Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by Pink Floyd and it was released on 12 September 1975 by Harvest Records in the United Kingdom and a day later by Columbia Records in the United States. The album topped record charts in both regions.
Inspired by material the group composed while performing around Europe, Wish You Were Here was recorded during numerous recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London, England. Two of the album’s four songs criticize the music business, another expresses alienation and the multi-part track “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to Syd Barrett.
Barrett’s mental breakdown had forced him to leave the group seven years earlier, prior to the release of the group’s second studio album A Saucerful of Secrets (on which he only appeared on three tracks).
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It was lead writer Roger Waters’ idea to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” into two parts that would bookend the album around three new compositions and to introduce a concept linking them all.
As with their previous album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), the band used studio effects and synthesizers, and brought in guest singers to supply vocals on some tracks of the album. These singers were Roy Harper, who provided the lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”, and the Blackberries, who added backing vocals to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”.
Wish You Were Here was an instant commercial success (despite the fact that Harvest Records’ parent company EMI was unable to print enough copies of the album to satisfy commercial demand), and although it initially received mixed reviews, the album has since gone on to receive critical acclaim.
It appears on Rolling Stone’s lists of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the “50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time”. Band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour have cited Wish You Were Here as their favorite Pink Floyd album.
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