Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett And The Story Behind The Making Of ‘Wish You Were Here’
‘Wish You Were Here’, the 1975 album by Pink Floyd rates as not only some the best material they have ever produced by their fans and critics, but it also ranks among the best music albums ever made in modern music.
At the end of 2015 Pink Floyd released the album ‘The Endless River‘, their fifteenth studio album, it had been a very long time coming, over 20 years since their previous release, ‘The Division Bell‘ and Floyd’s first studio album since the death of keyboardist and founder member Richard Wright.
The surviving members of Pink Floyd considered it as a tribute to their dearly departed band member and Wright features on the album. It was a noble and heartfelt gesture for a departed friend, but it wasn’t the first time they had reached out with a musical offering like this.
Back in 1975 Pink Floyd walked into Abbey Road Studios and began work on their ninth album, it had been a busy year, well actually it had been a busy 3 years of touring, promoting their previous release, The Dark Side Of The Moon (one of the decade’s biggest hits) and the band were exhausted.
It was also apparent by his absence that Syd Barrett, who up to 1968 was the creative shape of the group, when he was replaced by David Gilmour as their new guitarist, would probably not be contributing to their music again.
Wish You Were Here was the second Pink Floyd album to use a conceptual theme written entirely by Roger Waters. It reflects his feeling that the camaraderie that had served the band was, by then, largely absent.
The Painful Absence Of Syd Barrett On The Album
Portrait of former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett by Nicolás Rosenfeld.
The former Pink Floyd front man Syd Barrett was suffering a mental breakdown and despite attempts to get him involved with the new album his ongoing addiction to LSD made it impossible for him to recreate any semblance of the rock god he used to be. It was a sad and difficult time. But the album got made and the rest is history.
Syd did have one noted reunion with the remaining members of Pink Floyd during the recording sessions for Wish You Were Here. He attended the Abbey Road session unannounced, and watched the band working on the final mix of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — a song that happened to be about him. Barrett eventually left the music industry, retired from public life and strictly guarded his own privacy until his death in 2006.
It’s enough to make you break out and listen to on endless loop one of the best albums (i think most Pink Floyd fans would agree with me) that the band have made (to date), ‘Wish You Were here’. An album about absence.
Well, hold that thought because the members of one of the greatest bands in the history of greatest bands discuss the recording of that masterpiece and their one-off performance at Live 8 in 2005.
Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters dissect each song on the album, talking about what it means to them and how they went about creating it, interspersed with archive footage of its inspiration: Syd Barrett.
For fans of the band the video above is essential viewing. And for everyone else, it’s also essential viewing.
The Making Of Wish You Were Here At Abbey Road
Pink Floyd recording ‘Wish You Were Here’ at Abbey Road Studio, September 1975 – Photo Rockarchive.
Thx to the BBC for ‘lending’ me the following editorial copy (not really, sorry BBC), seeing as they made the documentary and all i figured their words describing it would put mine to shame, so i have included them below:
John Edginton’s documentary explores the making of Pink Floyd’s ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here, which was released in September 1975 and went to top the album charts both in the UK and the US.
Featuring new interviews with band members Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason alongside contributions from the likes of sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson and photographer Jill Furmanovsky, the film is a forensic study of the making of the follow-up to 1973’s Dark Side of the Moon, which was another conceptual piece driven by Roger Waters.
The album wrestles with the legacy of the band’s first leader Syd Barrett, who had dropped out of the band in 1968 and is eulogised in the album’s centrepiece, Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Pink Floyd had become one of the biggest bands in the world, but the 60s were over and the band were struggling both to find their purpose and the old camaraderie.
Pink Floyd And The Wish You Were Here Track
This song refers to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett and his breakdown. David Gilmour and Roger Waters collaborated to write the music, and Gilmour sang the lead vocal. And here’s the song (below) that the title for the album came from (Side 2: Track 2) – Wish You Were Here. Enjoy.
Pink Floyd Sing Wish You Were Here At Live 8
The remaining members of the band put their personal differences aside to play Live 8 in July 2005, the concert was meant to raise awareness of poverty, debt and the AIDS crisis in developing nations. Performing as a group again was not going to be a big problem drummer Nick mason recalled, “For Pink Floyd the most immediate concern was far more small scale, getting the songs right. It’s sort of assumed that we’ll all remember how they go,” Mason admitted. Their performance on stage that night, for the first time since 1981, was incredible.
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