Thursday, May 14, 2015

11: Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd

Those who know me might be surprised to learn that this is the only Pink Floyd track in the list. If we were talking about albums it would be a different story of course (you can't listen to one track on Dark Side of the Moon without listening to them all), but even so there are several stand-out tracks that made the long list. Comfortably Numb is incredibly strong but had nothing totally outstanding that caused it to be in; 'High Hopes' has that amazing slide guitar solo at the end and was in the list for a long long time... but in the end you have to be surprisingly ruthless and the fact that the sung section of High Hopes is frankly pretty unremarkable was enough to see it be the final song dropped from the list - it's at number 41.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond is different though. So much in the music, the words, the instruments used and the arrangements, but it's also somewhat unique as the only song I've ever heard on BBC Radios 1, 2, 3 AND 4. For those outside the UK, the BBC has number of national radio networks but primarily 5: Radio 1 does current pop, Radio 2 does older stuff and easier listening, Radio 3 does 'specialist' (usually classical, Jazz or World/Folk), Radio 4 does talk and Radio "5 Live" (don't ask what happened to the original Radio 5) does news and sport. Radio 1 broadcast a full Floyd concert late in 1994 when their album 'Division Bell' was top of the album chart; Radio 2 often play Floyd as it's the most natural home for it; Radio 3's "Late Junction" show (the very DEFINITION of eclectic as far as I can tell) once played the whole 25 minutes of Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts 1 to 9) in between some Polynesian chanting and Indian Sitar-based rock; Radio 4 played it as part of a documentary on Pink Floyd.

And then there's the story behind it - don't need to cover it here, just Google 'Syd Barrett' and 'Wish You Were Here'. What is amazing is that Syd showed up during the recording of the album, so wrecked from the drugs that the band didn't recognise him for a while, before quietly leaving in shock at the sight of how he had changed since they kicked him out of the band some seven years before.

There's nothing else to say really. Just listen to it. The version above is tracks 1 and 5 from the 'Wish You Were here' album played back-to-back to get all the various sections in.

No comments: