|The cover depicts one business man being burnt by another.|
Much of the music and lyric on this album revolve around the sad fate of their old friend and group leader, Syd Barret. In fact the first song, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond - Parts I - V) is clearly reflecting on the fate of Syd. This first song runs at 13:40 minutes and was originally attended to be the only track on side 1 but the original version ran at over 27 minutes so it had to be split into 2 tracks. Back in the day of vinyl there was about a 25 minute limit of music per side. Because of this limitation the song was split into 2 and the second half of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" runs another 12:31 minutes and is the final track on the album. This is simply an amazing piece of music that never grows old and is always a joy to listen to. The opening notes by David Gilmour are smooth and jazzy and could be from another world and float softly like the sea, slowing heading toward the shore. At about the 4 minute mark their is a change that moves the music at a quicker pace finally leading to Roger Waters on vocal at the 8:48 mark with the words, "Remember when you were young.....". Theres some great use of the sax in this song that has a magical jazz bounce. From the opening note of this first track the listener is captivated. This is a truly an album that must be heard through.
Next up is "Welcome to the Machine" which begins with the sounds of a huge machine, which if I remember correctly is Pink Floyd's opinion of the music industry at the time, which they often, and still do fight with. Gilmour is on vocal here and it is classic 1970's rock with a little message thrown in for flavor. I always imagine that this is the song which inspired the amazing album cover.
What follows next is "Have a Cigar" which with it's funk beat and guest vocalist, Roy Harper we are taken on a trip when Pink Floyd was signed to their first record deal. At least that's how I see it. Harper was used apparently because the band wanted an outside party to sing the lyrics as if he was an outsider. This was probably unnecessary as Harper really sounds a lot like Gilmour! The best line in this song is the record man asking, "Which one is Pink?" as he signs them to a "huge deal".
The final non "Shine On" number starts off with a FM radio playing in the background, followed by acoustic guitar and David Gilmour on vocal with "Wish You Were Here". This is truly a great song and although this is once again about Syd we can all think of our lost loved ones as the song moves on with it smooth lyrics and soothing guitar. The FM radio we heard at the start over takes the song and it fades out.
The second part of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" completes the album with another 12+ minutes of mystical music. Once again this track, like part 1 is simply enjoyable to listen to and is relaxing and refreshing to it's audience, No big themes here other then wonderful music.
To demonstrate how strong this material is David Gilmour's Pink Floyd would continue to open all their live performances with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and of course treat each audience with "Wish You Were Here" (above).
This for me is the last great work done by the original 4 members of Pink Floyd. There is some good work to come from the 4 however trouble was brewing for the Floyd.