News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Shine on, shine on you crazy diamond

Which one's Pink?

It may be the oldest joke in rock 'n' roll.

Whenever the band Pink Floyd took the stage, someone inevitably shouted the question.

Actually the band didn't have a member named Pink. It was named for two obscure bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Syd Barrett, who died several days ago, came up with the name for the psychedelic band, which he co-founded in 1965. Thirty years later, his influence echoes through the earbuds of another pimple-faced generation.

Like so many in his day of revolution and rebellion, Mr. Barrett fell into drug problems that, along with mental instability, eventually forced him out of the band.

At age 60, Mr. Barrett left this life in self-imposed obscurity, but he left with dignity, never selling out to the commercial bonanza that music became.

We're not always sure what to make of the Rolling Stones and other famous grandpas who are still rocking into the 21st century. They present to us a conflict, powerful music delivered by wrinkled bodies with gray hair.

Perhaps they remind us that the span between youth and the grave is shorter than a great guitar riff.

One of Pink Floyd's biggest albums came years after Mr. Barrett's departure. The tribute to their old troubled friend was entitled "Wish You Were Here."

It contained the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond."

The diamond shines on through his music.

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