Label: Pink Floyd Records – PFRLP9, Pink Floyd Records – 88875184261 Format: LP Country: US Released: Oct 14, 2016 Genre: Rock Style: Art Rock, Prog Rock
Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 12 September 1975 through Harvest Records and Columbia Records, their first release for the latter. Based on material Pink Floyd composed while performing in Europe, Wish You Were Here was recorded over numerous sessions throughout 1975 at Abbey Road Studios in London.
The album's themes include criticism of the music business, alienation, and a tribute to founding member Syd Barrett, who had left seven years earlier due to his deteriorating mental health; Barrett coincidentally visited the band during the album's production. Like their previous record, The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Pink Floyd used studio effects and synthesisers. Guest singers included Roy Harper, who provided the lead vocals on "Have a Cigar", and Venetta Fields, who added backing vocals to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". To promote the album, the band released the double A-side single "Have a Cigar" / "Welcome to the Machine".
Wish You Were Here is Floyd's second album with a conceptual theme and was written entirely by Roger Waters. It reflects his feeling that the camaraderie that had served the band was, by then, largely absent. The album begins with a long instrumental preamble and segues into the lyrics for "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", a tribute to Syd Barrett, whose mental breakdown had forced him to leave the group seven years earlier. Barrett is fondly recalled with lines such as "Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun" and "You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon".
Wish You Were Here is also a critique of the music business. "Shine On" crosses seamlessly into "Welcome to the Machine", a song that begins with an opening door (described by Waters as a symbol of musical discovery and progress betrayed by a music industry more interested in greed and success) and ends with a party, the latter epitomising "the lack of contact and real feelings between people". Similarly, "Have a Cigar" scorns record industry "fat-cats" with the lyrics repeating a stream of cliches heard by rising newcomers in the industry, and including the question "by the way, which one's Pink?" asked of the band on at least one occasion. The lyrics of the next song, "Wish You Were Here", relate both to Barrett's condition and to the dichotomy of Waters' character, with greed and ambition battling with compassion and idealism.