Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Shine On You Crazy Diamond - funeral anthem?

This has got a couple of plays at funerals up 'ere, as, too soon, survivors of the sixties pass from amongst us, possibly because they didn't take enough care of themselves, then or since, and possibly just lousy luck, the Grim Reaper being the cold-hearted old bastard he is.

You may feel that this is a plodding, pompous, over-lengthy portentous piece of 70s indulgence, or that it's a magnificent lament, at a kind of slow march tempo. It does brilliantly for the entry procession that Charles over on the Good Funeral Guide feels, quite rightly, should be revitalised.

By the time this came out, I wasn't much into big rock, but now I think it's a terrific funeral track, even if the departed was not a big star. Pink Floyd say it's about Syd Barret. For us, and with respect to the band and their lost founder, I don't think that matters. I think it's for every individual each of us sees as a diamond, shining out against the indifferent blackness of death, lighting up our lives before they depart.

"O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces...."

Some of their light stays with us.

My musical moods change with the winds, but just today, it seems to me goose-flesh, tears and beauty. Shine on.


  1. Love this track. Ever since I first heard it. I like the smooth perfection grating against the frustration, love and anger.

  2. Nice description, mon vieux! I missed this first time around, but was riveted by it at a funeral a couple of years ago.

  3. I've come over all nostalgic, not just because of this. I heard that Dory Previn's dead, aged 86. I feel old.

  4. It's jolting, Margaret, when a musical hero of my long, long-gone adolescence dies, because a) "he was only a couple of years older than me" and b) "he was immortal, obviously, just listen to...."

  5. When I was in my late teens/early 20's I was PA for a company director who, sadly, hung himself. He was in his 40's. At his funeral, they played the whole of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb and it was so incredibly 'right' that I have never, ever forgotten that moment.
    Thanks GM. Feels good to share that story with you. x

  6. Why, thank you CB, I appreciate that. I shall now hunt out "Comfortably Numb." And incidentally - that was a tough experience for a late teens/early 20s to get through!
    You remind us that when a funeral is good and works well, it's unforgettable, and when it's offhand, or just plain bad, it is - unforgettable....

  7. Like you, Gloria, I wasn't big on this at the time, but it has grown on me, mainly because it's been played at funerals. And that bit, when the guitars come in (3'55)? Powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing

  8. Welcome XP, thanks for dropping by.
    Interesting how a track can become appealing because it's played at funerals, isn't it? Not quite what I'd expected. And this piece has been requested just this afternoon, for a funeral next week.

  9. And coincidentally, this track will be played next week for a Floyd fan. Shine on!