May 11, 2010

Wish You Were Here

As some of you may know this album did not crack my top 25 classic rock albums of all time that I published a while back. I can tell you though that it just missed.

This was one of the better albums released in 1975. I had just graduated high school and was working full time by its September release. This regular income enabled me to buy the album immediately and I loved it from the very first listen. I have to say that by this time I felt it was somewhat better than Dark Side of the Moon. I had listened to that album to death and had basically become tired with it. This was like a breath of fresh Pink Floyd air.

From the opening of side 1 and parts I-V of Shine On You Crazy Diamond to parts VI-IX of Shine On You Crazy Diamond on side 2, the album spoke volumes of their detachment from their friend and former collegue Syd Barrett. It also spoke of their disdain for the record industry and the business of making music.

The concept of this album was largely created by Roger Waters and it implicated his feelings that the band was missing something deeper. Waters was the domineering leader of the band and his lyrics speak to his idealism of a record industry gone awry and a band that was short on togetherness.

Critics were not initially enamored by the album and some called it lackadaisical and without passion. It was loved by the Pink Floyd members though. Richard Wright said "its an album I can listen to for pure pleasure and there aren't many Floyd albums that I can." Gilmore also called it his "favorite" album.

One interesting note about the song "Have a Cigar". It was originally planned that Waters would carry lead vocals for this song, but was having a bit of trouble singing due to his limited range and the stress his voice had been through recording other songs on the album. Gilmore was asked to sing it and declined.

Their friend and colleague Roy Harper was recording just down the hall at Abbey Road studios and was asked to stand in. Waters said he later regretted the decision and should have recorded the song with his vocals after all. Later yet, at a concert that Pink Floyd and Roy Harper were both at, Harper became angry due to a missing stage costume. He proceeded to set a Floyd van on fire and was hurt himself in the process.

All and all an album of the ages and will be on many others top classic rock album lists I am sure.


Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Personally...better than Dark Side...My 2nd fav Floyd album - I just LOVE Ummagumma

Max Moscardi said...

Good post ! the lyrics on "Have A Cigar" may be one of the best about the authentic depths of record companies..

In fact.. if Waters or Gilmour have taken the lead vocals,.. the meaning wouldn't be that clear..

Carly said...

I only got into Pink Floyd recently, and I downloaded the title track expecting nothing. It is safe to say Pink Floyd has made some of the most beauiful music I have ever heard, and your review of the album was very well put. I am definitely going to buy the entire album. God bless PF.

Sean Coleman said...

This is definitely one of their best (I like Animals better, though) Many dour themes running through the lyrics, but they managed to outdo Dark Side which is no mean feat.

Dan said...

Vinny, the reason I rate Dark Side higher overall is because of the total uniqueness when it came out compared to everything else. Wish You Were Here and Animals are not far behind and I may even rate either of them higher on any given day.

Max, I agree that things happen for a reason. I thought it was funny about the later concert and Harper vandalizing their bus.

Carly, I know you wont be disappointed.

Sean, I agree Animals has a mean streak runnin through it. With Dogs killing Sheep and Pigs on the Run, the animals have no where to hide. Again as I said earlier each album was a bit different and on any given day I could rate either one #1. I also enjoy very much Meddle. If you havent listened to it please do. Side 1 is eclectic and Side 2 with Echoes filling the entire side is a joy to listen to from beginning to end. This is where the story telling through their instruments began for them in my opinion.

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