For this week’s album of the week, I wanted to go way back and check out an album from an artist that I love and appreciate. One of the coolest rock bands to ever come out of England is definitely the one and only Pink Floyd. A band that has written iconic albums such as The Dark Side Of The Moon, The Wall, Animals, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and today’s album entitled Wish You Were Here. Wish You Were Here was the band’s ninth studio album and the first to split a track (Shine On You Crazy Diamond) into book ends instead of using it as one long track for one side of the record. The band was made up of David Gilmour (vocals, guitars, lap steel guitar, EMS Synthi AKS, keyboards, tape effects), Roger Waters (vocals, bass guitar, guitar, VCS3, tape effects), Nick Mason (Drums), and Richard Wright (keyboards, VCS3, clavine). The album itself was a smash hit as it went number one in the US (Billboard Charts), the UK, New Zealand, Holland, and Australia. The album went 6X platinum in the US, 2X platinum in the UK, Italy, and Austria, 3X platinum in Canada, and 7X platinum in Australia.
1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)– This alone is a 13 minute track that is split into five parts and is a tribute to Syd Barrett.
Part I– The synthizers and keys slowly fade in like an epic score of some sorts before Gilmour plays a bluesy riff on his guitar using heavily compressed sound and reverb.
Part 2– Opens up with a four note theme that is known as Syd’s theme that is repeated throughout. We also begin to start seeing other instruments like the drums come in. A very cool instrumental section.
Part 3– This is the solo we get from Richard Wright on the Minimoog.
Part 4– This is the part when Waters begins to sing his lyrics for the track.
Part 5– It opens with two guitars recording an arpeggio variation of the main theme and we get a sax solo. 5/5
2. Welcome To The Machine– a buzzer and door opening is symbolic for Roger Waters in this amazing track because it’s about the record industry of how it takes bands and chews them and spits them out. 5/5
3. Have A Cigar– One of the most popular songs to not feature a member of Pink Floyd on vocals. The song is sung by English Folk singer Roy Harper. The song is about greed record executives who sit and smoke cigars while stealing your money. 5/5
4. Wish You Were Here– A truly amazing song that is partly a tribute to Syd Barrret, but it also deals with Waters character who struggles with greed while trying to stay compassionate. It’s said that Gilmour recorded the opening to have it sound like someone was listening to the radio and decided to play along to it until the full band comes in. 5/5
5. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)– The second half of the tribute to Syd Barrett.
Part 6– The wind from the last track continues in before we here Gilmour come in with a bass line and Waters adds a second before Wright comes in with the ARP String Ensemble Synthesizer playing. We get some Lap steel guitar solo from Gilmour in this part with a reprise of the solo from part 4.
Part 7– we get some lyrics from Waters in this, but they are shorter than part IV.
Part 8– For a couple of minutes on this part things get funky before Wrights keyboards dominate this part.
Part 9– Gilmour once described this part as “a slow 4/4 funeral march… the parting musical eulogy to Syd.” Wrights keyboards once again dominate this part, but it features some great drumming from Mason. 5/5
My Final Thoughts– This album officially joins the five star club here on Moshpits and Movies because it is just that amazing. Musically these guys were phenomenal and masters of their craft. It’s sad to here about Syd Barrett though who came to visit the band one day when they putting the final touches on the tribute to him. Apparently no one recognized him at all because he was fat, bald, and had no eyebrows. Sadly that day in the studio is the last time they would ever see Syd until his funeral. Give this record a listen, it’s well worth it. Five out of five for a final grade.