Lyrics

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond

You were caught on 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!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

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!

Writer/s: WATERS, ROGER/GILMOUR, DAVID JON
Publisher: Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

Shine on you crazy diamond – Pink Floyd – Meaning

 Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond 

This song is dedicated to Syd Barret, one of the original founders of the band.

He wrote most of Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and appeared on their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets.

In this lines the band remember the big influence that he have on the music that they play.

His demons was drugs, fame and mental illness. And before them, Syd really shine and the vision that he put inside the band, is the foundation of the incredible sound of Pink Floyd.

 Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond 

This look in his eyes that seem black holes in the sky  refers to the large dilation of the pupils that people have while tripping under the effects of  LSD.

Blackened eyes filled completely with the silent madness of an individual that is tortured inside himself.

Many of the members noted him having such this strange look in his eyes that reflect the declining of mental health of Syd.

But at the end of all Syd Barrett was a big giant Diamond, that will continue to shine in the legacy he left as a great innovator in music.

 You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze 

The description of his character is all here. A crossfire between  a children, that don’t have self discipline, and a big star of music, that can have any thing he want. Like big quantities of LSD.

Blown on the steel breeze is an implicit reference to Syd being symbolized by the leaf in the song Dark Globe. In this song the band, represented by the willow tree, drops the leaf Syd, leaving him to the steel (cold) breeze (wind). Leaving someone out in the cold means excluding someone. Blowing off someone means to ignore it.

Syd was blown off by the band, as their parting occurred with the band simply not picking up Syd one day.

 Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine! 

Sometime when Sid is on the stage,he start playing different tunes or strumming on one chord the whole show. And people from the audience, make laughters for this behaviors, that happen with spotlight that show Syd in this weak way.

The lights show the nudity of Syd, and his soul and his mind. But the laughters maybe can meaning the auditory allucinations that he can heard when he use LSD.

The drugs turn Syd from an happy individual to a stranger. An inaccessible person alone inside his shell.

defining Syd a martyr, the band maybe blamed themeselves for trying to convice  he to write some great song. Another big hit. But Syd was more interested in exploring different way to do his art.

This was one of the major factors with LSD that lead to the deterioration of the personality and the mental health of this great aritst.

 You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond. 

The big goal of Syd was to discover all the secrets of the true meaning of life and all the big mysteries behind it.

And he use drugs to achieve that goal. But along the way, he get a mental illness. And some really great music.

We can see a reference to Dark side of the moon in this words, whose themes about madness were inspired dy Syd too.

But i think that this is a strong reference to the Syd’s last Pink Floyd song Jugband Blues :

“And I never knew the moon could be so big
And I never knew the moon could be so blue
And I’m grateful that you threw away my old shoes
And brought me here instead dressed in red”.

In this song Syd use the moon as a metaphor for madness.

 Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond. 

Children will perceive the shadows of furniture as a monster , like we see featured in a scene in the film The Wall. As Syd was thought to be a schizophrenic, the lines communicate the idea of being afraid of what is not actually there with hallucinations. Or this shadows can be the shadows of his past, that can’t leave him.

Another time the spotlight during the show appear. This light reveal all the weakness of Syd. And show his mental illness to the world.

This words end with a great guitar solo, where seems like if he scream, trying to tell us the torture of his soul. Between panic for shadows and humiliation showed by lights.

 Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze. 

A dedication to Syd like guitar player. A great innovator for this instrument.

Gilmour came up with 4 notes that became the basis for this. Roger Waters thought they conveyed emotions Barrett must have been feeling, and wrote lyrics about him.

This was a song very difficult to record. They redid it a few times before getting a version they liked.

 Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine! 

Here we can see the clear dedication of this song to a big artist. A man with a clear vision of his art, that build the foundations for a band that make the history of music.

Syd was a painter too, and was the real piper, that write most of the first album Piper at the gates of dawns. But he was a prisoner too, a prisoner of the drugs that have destroyed his life.

Conclusion

On the album Wish You Were Here, this song is split into 2 parts, with “Have A Cigar,” “Welcome To The Machine,” and “Wish You Were Here” in between. It was going to be continuous, but Waters decided it should be split.

Leave a comment or a different vision of the meaning of this song if you want. I leave you with the video of the Pulse version.

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