Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" 180gm LP
Format: 108gm LP, remastered, reissue, gatefold cover
Label: Pink Floyd Records/Columbia/Legacy
The breakthrough success of Dark Side of the Moon made Wish You Were Here a crucial follow-up in strictly commercial terms. Further pressure came from it being Pink Floyd's first recording for a new label, Columbia. Yet the demands on the band only provided Roger Waters more fodder for his lyrics, which glanced at the band's roots as well as their new responsibilities. The mechanized throb of a VCS3 synthesizer, fed through a repeat-echo unit, signals the opening bars of "Welcome to the Machine," a diatribe against an industry more concerned with money than creative music-making. "Have a Cigar" further establishes Waters' contempt by bringing in singer Roy Harper to play the role of a "faceless suit," who none-too-innocently asks, "Which one's Pink?"
The remaining songs indirectly look back to the first casualty of Pink Floyd's growing fame, the group's founder, Syd Barrett. The 20-minute-plus "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" has its roots in earlier pieces like "Atom Heart Mother Suite" and "Echoes." But rather than just another Floydian soundscape, its lyrics make it a paean to Barrett's genius and a requiem for his subsequent breakdown. The first five of the song's nine movements open the album with sax player Dick Parry wailing as effectively as he did on Dark Side of the Moon. The final four sections, which close the album, form a reprise that starts with the sound of wind and David Gilmour's guitar screaming and crying. The band then settles into a laid-back jam that ends with Richard Wright's billowing synth delicately fading out. The title track deals also with Barrett, as well as the tension the idealist Waters was feeling in battling the greed that surrounded the band's success.
The themes of disillusionment planted throughout Wish You Were Here would eventually sprout full-blown on The Wall.
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)
- Welcome to the Machine
- Have a Cigar
- Wish You Were Here
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts V-IIX)