Pink Floyd‘s classic 1975 album Wish You Were Here was released 45 years ago this weekend — on September 12 in the U.K. and a day later in the U.S.
A follow-up to Pink Floyd’s 1973 breakthrough album The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here spent two weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200, and has sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. Wish You Were Here yielded no hit singles, although its title track remains among Pink Floyd’s most enduring and popular songs, while tunes like “Have a Cigar” and “Welcome to the Machine” have long been rock radio staples.
All the lyrics were penned by bassist/singer Roger Waters, and the album’s themes focused on the commercialism of the music business and while also paying tribute to Pink Floyd’s original frontman Syd Barrett, whose mental-health issues led to his firing from the group in 1968.
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason tells ABC Audio that he feels Wish You Were Here was one of the “most difficult albums” the band ever made, suggesting that the group’s decision not to tour behind Dark Side of the Moon led to a lack of focus.
A strange incident occurred while Pink Floyd was working on Wish You Were Here at London’s Abbey Road Studios: A disturbed, overweight and shaven-headed Barrett, whom no one in the band had seen for several years, showed up uninvited to the sessions looking to contribute. He left without saying goodbye, and most of Pink Floyd never saw him again.
Mason says all of the band members have different recollections of Syd’s visit, but Nick maintains that the “odd experience…possibly was an asset to getting the album sort of focused and finished.”
Here’s the Wish You Were Here track list:
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)”
“Welcome to the Machine”
“Have a Cigar” — featuring Roy Harper
“Wish You Were Here”
“Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)”
By Matt Friedlander
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