Pink Floyd

Wish You Were Here

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Song Review by

Without a doubt the most heartfelt, honest, and impassioned song from Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here" starts off with a beautiful opening guitar piece from David Gilmour that perfectly invokes tranquility and warmth. Arriving as soon as the radio has finished switching stations, the guitar begins in what sounds like a monaural passage and then sweeps in with colorful glory, taking the speakers by storm. Riveting and haunting at the same time, the folk-induced guitar playing is only half of "Wish You Were Here"'s magic. Waters' abstract lyrics filled with symbolism and surreal images are actually references to the loss of Syd Barrett as a musician and a friend, as well as Waters' inner battle with stardom and his socialist viewpoints. Gilmour's singing is wispy and effectively coarse to carry over the subtlety and openness of the lyrics. The faint background vocals from Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams set a somber mood, along with the saxophone playing from Dick Parry. Although extremely difficult to decipher, violinist Stephane Grappelli plays a small piece amongst the swirling winds at the end of the song. Whether the song is an outright ode to Barrett or a tug of war between Waters' humanitarian principles, "Wish You Were Here" continues to be one of Floyd's most penetrating songs.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Wish You Were Here 1975 Capitol 5:34
A Collection of Great Dance Songs 1981 Capitol / EMI Records 5:25
Shine On 1992 Columbia 5:17
Pulse [Video] 1995 EMI Music Distribution
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Eleventh Annual Induction Dinner 1996
Various Artists
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd 2001 Capitol / EMI Records 5:21
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Best Chillout Ever 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:24
Doc Rock presents Campfire Classics 2004
Various Artists
BMG International 5:36
Oh by the Way 2007 Capitol 5:40
Discovery 2011 Capitol / EMI / EMI Music Distribution 5:34
No Image 2011 Parlophone
A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd 2011 Capitol 5:05
Campfire Classics
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
No Image