Aniversario. Wish you were here, un discazo de Pink Floyd

The disc Wish you were here was released on September 12, 1975. The story in detail is told by the members of Pink Floyd themselves in this video. Here we will only review some pearls, very black pearls, like the eyes of Syd Barrett portrayed in Shine on you crazy diamond. Only that.

The first song is dedicated to the co-founder of the band with Roger Waters, Syd Barrett, his friend. Together they took the first steps in music and ended up joining the others Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals and Nick Mason on drums, then they added David Gilmour on guitar and vocals because Syd Barrett was left out of the band at the end of 1967. His Problematic use, the excess of LSD in particular, left him in very poor mental health. Although he managed to edit two solo albums, helped by Waters and Gilmour, his star was fading on earth to shine forever in the firmament of musicality.

The story of Syd is truly sad, being a true genius in rhythm guitar, in the composition of the band and in the voice with Roger. The 22-year-old kid was out of the ordinary as the band grew, toured the world.

In particular, I got to know the band thanks to my high school classmate who literally drove me crazy to convince me to listen to the first Pink Floyd album, I was a metalhead and didn’t want to waste my time listening to anything else. My bench mate said I would like Barrett and Pink Floyd very much, at recess he insisted with “Go Lencina, go crazy, you’ll like it …” and indeed it was a one-way trip, a madness that lasts until today.

As we said Shine on you crazy diamond, it has several parts that open the album and close it with the same theme. A la Floyd, a concept album. Among the several minutes of the song we can identify a Blues, a true Blues sung and executed that between the lyrics and the guitar forms a truly sentimental, melancholic and passionate expression at the same time. A Blues that has “that” that makes your skin crawl, that which the African-American creators of the genre call feeling. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry, you can find out by listening to Ablert King (we call him “el Beto” in the neighborhood) or BB King himself.

The band managed to achieve fame and money early and meteorically, remember that they came from the success of their previous album The dark side of the moon. From this latest album, maybe the song Money anticipated something that in Wish You were here it will become much more explicit: contempt for consumer society in general and the music industry in particular. The song Welcome to the machine It is certainly dark, the synthesizers used give a really tense climate of uncertainty. When the music is turned off, the sound of a party is heard from which the musicians are quite possibly not invited. As to Have a cigar, I’m sorry to say it with all letters: what a fear! Now yes, I said that in Have a cigar the thing is more explicit to that requirement of the record label that obliges (contractually) the band to record a new album, pretending that it is a commercial success as it was The dark side of the moon. As the pressure was unbearable, and the claim of the businessmen despicable, a message was sent from the legendary Abbey Road studios repudiating all that superficiality that music businessmen have. In one of the sentences that describes the letter we can read something like “which one of them is Floyd?”. The businessmen asked the band that question more than once, unaware that the band’s name pays tribute to two great Blues legends such as Floyd Council and Pink Anderson.

As for the cover art, it’s a photo in Hollywood studios. One person shaking hands with the other catches fire. The fire was real. Very real, so much so that they miscalculated the wind and burned the protagonist’s mustache. The cover symbolizes that when a band signs a contract with a record company they are signing their own sentence.

Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd

On the other hand, the song that gave the album its name is also dedicated to Syd Barrett. it speaks of the absence of someone we love very much, who we love but who is no longer here, physically, in person. That emptiness Roger felt was expressed in that beautiful song that Gilmour’s acoustic guitar was in charge of giving the final touches to a unique piece, almost from another album, that make up the list of the five songs on the album.

Syd Barrett
Syd Barrett

Here something very curious happens, because in the middle of the recording of Shine on and of Wish you were here A person appeared in the study with a shaved head and also eyebrows. Everyone thought he was an employee of EMI, or the recording studio. They soon recognized him, it was Syd Barrett. Nobody understood how he got there, spontaneously, after many years without knowing anything about him. Roger and David, seeing it, just cried, they all cried. But once they had recovered from the initial impact, they made Syd listen to both songs and said that Shine on it sounded like “Something old”. That was it. They never heard from him again until his death in 2006.

A Blues is something old, that dedicated to Syd, is embellished with the passage of time. The band had the opportunity to honor Syd in person, in private, in her own presence. This short story is to say again, rather to feel again: i wish you were here.

It may interest you: Roger Waters: between passion, rock and resistance



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Aniversario. Wish you were here, un discazo de Pink Floyd