They're one of my favorite classic rock groups of all-time, easily in my top 5.
I'm trying to remember what specific track of theirs I first heard, I think it was "Another Brick in the Wall."
I remember the video to it so vividly due to the wild and crazy imagery of those kids falling into that meat grinder. And this was on Casey Kasem's Top 10 or Top something back in the 80's.
Here, watch what I'm talking about:
After that, it'd be a few more years until I rediscovered "The Floyd", but I would, buying up their later iconic albums like "The Wall", "Dark Side of the Moon", "Animals", and "Wish you were here."
And it's that last one that I'd like to highlight today.
The album only has 5 tracks on it, but with Pink Floyd, you know when listening to their albums it's all about quality, not quantity, and that their songs are usually pretty long.
The WYWH starts off with my favorite track on the album, and one of my top favorite songs ever, "Shine on you crazy diamond" Part 1-4.
I'll try and convey just how I felt, goosebumps and all when I first heard that song. I had just bought this album, put it in my cd player, and cranked up the volume way up. At first I did this because I didn't hear anything, so I keep turning the volume up higher and higher, and then I hear David Gilmore play those first chords, and I was "Oh shit!"
The song keeps building up and building up, with Richard Wright in the keyboards, until BAM! Like an atomic bomb going off in my ears and head, I hear the crescendo, and from there I was hooked.
You gotta hear this!:
I hadn't done Acid or smoked Pot yet at that time, but I imagined that's what it must have felt like as I heard that song for the very first time.
The song, and all 9 parts of it(yes 9 whole parts people!) is all about former bandmate Syd Barrett and his descent into madness after taking way too much LSD. The song's lyrics are a loving and touching testimony to the man's creative genius, and also a eulogy to the friend they used to know before he lost his shit.
The song's parts are divided up throughout the album, so you got the first four parts in the beginning, and then the last five at the end.
Altogether they make up one hell of a tribute, and one of the best recorded in rock and roll history.
Next up is the song "Welcome to the machine."
Roger Waters wrote this primarily about the darker side of the music business, and the whole money-making schemes and policies that he felt were valued more than the artistic side.
Love that image up there guys!
And in fact there's also an actual music video to go with the song in an age where there weren't that many music videos made to accompany the songs. Crazy notion I know;)
Waters and the band liked Scarfe's work so much, that they commissioned him to produce most, if not all of the art for their "The Wall" album.
So all that crazy, twisted artwork you see on the album cover, and in the movie, is all Scarfe's design.
After that, is "Have a cigar?" which continues on the theme of the music industry. This song was based off a stupid question made by a record exec who famously asked "Oh by the way, which one's Pink?", as in the guy wanted to know who in the band was named Pink Floyd. Yeah, stupid, clueless execs. They never learn do they?
Here's the track:
Interestingly enough, Roger Waters or any of the band didn't actually sing the exec's part; it was actually friend and fellow musician Roy Harper. Waters was later quoted as saying he wish he had done the actual vocals, as he felt that Harper's interpretation didn't really suit the song.
Regardless, it seems history and sales seem to like the song the way it was recorded, so there's that.
Also of note, I wondered if this Roy Harper, was the same one mentioned in the Led Zeppelin song "Hats off to (Roy)Harper." on their third album. Well after looking it up, he is. So, now we both know a little more rock trivia:)
Next up is the track that shares it's name with the album, "Wish you were here."
It's no surprise that this song, along with most the songs on the album, are played heavily in rotation on most rock stations.
Like Shine on you crazy diamond, this song too, is about former bandmate Syd Barrett.
Just listen to the lyrics, and you'll feel just how much Waters and the band miss Barrett and his contributions to the group.
Here's the lyrics and the song: