Writers: Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour
Producer: Pink Floyd
Recorded: January to July 1975 at Abbey Road Studios in London
Released: September 1975
|David Gilmour — vocals, guitar
Roger Waters — bass
Rick Wright — keyboards
Nick Mason — drums
Dick Parry — saxophone
|Wish You Were Here (Columbia, 1975)
The opening and closing track of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is divided into nine parts. The first five parts open the album, while the last four finish it.
The song was premiered in a 1974 concert in Paris, before recording began on Wish You Were Here.
“Shine On…” was originally intended to be part of an album titled Household Objects that Pink Floyd had planned as the follow-up to The Dark Side Of The Moon. The idea was for that album to be recorded without any musical instruments, instead using objects such as kitchen utensils and wineglasses filled with varying levels of water. It was abandoned after a handful of recording sessions.
“Shine On…” was inspired by and is about Pink Floyd cofounder and guitarist Syd Barrett, who led the band in their early days but whose drug-induced emotional problems led to him being dismissed in 1968.
Ironically, Barrett turned up at the studio unannounced during the recording of the song. As the group listened to playbacks, Barrett asked them, “Why bother? You've heard it once already.” None of his former bandmates recognized Barrett — they all thought he was a studio engineer.
Pink Floyd had a difficult time recording “Shine On…”, including trashing one version to which an engineer had inadvertently added a distracting echo effect.
The recording of Wish You Were Here was also made more difficult by personal problems within the band — singer-bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason were both going through divorces at the time.
Singer-guitarist David Gilmour and keyboardist Rick Wright, however, have cited this as their favorite Pink Floyd album.
Wish You Were Here went Number One on the album charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.
Shortly after Pink Floyd finished the album, they headlined the Knebworth Festival in England, using quadraphonic sound and a replica of a Spitfire airplane that crashed into the stage during the show.