Song of the Day: Pink Floyd – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

One of the most famous moments in Pink Floyd history took place on this day in 1975. While working on the album Wish You Were Here at Abbey Road Studios, in particular the song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” former frontman Syd Barrett wandered into the studio unrecognizable to his ex-bandmates as he was overweight and had a shaven head and eyebrows. It took some time for the band to recognize him, as late keyboardist Richard Wright explained in 1984:

“Roger was there, and he was sitting at the desk, and I came in and I saw this guy sitting behind him–huge, bald, fat guy. I thought, “He looks a bit…strange…” Anyway, so I sat down with Roger at the desk and we worked for about ten minutes, and this guy kept on getting up and brushing his teeth and then sitting–doing really weird things, but keeping quiet. And I said to Roger, ‘Who is he?’ and Roger said ‘I don’t know.’ and I said ‘Well, I assumed he was a friend of yours,’ and he said ‘No, I don’t know who he is.’ Anyway, it took me a long time, and then suddenly I realised it was Syd, after maybe 45 minutes. He came in as we were doing the vocals for Shine On You Crazy Diamond, which was basically about Syd. He just, for some incredible reason picked the very day that we were doing a song which was about him. And we hadn’t seen him, I don’t think, for two years before. That’s what’s so incredibly…weird about this guy. And a bit disturbing, as well, I mean, particularly when you see a guy, that you don’t, you couldn’t recognise him. And then, for him to pick the very day we want to start putting vocals on, which is a song about him. Very strange.”

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Barrett slipped out of the studio later in the day during a celebration of David Gilmour’s wedding to Ginger Hasenbein. The song, of course, went on to become one of Pink Floyd’s classics.

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