Have a Cigar

Have a Cigar

Infobox Single
Name = Have a Cigar

Caption = Cover for French and Italian editions
Artist = Pink Floyd
from Album = Wish You Were Here
B-side = Welcome to the Machine (US single)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) (Italian and French singles)
Released = 1975
Format = 7"
Recorded = January - July 1975
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre = Hard Rock, progressive rock
Length = 5:08
Label = Harvest, EMI (UK) Columbia, Capitol (US)
Writer = Roger Waters
Producer = Pink Floyd
Chart position =
Last single = "Us and Them"/"Time"
This single = "Have a Cigar"
Next single = "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)"
Misc = Extra tracklisting
Album = Wish You Were Here
Type = studio
prev_track = "Welcome to the Machine"
prev_no = 2
this_track = "Have a Cigar"
track_no = 3
next_track = "Wish You Were Here"
next_no = 4
"Have a Cigar" is the third track on Pink Floyd's 1975 album "Wish You Were Here."

It follows "Welcome to the Machine" and on the original LP opened side two.


Like "Welcome to the Machine", the song's music and lyrics were written by Roger Waters in critique of hypocrisy and greed within the music business. The music itself is more straightforwardly rock-orientated than the rest of the album, beginning with a churning riff played on electric guitar and bass. The track is filled out with additional guitar, electric piano and synthesizer parts to create a funk rock texture.

"Have a Cigar" climaxes with its blistering guitar solo, which is interrupted by a synthesizer filter-sweep sound effect as the music reduces in volume to tinny, AM radio-like levels. Some have speculated that this represents the music's transformation into a worthless, mass-marketed product — which would be almost prophetic, since the track received heavy radio play as a single. Finally, the song ends with the sound of a radio being dialed off-station; this effect is used as a transition to the following song, the album's title track, "Wish You Were Here".

The lyric "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?" is said to have actually been asked of the band in their formative years of the mid-to-late 1960s by an American record label corporate executive who met them in the recording studio. Rumour has it that the executive shook hands with all the band members, complimented them highly, and then proceeded to ask the question. Later, the name "Pink" was used for the main character in "The Wall".

The song first premiered when the band played it on their 1975 North American tour in between the two halves of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" with Waters and Gilmour sharing the vocals.

The song was played on the 1975 and 1977 Pink Floyd tours. The 1977 performances had Roger Waters on lead vocals with David Gilmour singing backing vocals and the guitar solos in the 1977 performances of "Have a Cigar" were played by Snowy White.

On the original recording, the song's lead vocals were performed not by any member of Pink Floyd, but by an acquaintance of the band: British singer-songwriter Roy Harper. Roger Waters intended to perform the part himself, as he did during most stage performances, but had strained his voice while recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and David Gilmour would not sing the harsh lyrics. Harper was recording his album "HQ" in Studio 2 of Abbey Road at the same time as Pink Floyd were working in Studio 3; learning of the band's dilemma Harper offered to sing the lead.

Waters later stated that he (perhaps subconsciously) hoped the other band members would refuse this suggestion, and insist on keeping the song strictly within the confines of Pink Floyd. He was therefore surprised when they immediately accepted the idea, and Harper claims that he requested a lifetime ticket to (the nearby) Lord's Cricket Ground as payment for his services. Harper has described feeling insulted when he was sent a one-time cheque instead (which he says was never cashed).

Harper even performed the song with the band on one occasion, the group's 1975 Knebworth Festival appearance, which occurred during the period Wish You Were Here was being recorded.


*Roger Waters - Bass, lyrics
*David Gilmour - Electric guitars, additional keyboards
*Richard Wright - Fender Rhodes, ARP string synthesizer, Mini-Moog synthesizers, Hohner clavinet D6
*Nick Mason - Drums
*Roy Harper - Vocals


Cover versions

*In 1977, Warner Bros. Records released a 12" single containing a disco version of "Have a Cigar", credited to a band called Rosebud (studio band). However, the only part of the lyric that was used on this recording was the first verse. The B-side was a disco version of "Money".

*A cover version of "Have a Cigar" by Ira appears on the 2003 Pink Floyd tribute album "A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd".

*Both Primus and the Foo Fighters (on two occasions, once with Brian May) have recorded high-profile cover versions.

* The album "Instead", released in 2007 by Onetwo, contains a cover version of "Have a Cigar".

* The main riff of "Have a Cigar" is incorporated into the song "Peruvian Skies" by progressive metal band "Dream Theater" on their 1998 live album "Once in a LIVEtime",and on the Live DVD Five years in a LIVEtime.


"Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here" (Songbook. 1975 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0 7119 1029 4 [USA ISBN 0 8256 1079 6] )

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