Wish you were here


by Raaisa Tariq

song review

There are songs that you like and there are songs that move you. The lyrics, the music, the essence of the song just touch your soul. For me, that song has always been Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’. The song is the title track from Pink Floyd’s 1975 album which was released as follow up to their legendary album ‘Dark side of the moon’. This masterpiece was written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters and was ranked No324 on Rolling Stone’s list of ‘the 500 greatest songs of all time’. The song was dedicated to their former band member Syd Barrett, best known as one of the founder members of the band. After the release of their biggest hit ‘dark side of the moon’, they were having trouble coming up with new inspirations which would match up to their previous release; this made them a bit disconnected. Meanwhile, Syd Barrett was suffering from a mental breakdown due to his addiction to LSD which forced him out of the band. As a result, the song became a summary of the entire recording process, a mixture of Barrett’s mental issues and the band’s crumbling work ethics. Months later the band members could still feel Barrett’s presence in the studio and they were all struggling with reality which is clearly reflected in the song. David Gilmour says ‘although Shine on You Crazy Diamond is specifically about Syd, and Wish You Were Here has a broader remit, I can’t sing it without thinking about Syd’. The song starts off with a distant guitar solo which sounds like it’s coming from an old stereo or an AM radio and then the second solo swoops in which is more loud and polished. The song is lifted with the ingress of drum and other instruments. Little details like the soothing guitar solos and the use of mouth organs in places are what add more life to the song. Meanwhile, the lyrics demonstrate the author’s nostalgia and how he wishes that Syd was with him like the good old times. The song reflected the feeling of the band while they were recording the album. People with issues connecting with the world mentally or emotionally can easily connect to the song as well. They chose this as the title track because it summed up the message of the entire album. The man, who did their cover art, Storm Thorgerson, was the first to suggest this as the album title. This is one of the few songs Roger Waters continued to play at his shows even after leaving Pink Floyd. It’s remarkable that in a time where they were disconnected and bitter they were able to create something so incredibly emotional and beautiful.


Raaisa Tariq is a student of AIUB.



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