Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd – 1975
Claimed Sales: 13m
First listen?: No
Format Listened?: Apple Music
It’s near impossible to fully understand the weight of expectation that lay on Pink Floyd’s shoulders as they attempted to follow up one of the most critically acclaimed and successful albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon, with an album that could equal, if not surpass it. Wish You Were Here does exactly that and the fact it manages to eclipse such a monumental achievement over the space of just 5 songs is impressive to say the least. Book-ended by each half of the 9 part epic Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the experience of listening to Wish You Were Here is effortlessly well rounded and complete. You can hear the emotion in Roger Waters’ vocal as he sings in tribute to founding Pink Floyd member Syd Barret, but it’s a triumphant song in the end. As each section moves along, with saxophone solos and instrumental soundscapes separating each of the sections with lyrics, there’s an elegance to every moment; well thought out, but naturally flowing. The three remaining tracks keep the style of the album tightly packed, despite the obvious vastly contrasting styles they explore. The title track is as close to a simple folk song that the band have ever delivered, while Welcome To The Machine is a sprawling dystopian creation that captures the feeling of the band as a ‘product’ in 1975 perfectly. Have a Cigar forms the centre of the album as the most typically rock moment, with guitar solos and sweeps of synth giving the song such a unique texture within the album. Every song is great on its own, but Wish You Were Here is purely designed as a full listening experience and achieves this goal more effectively than probably every other Pink Floyd record. There’s something so honest about its subject matter, a simple dedication to a friend who has been lost, but expertly crafted into 44 minutes of terrific prog rock. Wish You Were Here is certainly one of, if not the best rock album of the 70s.
Will I listen again?: Definitely
Best Track: Shine On You Crazy Diamond is the key piece of the Wish You Were Here puzzle and the opening 5 sections are my favourite sections of music here.