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"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is a 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 French 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 was ultimately split into two parts and used to bookend the album.


According to David Gilmour and Nick Mason 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, it needed to be re-recorded because excessive 'spill' from other instruments could be heard on the drum tracks.

In another incident, Syd Barrett wandered into the studio (heavyset, with a completely shaved head and eyebrows) while the band was recording Wish You Were Here, although Nick Mason has since stated that he's not entirely certain whether "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was the particular song being recorded when the man was in the studio. Due to his drastically changed appearance, the band could not recognize him for some time.

When they eventually recognized Barrett, Waters was so distressed 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 [Barrett] stood up and said, 'Right, when do I put my guitar on?'" keyboardist Richard 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 subsequently slipped away during the party for Gilmour's wedding (which was, coincidentally, also on that day). It was the last time any of the other band members saw him.

Gilmour confirmed this story, although he could not recall which song they were working on when Syd showed up. (One of the photographs in Nick Mason's book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd appears to have been taken that day (page 211); it is captioned: Syd Barrett at Abbey Road Studios, 5 June 1975).

Parts I–V

As neither the original vinyl release (1975) nor the CD re-release actually delineates precisely the various divisions, the make-up of the Parts below is based on a comparison of the recorded timings with the identifications in the published sheet music. Without benefit of the publication, it is easy to perceive Parts I and II as Part I, Part III as therefore Part II, and so on, with the extensive postlude of Part V (at 11:10) as the beginning of the fifth section.

Part I (Wright, Waters, Gilmour; from 0:00 – 3:54) begins with the fading-in of a dense G-minor 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 followed by a lengthy guitar solo played by David Gilmour on a Fender Stratocaster (neck pickup) using a heavily compressed sound and reverb. The harmony changes from G minor to D minor at 2:29, then to C minor, and back to G minor. This is repeated again, and the part ends with the synth pad fading into the background.

Part II (Waters, Gilmour, Wright; from 3:55 – 6:27) begins with a four-note theme (B♭, F, G, 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 Parts I and II). This part includes a second solo by Gilmour. Nick Mason starts his drumming after the fourth run-through of the four-note theme, which is the point where the riffs get into a fixed tempo, in 6/8 time.

Part III (Gilmour, Wright, Waters; from 6:28 – 8:42) begins with a Minimoog synthesizer solo by Richard Wright. This part includes a third Gilmour guitar solo which is bluesy in tone. When performed on the Animals tour, Gilmour added distortion to the guitar for this solo.

Part IV (Waters, Gilmour, Wright; from 8:43 – 11:09) Roger Waters is on lead vocals, with David Gilmour, Richard Wright and female backing vocalists on harmonies.

Part V (Waters, Gilmour, Wright; from 11:10 - 13:30) Part IV is followed by two guitars repeating an arpeggio riff for about a minute. A baritone saxophone overlays the sounds, played by Dick Parry. It ends as the saxophone changes from a baritone saxophone to a tenor saxophone. After, a time signature switch from 6/8 to 12/16 creates the appearance that the tempo speeds up, though the arpeggio guitar part remains unchanged, in the background. The sax solo is accompanied by an ARP string synthesizer keyboard sound. A machine-like hum fades in and segues into "Welcome to the Machine".

Parts VI–IX

Part VI (Wright, Waters, Gilmour; from 0:00 – 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 Richard Wright comes in playing an ARP String Ensemble Synthesizer and after a few measures, several rhythm guitar parts (Gilmour played 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 Mini-Moog Synthesizer comes in to play the opening solo. At the two minute mark, Wright's Mini-Moog 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 played 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, 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 12/16 back to the 6/8 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 V (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 VII to VIII. A solid progression of funk rhythm 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, a short part of the melody of "See Emily Play" (at 12:07), one of Syd Barrett's signature Pink Floyd songs, can be heard. 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 G Major, a Picardy third.

Live performances

The song was first performed on the French tour in June 1974 as "Shine On". It was first introduced as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" on the British tour in November 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.

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 solo in Part 4) 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.

David Gilmour performed almost the whole suite (save part 9) at his 2001 and 2002 semi-unplugged concerts (which were documented on his 2002 David Gilmour in Concert DVD) and has performed Parts 1–3 & 5 (in a new arrangement) on his 2006 On an Island solo tour.

Gilmour performed Parts 1-5 on his Live in Gdańsk CD on disc 2 and on DVD in the 4-disc edition of the album. The 5-disc edition and the online downloads available in the 3- and 4-disc editions include Parts 1-5 recorded in Venicemarker and Viennemarker in 2006.

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.


Recorded January to July 1975 at Abbey Road Studiosmarker, Londonmarker.

Edited versions

Two different edited versions of the composition have appeared on compilation albums.

A Collection of Great Dance Songs
The version on this compilation album was cut significantly. Parts IV, V (sax solo), VI, VIII and IX were dropped completely. Parts V and VII are linked by the guitar solo from earlier in Part V. Lastly, the riff that links Parts VII and VIII is repeated several times as the song segues into the introductory radio passage from "Wish You Were Here".

The Best of Pink Floyd]]


"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" features on all the below releases:


Wish You Were Here (Original release) - Pink Floyd, 1975

A Collection of Great Dance Songs (Edited version) - Pink Floyd, 1981

Delicate Sound of Thunder (live version, Parts 1-5) - Pink Floyd, 1988

PULSE (live version, Parts 1-5 & 7) - Pink Floyd, 1995

Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (Edited version) - Pink Floyd, 2000

In the Flesh - Live (live version, Parts 1-8) - Roger Waters, 2000

Live in Gdansk (live version, Parts 1-5) - David Gilmour, 2008


Delicate Sound of Thunder (VHS, Part 1 only) - Pink Floyd, 1988

PULSE (VHS & DVD, Parts 1-5 & 7) - Pink Floyd, 1995 (VHS) 2006 (DVD)

In the Flesh - Live (DVD, Parts 1-8) - Roger Waters, 2000

David Gilmour in Concert (DVD, Parts 1-5 & Parts 6-8) - David Gilmour, 2002

Remember That Night (DVD & BD, Parts 1-5) - David Gilmour, 2007

Live in Gdansk (DVD, Parts 1-5) - David Gilmour, 2008


Parts I-V was the final track played over the air on WBCN before it switched to all digital internet streaming. The Bostonmarker, Massachusetts radio station had Pink Floyd songs in heavy rotation for much of the station's history.


  1. "A Rambling Conversation with Roger Waters concerning All this and that - Interviewed by Nick Sedgewick", October 1975
  2. "Wish You were Here", Rolling Stone, December 2004
  3. "Shine On!", Total Guitar, September 1996
  4. David Gilmour interview, "Q Magazine", June 1999
  5. La Repubblica, 3 February 2006, translation here

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