Music / Wish You Were Here

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"How I wish, how I wish you were here/We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year/Running over the same old ground/What have we found? The same old fears/Wish you were here."

Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1975. The highly anticipated follow-up to The Dark Side of the Moon, it was made as a tribute to Syd Barrett, as well as a harsh criticism of the music industry. Infamously, Barrett showed up during the mixing of the album, and his abnormal behaviour and changed appearance reduced Roger Waters and Richard Wright to tears. Some reports actually place this event during sessions devoted to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", the song explicitly paying tribute to Barrett, although recollections are hazy about specifically which songs were being worked on.

Fan favourites include the title track and "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".

The album was listed at #211 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.


Tracklist:

Side One

  1. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)" (13:38)
  2. "Welcome to the Machine" (7:30)

Side Two

  1. "Have a Cigar" (5:24)
  2. "Wish You Were Here" (5:40)
  3. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)" (12:29)


Principal Members:

  • David Gilmour - lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer, keyboard, tape effects
  • Nick Mason - drums, percussion, tape effects
  • Roger Waters - lead vocals, bass, guitar, VCS3, tape effects
  • Richard Wright - keyboard, vocals, VCS3, clavinet


Trope On You Crazy Troper:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" has a couple of lines in this vein:
    You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
    (...) Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
    (...) come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!
  • Animal Motifs: "Wish You Were Here"
    We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl
  • The Blank: The interior art (or back art) depicts a faceless man in the desert dressed in business attire and hawking Pink Floyd records. To add to the effect, the man's wrists and ankles (the only parts of his body that show besides his "face") are invisible, implying that on some level he doesn't even exist, which ties in to the album's theme of absence.
  • Book Ends: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is divided into two parts.
    • The second half ends on the same note the first one begins on.
  • Breather Episode: "Have a Cigar", an upbeat and comical piece placed after the dark and gloomy "Welcome to the Machine". Both songs are critiques towards the music industry, but the former does so in a more lighthearted manner.
  • British English: "He loved to drive in his Jag-u-ar..."
  • Comically Missing the Point: "By the way/ Which one's Pink?"
  • Concept Album: The album was inspired by Syd Barrett's decline, and the band's struggles with fame, fortune and the music business, the same business that would devour Syd in The '60s.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: "Have a Cigar" describes one.
    We're just knocked out
    We heard about the sell-out
    You gotta get an album out
    You owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.
    • "Welcome to the Machine" is also sung from one's point of view, although this one is more in the style of The Devil Is a Loser.
  • Deconstruction: "Welcome to the Machine" deconstructs The Man Is Sticking It to the Man by pointing out that for all their illusions of rebellion and 'truth', rock stars and musicians ultimately become as big a cog of the corporate-driven music industry as the executives are.
    Welcome, my son, welcome to the machine
    Where have you been?
    It's alright, we know where you've been...
    [...]
    You bought a guitar to punish your ma
    And you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool
    So welcome to the machine.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: There is nearly nine minutes of instrumentals before the vocals enter in the first half of "Shine On". The second half has this too, with the vocals only entering at five minutes into the recording.
  • Epic Rocking: Every song on the album qualifies. However, the prize goes to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", whose various sections add up to 26:01, making it the longest Floyd song ever.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: The intro to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was done with the old "wet fingertip on the wine glass" trick, massively overdubbed, a remnant of the aborted Household Objects concept.
  • Fading into the Next Song: The whole album, basically.
  • Freaky Is Cool: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" says this about Syd Barrett.
    Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
    come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".
  • Gratuitous Panning: The synth pulses throughout "Welcome to the Machine" pan from left to right ear and back.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: When it came time to record "Have a Cigar", Roger Waters and David Gilmour each did a solo attempt and a duet (available in the 2011 special edition) but were still dissatisfied - Waters' case is even attributed to him blowing his voice singing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" - so they picked up Singer-Songwriter Roy Harper, who was also recording in Abbey Road and had Gilmour doing some guitar for him, to sing lead.
  • Homage: This album to Syd Barrett, particularly "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Wish You Were Here".
  • Limited Lyrics Song: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The first part has less than three minutes of lyrics in a song over 13 minutes long. The second part is about 12:30 minutes long and only has a minute's worth of lyrics.
  • Man Child: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"
    Come on, you boy child
  • Man on Fire: The Hipgnosis cover has a picture of two businessmen shaking hands with one of them on fire, which is a visual metaphor for being "burned" in the music industry. It was recreated in the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, when after crossing a tightrope, a British man took the hand of a dummy in a business suit that then caught fire, while the song of the same name was being played below.
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: Basically, the theme of "Welcome to the Machine". The band start out thinking they're edgy and rebellious, but the Machine is able to predict their every move and profit from it.
  • Mythology Gag: "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?" in "Have a Cigar" was a real question by a music agent.
  • Sampling: The "radio bridge" between "Have a Cigar" and "Wish You Were Here"
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was about (the now late) Syd Barrett's general craziness, before he left. He showed up at the studio by sheer coincidence while the rest of the band was recording the song, and no one recognized him for a while.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Near the end of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", the melody of the first line of "See Emily Play" is played during the keyboard outro.
    • The classical music heard during "Wish You Were Here" is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Fourth Symphony".
    • Arjen Anthony Lucassen covered "Welcome to the Machine" on his solo album Lost in the New Real.
    • The black shrink wrap on the first pressing of the album was inspired by the U.S. version of Roxy Music's album Country Life being packaged the same way to cover up the two topless women on the cover.
    • The faceless man on the back cover was influenced by René Magritte.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Pretty much the state of mind of the band just before and during the early sessions.
    David Gilmour: It was a very difficult period, I have to say. All your childhood dreams had been sort of realised and we had the biggest selling records in the world and all the things you got into it for. The girls and the money and the fame and all that stuff... Everything had sort of come our way and you had to reassess what you were in it for thereafter, and it was a pretty confusing and sort of empty time for a while.
  • Special Guest: Roy Harper sings lead on "Have a Cigar".
  • Uncommon Time: Parts of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".
  • Ur-Example: "Welcome to the Machine" is one for industrial songs, released the same year Throbbing Gristle formed.
  • Visual Pun: The Hipgnosis cover art has many images regarding absence - a swimmer who doesn't make a splash, a flying veil covering a nude woman, and a faceless "Floyd salesman".
  • Vocal Range Exceeded: "Welcome to the Machine", where one line required trickery to achieve the right pitch.
    David Gilmour: It was a line I just couldn't reach so we dropped the tape down half a semitone.

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