Five fantastic long songs that you never want to end

These songs still end too soon.
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“SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND” by Pink Floyd – 1975 (13:33)

“Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” written by three members of Pink Floyd as a tribute to founding member Syd Barrett, exists in many forms. This entry refers to the best-known original album cut from Wish You Were Here. It opens the album. A second section of the song – equally long – closes the album. And you can find live versions of David Gilmour performing the entire thing, which can run over 20 minutes.

This 13-minute track is the best stand-alone piece of music. The slow-building intro features Richard Wright’s keyboards enveloping the listener in a primordial morass before Gilmour’s guitar begins piercing through. Eventually, a bluesy melody line emerges.

Then, almost nine minutes in, Roger Waters’ vocals recall Barrett – “Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun – Shine on you crazy diamond.” Barrett had to leave the band after their early success in the late ‘60s due to mental health issues likely exacerbated by his heavy drug usage. The music and the lyrics are epic and tortured, as only Pink Floyd could do.

The follow-up album to Wish You Were Here inverted the formula. Animals opened and closed with a short, simple matching set of songs, which bookended three epics, all of which ran more than ten minutes, and any one of which could have been on this list. Indeed, the longest of them – the 17-minute “Dogs” is often cited as one of the very best very long songs in rock and roll. But I’ll stick with “Crazy Diamond.”

“Come on you raver, you seer of visions – Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine…”

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