Newest Review: ... a fan of Barrett era Floyd but this touching tribute is just superb. Roger Waters takes on lead vocals and the track began with four chords... more
Wish Syd Was Here
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
Member Name: Jarisleif
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
Advantages: Some of the best guitar work you will ever hear
"Wish You Were Here" is the 9th studio album by British psychedelic rock band, Pink Floyd. It was released in 1975 on Harvest Records and produced by the band. The line-up for the album was David Gilmour (vocals/guitar), Roger Waters (vocals/bass), Nick Mason (drums) and Richard Wright (keyboards).
This is the second Pink Floyd album done as a concept album. The material was inspired by material composed and events that occurred while the band were touring. Originally, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" was intended as a side long composition, but Roger Waters decided to split it and join it with the other three songs. The album is a tribute to Syd Barrett but also captures the feelings Roger Waters had at the time about the loss of camaraderie the band once had. The album also serves to point out the darker side of the music industry, and how Waters felt betrayed by some of those who were meant to help bands along. In true Pink Floyd fashion, this album is a complex, stellar performance with intricate music and almost poetic lyrics.
"Shine on You Crazy Diamond (1-5)" begins the stunningly brilliant tribute to founding member of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, and pays tribute to the impact he had on the band as a member and a friend, and the music industry alike. It also chronicles his mental decline as he slid into madness. As the parts progress, you get the feel for his musical genius and how at the beginning his madness attributed to the genius of his music before taking over completely. There are many brilliant solos, bluesy riffs, and sound effects throughout the five parts. One sound effect is wet fingers rubbing the rims of glasses. Pink Floyd have a knack for taking the simplest sound effects and weaving them brilliantly through their music. Some solos have distortion, which adds to the mournful feel of knowing a friend is beyond your help. The use of a Hammond organ adds flair to the songs, and Dick Parry on saxophone is a wonderful addition.
"Welcome to the Machine" is the story of a child prodigy who has been groomed his whole life to make it big in the music industry. Once he gets there, the pressure and the fame are more than he can handle because no one prepared him for it. You can see how the music industry can chew someone up and spit them out if they are emotionally fragile to begin with. It is easily seen as another tribute to Syd, and also shows Roger Waters' feelings toward music industry bigwigs. It can also be seen metaphorically to describe life in general. By far the angriest track on the album, it gives a sense of the depth of anger Waters feels.
"Have a Cigar" is a chance for Roger Waters to unleash an angry fury of sarcasm against the music executives who do all they can to cash in on young, inexperienced music acts. The song begins with sound effects including laughter before a churning riff on bass and guitar. Other instruments rounding out the sound are electric piano, synthesiser and other guitars. The song ends with a guitar solo that is interrupted by synthesiser sound effects before fading off into the sound of a radio that is not quite tuned to a station. It is the most rock oriented song on the album. Roy Harper, an English folk singer, provided lead vocals. This is one of only two Pink Floyd songs with a guest lead vocalist.
"Wish You Were Here", as with the other songs on the album, is in reference to Syd Barrett. The title has two meanings, wishing he was still in the band, and wishing he was still coherent. The third meaning of it deals with Roger Waters' feelings of alienation toward other people during this time. Segueing from "Have A Cigar" via the sound of a car radio being tuned from one station to another, the car radio was recorded in David Gilmour's car. That sound is followed by Gilmour playing on a twelve string guitar with the sound processed to give it the tinny sound of music played on AM radio. There is also another effect that makes it sounds as if a car is accelerating and slowing down. The song contains several Gilmour solos with the accompaniment of scat singing. The end of the song is the final guitar solo fading, along with wind effects reminiscent of "One of These Days" from the "Meddle" album.
"Shine on You Crazy Diamond (6-9)" follows on from "Wish You Were Here" with an intro of howling wind. The wind effect fades into Gilmour on bass guitar, then Roger Waters on bass, followed joined by Richard Wright on a string synthesiser. Other instruments used are a lap steel guitar, keyboard and a clavinet. There are bluesy guitar riffs throughout, and moments where keyboards dominate, lending and ever changing feel that manages to stay tied together. David Gilmour has described part nine as "a slow 4/4 funeral march... the parting musical eulogy ". So many lyrics throughout each part have meanings not only in the band's history with Syd Barrett, but in his own life and how he lost control due to mental illness made worse because of drug use.
In summary, this is an outstanding album from start to finish. The music alone is brilliant, but the addition of the lyrics which are often thought provoking and very poetic only serves to make each song even better. It takes a certain flair to make great music, and each member of Pink Floyd has that flair. Together they work musical magic. This is one of those albums everyone should listen to, if only once, and even if they aren't into rock music. It is so much more than that, it is a fantastic, everlasting tribute to a friend and legend of the music industry.
1. Shine on You Crazy Diamond (1-5)
2. Welcome to the Machine
3. Have a Cigar
4. Wish You Were Here
5. Shine on You Crazy Diamond (6-9)
My rating: 10/10
Summary: Stellar music tribute to Syd Barrett