“The Dark Side Of The Moon” which raised PINK FLOYD to the very top of popularity and printed new pages in the history of rock music, made a difficult task before the band by destroying their ambitions that they would ever be able to create something similar to it. However, on September 12, 1975, “Wish You Were Here” came out, a powerful album worthy of its predecessor, which until today is one of their authentic masterpieces, with 15 million copies sold and also one of the most successful. It is inspired by the tragic fate of the founder of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, the alienation that ruled among the members of the band during that period, and the lack of morality in the music industry, so it is not surprising that Gilmour and Wright, for its emotions and complexity, cited “Wish You Were Here” as their favorite album.
In early October 1973, Pink Floyd went into the studio and started working on their ninth album. According to Waters, they were creatively and physically exhausted, and the success of “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, which at that time was still at the top of the charts and tour that accompanied it, brought great expectations from the band. They felt the obligation to do something new, but the inertia that seized them did not produce positive results. Things seemed even more difficult because guys were no longer as close as they used to be, and each of them wanted space for himself. The band manager, in search of a solution, succeeded to persuade even Syd Barrett (who was forced to withdraw as early as 1968. due to the consequences caused by excessive consumption of LSD) to join them in the studio, but after only three days spent with him, it was clear that Syd was lost forever. Several unsuccessful attempts followed, but Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason finally returned to the studio in January 1975, when Waters‘s idea revived hope for a new album. Given that the band members rarely found themselves in the same place at the same time, their relationship overriding was, in addition to the bitter thoughts associated with Barrett, that the album was called “Wish You Were Here”.
The key moment occurred on June 5, 1975, during the final recording of the song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” when an unexpected guest appeared in the Abbey Road studio. Waters asked the audience if they knew him because he was not sure who that man was and what he was looking for, and then Wright realized it was Syd Barrett, with excess pounds, shaved heads and eyebrows. Totally unrecognizable, he looked like a middle-aged man, although he was only 29 years old. Waters, under the impression of a disturbing appearance of his lost friend, devoted the entire album to feel loneliness, alienation from people and cut off the world, just by the human feelings he saw in him. It was haunted by the words of the song “Jugband Blues”, the last thing Syd wrote for Pink Floyd: “It’s awfully considerate of you to think of me here, and I’m much obliged to you for making it clear, that I’m not here.”
This is a concept album as well as his predecessor from 1973. It contains five songs that are all without exception written by Roger Waters. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (from I to V whole) is the first song on the album and is dedicated to Barrett, even his name is covered in the initial letters of the name. As the introductory part, glass glasses of wine were used which were filled with different amounts of liquid and the sound was obtained by folding the fingers along their periphery. It is intertwined with the next “Welcome To The Machine”, which is a sharp criticism of the greed and gains that have dominated the world of music. Following is the only single from this album, “Have A Cigar” performed by Roy Harper and one of the two songs of Pink Floyd, featuring a guest vocal. He wears a similar message as the previous one with the mocking question “Oh by the way, which one’s Pink?” which were once asked by their associates not knowing that Pink Floyd was actually a band. “Wish You Were Here” starts with the well-known rifle Gilmour‘s twelve-year guitar and is also dedicated to Syd, but also to all those who feel lost. The album ends with another part of the song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (from the VI to IX whole) and the phenomenal instrumental rounds up the whole story.
“How I wish, how I wish you were here
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year…”
The cover was made in Los Angeles at the Warner Bros. studio and shows two stuntmen dressed up as businessmen, Ronnie Rondell and Danny Rogers as they shake hands while one of them burns in flames. The inspiration for the wrapper depicts situations in which people do not show their feelings for fear of being burned (in originally “getting burned” also the term in the music industry used in cases where musicians avoid paying taxes). On the back is another hidden message in the form of a seller without a face and without wrists in an empty suit, who sells his soul in the desert.
“Wish You Were Here” may not be revolutionary as “The Dark Side Of The Moon” nor ambitious as “The Wall” but definitely has a special place in the hearts of Floyd fans. This is the personal album of anyone who at least felt empty and nostalgic, and the echo of Gilmour‘s guitar with its melancholy sounds of listening to the listener, thus defying the time for more than forty years. Unfortunately, ten years later, Roger Waters left the band, and in 2005 these songs only played together again at the Live 8 Festival in London when the songwriter looked back: “It’s very emotional to stand here with the guys after so many years. who are no longer with us … And of course because of Syd. “
On June 26, 2012, after the BBC‘s first broadcast, John Edginton‘s documentary named Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here was released, featuring all four members of the band as well as other people who were part of this realization.