CSX Classic Cuts

WCSX Classic Cuts

Pink Floyd: “Wish You Were Here”

The Hook: Roger Waters’ thoughts about his old bandmate Syd Barrett turned into a ballad that has served as a way to express loss.

Released: 1975

Album: Wish You Were Here

Writers: Roger Waters & David Gilmour

Stats: In 2004, the song ranked number-316 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Background: Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour came up with the distinctive “Wish You Were Here” acoustic riff one day at Abbey Road Studios in London and played it for Roger Waters. Waters and Gilmour then finished the lyrics, which tie into the album’s theme about their old bandmate Syd Barrett’s dropping out of sight. Waters gave the song to Gilmour to sing, but both men have sung lead vocals on it in concert since Waters’ split from Floyd in the mid-’80s.

Under the Covers: The song has been covered by Velvet Revolver and Dream Theater, and the trio of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and Wes Borland and the Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik performed it — with some altered lyrics — on the America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon that aired shortly after 9/11. It was done at the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics by singer Ed Sheeran with help from Floyd drummer Nick Mason.

Roger Waters on Syd Barrett coming up with the name Pink Floyd. OC:…all changed. :23

“Well Syd suggested it. In fact we were called The Pink Floyd Sound for some time and then it got reduced to Pink Floyd. As is well documented, it’s two halves of the names of two sidemen on a blues anthology album who were called Floyd Council and Pink Anderson. Our repertoire consisted almost entirely of blues and rhythm and blues. And then Syd started to write songs and that’s when it all changed.”