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DIAMONDS IN MUSIC

 

Diamond Songs

LET’S SING A SONG OF DIAMONDS

Be it as a symbol, a metaphor or a direct reference to the gemstone itself, diamonds have long fascinated songwriters, and consequently been featured in a range of hit songs by literally hundreds of  performers.  Among them the Bee Gees, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Elton John, the Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, Chaka Khan, Tom Waits, Blondie, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Jeff Beck, Grateful Dead and Sheryl Crow.

While all lists are subjectively compiled, MID House of Diamonds collected the following five songs referencing diamonds are among the best ever composed:

1. DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

Written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin for the Broadway production of “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the  song was first performed by Carol Channing in 1949, and recorded by  Ethel Merman the following year.

But, without doubt, the most iconic performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” was by Marilyn Monroe, in the 1953 film version of stage show. Dressed in pink satin and adorned with diamond jewelry, the actress performed most of the vocals herself, although several tough lines were overdubbed using the voice of Marni Nixon, who is a singer who also dubbed vocals for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

Men grow cold
As girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don’t lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

2. DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

Paying tribute to the legendary tagline by De Beers, which Advertising Age later selected as the best ad slogan of the 20th Century, the title track to the 1972 James Bond movie of the same name was sung by the British diva Shirley Bassey, who also had sung the title track of Goldfinger, an earlier hit in the James Bond series.

The song was written by John Barry and Don Black, who worked on the music for many of the James Bond films.

Diamonds are forever
They are all I need to please me
They can stimulate and tease me
They won’t leave in the nigh
I’ve no fear that they might desert me

 

3. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS

Written by John Lennon and released in 1967 as a track on the Beatles’ legendary Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album, it was long surmised that the song had more to do with psychedelic drugs than with gemstones, given the fact that first letters of the three nouns in the title spell L.S.D.

In an interview with the American Television host Dick Cavette, Lennon was adamant that this was never his intention. Referring to an incident involving his oldest child, Julian,  he said: “My son came home with a drawing of a strange-looking woman flying around. He said, ‘It’s Lucy in the sky with diamonds.’ I thought, ‘That’s beautiful.’ I immediately wrote the song about it.”

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

 

 

4. SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND

A nine-part song, most of which is instrumental, by the British progressive rock band Pink Floyd, Shine On You Crazy Diamond was written by Roger Waters, Richard Wright and David Gilmour in 1974 and was split into two parts as bookends on their 1975 concept album Wish You Were Here.

The song is a tribute to a former band member Syd Barrett, whose name is spelled out by the first letters of the words Shine You Diamond. A guitarist, lead singer and principal songwriter, Barrett left the band in 1968 amid speculation of mental illness and the excessive use of psychedelic drugs.

Remember when you were young
You shone like the sun
Shine on, you crazy diamond
Now there’s a look in your eyes
Like black holes in the sky
Shine on, you crazy diamond

 

 

 

5. DIAMONDS

As the first single from her seventh album, the song Diamonds by Rihanna, released in 2012, was an optimistic departure from her usual subject of unhealthy relationships. When asked about the mood of the song, she said: “It gives me a great feeling when I listen to it. The lyrics are hopeful and positive. It’s about love and the gears are different than what people will expect.”

The song was written by the Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler, who besides being a performer in her own right, has also  written material for Christina Aguilera and Madonna.

It was not the first time that Rihanna has referenced the world’s most popular gemstone in  a song. In her  2011 hit, We Found Love, she sings:  “Yellow diamonds in the light. And we’re standing side by side. As your shadow crosses mine. What it takes to come alive.”

Find light in the beautiful sea
I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I
We’re like diamonds in the sky
You’re a shooting star
I see a vision of ecstasy
When you hold me, I’m alive
We’re like diamonds in the sky

 

 

 

 

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LET’S SING A SONG OF DIAMONDS
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LET’S SING A SONG OF DIAMONDS
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Be it as a symbol, a metaphor or a direct reference to the gemstone itself, diamonds have long fascinated songwriters, and consequently been featured in a range of hit songs by literally hundreds of performers. The following five songs referencing diamonds are among the best ever composed.
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MID House of diamonds
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