were Here is both a critique of the music industry and a tribute to Syd Barrett, whose mental illness led to his departure from the band years earlier. The album is bookended by the nine-part, largely instrumental ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond,’ written about Barrett.

In between are a pair of songs — ‘Welcome to the Machine’ and ‘Have a Cigar’ — about the pitfalls of the music biz. The latter segues into ‘Wish You Were Here,’ perhaps the band’s best song, an acoustic stunner about embracing life in the face of uncertainty.

I’ve written here before about my friends and I stuffing the ballot box to get ‘Wish You Were Here’ selected as our junior year prom theme. I’ll always be proud of that.

[Part 1 (0:00-3:53): Instrumental]

[Part 2 (3:53-6:26): Instrumental]

[Part 3 (6:26-8:40): Instrumental]

[Part 4 (8:40-11:08)]

[Verse 1: Roger Waters]
Remember when you were young
You shone like the Sun

[Refrain: Roger Waters & David Gilmour]
Shine on, you crazy diamond

[Verse 2: Roger Waters]
Now there’s a look in your eyes
Like black holes in the sky

[Refrain: Roger Waters & David Gilmour]
Shine on, you crazy diamond

[Chorus 1: Roger Waters]
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom
Blown on the steel breeze
Come on, you target for faraway laughter
Come on, you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine

[Verse 3: Roger Waters]
You reached for the secret too soon
You cried for the Moon

[Refrain: Roger Waters & David Gilmour]
Shine on, you crazy diamond

[Verse 4: Roger Waters]
Threatened by shadows at night
And exposed in the light

[Refrain: Roger Waters & David Gilmour]
Shine on (Shine on), you crazy diamond (You crazy diamond)

[Chorus 2: Roger Waters]
Well, you wore out your welcome with random precision
Rode on the steel breeze
Come on, you raver, you seer of visions
Come on, you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine

[Part 5 (11:08-13:31): Instrumental]

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,423: ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)’ – Pink Floyd

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    After initially dismissing Pink Floyd as “stoner” music based on the kids I knew in high school who would get high with the band’s albums as their soundtrack or while going to see laser shows featuring Pink Floyd, I later came to really appreciate their music – particularly Dark Side of the Moon (the first CD I ever bought) and this album.

    • Amy says:

      I so meticulously avoided mentioning the obvious connection between the pull of Pink Floyd for high schoolers and the allure of drugs during those formative years, and then you led with it! ;p

  2. Amy says:

    I’m afraid to ask what song trumped the one you all knew would be the perfect fit? For me, Pink Floyd is the band my kid brother became completely infatuated with after I was off at college becoming entranced with REM.

    Many years later when I taught at a high school, the very good music ensemble there devoted a night to performing Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. That was already the early 2000s, yet the pull of this “old” music remained solid for high school students.

    • Clay says:

      It’s interesting that Pink Floyd seems to be a high school band while R.E.M. is a college band. College is where I immersed myself in R.E.M. as well. Is it something about the sound of those bands, or just their reputation?

  3. Reb says:

    1975 was ground zero for me, as a freshman in college whose first move at orientation was directly to the campus radio station (good old WVKR, Poughkeepsie NY). 2-5 are all extremely solid choices. #1 has to be from Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks…the only question is whether it will be Tangled Up in Blue, Shelter From the Storm or Simple Twist of Fate. I’m going with Tangled….

    • Clay says:

      I won’t spoil tomorrow’s selection, but I will note that I have a rule not to repeat any Song of the Day, so if I were to go with Blood on the Tracks, I wouldn’t be able to feature either of those songs. 😀

  4. Peg says:

    I remember your love for this group and it’s music. I remember the Cleveland Rock Hall featuring a brick wall when they had an exhibition of Pink Floyd. Also I just love that Don Draper episode that featured the scene you referred to. Nice memories ❤️

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