Wish You Were Here (song)

Wish You Were Here (song)

Song infobox
Name = Wish You Were Here

Artist = Pink Floyd
Album = Wish You Were Here
Released = September 15, 1975
track_no = 4
Recorded = January–July 1975
Genre = Progressive rock
Length = 5:40 (5:24 on "")
Writer = David Gilmour/Roger Waters
Label = Harvest, EMI (UK) Columbia, Capitol (US)
Producer = Pink Floyd
prev = Have a Cigar
prev_no = 3
next = Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI - IX)
next_no = 5
Infobox Single
Name = Wish You Were Here EP

Artist = Pink Floyd
from Album = PULSE
B-side = Coming Back to Life (live), Keep Talking (live)
Released = July 20, 1995
Format = CD
Recorded = September 20 (Rome); October 13 and 20 (Earls Court, London), 1994
Genre = Progressive rock
Length =
Label = Capitol Records (US)
Writer = Waters, Gilmour
Producer = James Guthrie, David Gilmour
Chart position =
Last single = High Hopes
This single = Wish You Were Here EP

"Wish You Were Here" is the title track on Pink Floyd's 1975 album "Wish You Were Here". The song's lyrics encompass writer Roger Waters' feelings of alienation from other people. Like most of the album, it refers to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett and his breakdown. The main riff came to David Gilmour at homeFact|date=September 2008 while playing on an acoustic guitar, the riff became something which he continued to play in-between takes at Abbey Road Studios where it caught the attention of Roger Waters. They collaborated to complete the song, as Waters had already written some lyrics. In 2004, the song was ranked #316 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


In the original album version, the song segues from "Have a Cigar" as if a radio had been tuned away from one station, through several others (including a radio play and one playing Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony), and finally to a new station where "Wish You Were Here" is beginning. The radio was recorded from Gilmour's car radio.Fact|date=September 2008 Gilmour performed the intro on a twelve-string guitar, processed to sound like it was playing through an old transistor radio, and then overdubbed a fuller-sounding acoustic guitar solo. This passage was mixed to sound as though the guitarist was sitting in a room, playing along with the radio; it also contains a whine that slowly changes pitch—emulating the heterodyne between two drifting AM radio signals.

The intro riff is repeated several times and reprised when Gilmour plays further solos with scat singing accompaniment. At the end of the recorded song, the final solo crossfades with wind sound effects (reminiscent of "One of These Days" from the 1971 album "Meddle"), and finally segues into the second section of the multi-part suite "Shine On You Crazy Diamond".

Other versions

"Wish You Were Here" later appeared as the 5th track on "A Collection of Great Dance Songs" (with the radio intro following the end of a heavily edited "Shine On You Crazy Diamond") and as the 23rd track on the "" compilation (with the radio intro following "Arnold Layne", and at the end crossfading with "Jugband Blues").

A live recording included in the 1995 live album "P*U*L*S*E" was issued as a single/EP. As of 2006, this is the last single released by Pink Floyd to date (although promos of "Echoes", "The Wall Live" and "Money" (2003 edit for the 30th Anniversary Issue of Dark Side of the Moon) have been released).

"Wish You Were Here" made its stage debut on the band's 1977 tour, which featured a performance of the entire album at every show. It was not played live by the band for nearly ten years after this, yet became a concert staple after its reappearance in 1987 — and was performed at nearly all subsequent Pink Floyd concerts. In the original 1977 concert performances, Gilmour would play his Fender Stratocaster instead of acoustic guitar whilst Snowy White played a 12-string Ovation acoustic guitar. At some of these shows (all of the US shows, notably), Mason tuned an actual transistor radio on stage to a local radio station, seguing into the pre-recorded bit from the album to start the song and Rick Wright would perform an extended piano coda as the wind effects played. When Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [http://www.rockhall.com/hof/inductee.asp?id=168 Official Article] ] , Gilmour and Wright (Mason was in the audience) performed the song with the assistance of their presenter Billy Corgan on rhythm guitar.In 2004, Waters and Eric Clapton performed the song at the Tsunami Aid concert, and in 2005's Live 8, Waters rejoined his former bandmates (albeit for this one-off show) in London to perform it, along with 3 other classic Pink Floyd songs.

Cover versions

Infobox Single
Name = Wish You Were Here

Caption =
Artist = Wyclef Jean
from Album =
B-side =
Released = December 3 2001 (UK)
Format = CD single
Recorded = 2000
Genre = Rap
Length = 4:06
Label = Columbia Records
Writer = David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis, Wyclef Jean
Producer = Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis, Wyclef Jean
Certification =
Chart position =
* #28 (UK)
* #49 (Switzerland)
* #51 (Austria)
Last single =
This single =
Next single =
Misc = Extra chronology
Artist = Wyclef Jean
Type = singles
Last single = "Perfect Gentleman"
This single = "Wish You Were Here"
Next single = "Two Wrongs"
The song proved to be a popular choice of cover for artists including Sparklehorse (in collaboration with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke), Dream Theater [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1146806625486273351&q=wish+you+were+here Excerpt from recording of the band Dream Theater covering the song at Google Video] ] , The Flaming Lips, Pearl Jam, Velvet Revolver, Wyclef Jean [ [http://www.polyhex.com/music/chartruns/chartruns.php polyhex.com UK Singles Chart runs] ] , Catherine Wheel, Rasputina, Ana Torroja, Bob Forrest, Miracle Legion, the Lovehammers, Widespread Panic, Irish rock-band Aslan, Circa Survive, Dan Andriano (of the Alkaline Trio), Angra (Brazilian metal band) and Rodrigo y Gabriela, all of whom have recorded or performed live versions of the song.

Marillion played their Marillion Mix version of the song during their Marillion 2003 Weekend, which can be found as an easter egg in the DVD box set also named "Wish You Were Here".

Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst and Wes Borland, and the Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik gave a performance of "Wish You Were Here" (previously unrecorded by them) for the television event following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. New lyrics for the song had been written for the occasion.

Grindcore band Brutal Truth covered the song as "Wish you were here... now go away" and released it on the Japanese version of Need to Control.

This song was covered by Kris McKay, of Sara Hickman's band, on the Echoes of Pink tribute album in 2002.

A cover version of "Wish You Were Here" by Sally Semrad appears on the Pink Floyd tribute album "A Fair Forgery of Pink Floyd".

The 2007 song, "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough" by Manic Street Preachers contains the line "Trade your heroes in for ghosts", referencing a similar line in "Wish You Were Here".

Velvet Revolver covered this song during their live set in the 2008 tour for the Libertad album.

A reggae version of this song was recorded by Alpha Blondy on his 2007 album "Jah Victory".

Circa Survive recorded an acoustic version of the song in 2008 for an AOL session.


* Roger Waters - Fender bass guitar, tape effects
* David Gilmour - 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, pedal steel guitar, tape effects, lead and backing vocals
* Richard Wright - Steinway piano, Mini-Moog Synthesizers
* Nick Mason - drums, tape effects
* Stephane Grappelli - violin (There is a brief piece of violin playing at the end of the track which was subsequently all but drowned out by the addition of the wind effects. Violinist Stephane Grappelli was recording in a downstairs studio, and Gilmour had suggested that there be a little "country fiddle" at the end of the song. Grappelli duly obliged, although because his contribution is barely audible, the band decided not to credit him for it in the sleevenotes. According to Waters, he received the agreed fee of £300, however.) [cite book|last=Blake|first=Mark|authorlink=Mark Blake (writer)|title=Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd|year=2008|publisher=Thunder's Mouth Press|location=Cambridge, Massachusetts|isbn=978-1-56858-383-9|pages=pg. 230|chapter=Riding the Gravy Train|quote=Roy Harper wasn't the only special guest, or old friend to drop by the sessions. When it was discovered that classical violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli were recording a duet at Abbey Road, [David Gilmour| [David] Gilmour] suggested Grappelli come in and play a final violin coda to the song 'Wish You Were Here'. Grappelli haggled over his fee but finally settled at £300. In the end, his playing is virtually inaudible on the final mix. 'It was terrific fun, though,' recalled Gilmour. 'Avoiding his wandering hands.']

Recorded between January and July 1975 at Abbey Road Studios, London.



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