This Day in 1975, Pink Floyd went to No.1 on the UK album chart with 'Wish You Were Here'
"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. David Gilmourand Roger Waters collaborated to write the music.
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. Gilmour performed the intro on a twelve-string guitar, processed to sound like it was playing through a car AM radio, and then overdubbed a fuller-sounding acoustic guitar solo. This passage was mixed to sound as though the guitarist was sitting in a car, listening to the radio; it also contains a whine that slowly changes pitch—emulating the electro-magenetic interference from the engine of a car as it accelerates and decelerates. 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".
The song borrows the imagery of a "steel rail" from Syd Barrett's solo song, "If It's in You", from The Madcap Laughs album.
"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 part from the album to start the song and Rick Wright would perform an extended piano coda as the wind effects played. A live version is included on Pulse. When Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gilmour and Wright (Mason was in the audience) performed the song with the assistance of their presenter Billy Corgan on rhythm guitar.
"Wish You Were here" was performed by Ed Sheeran with Nick Mason on drums, Mike Rutherford of Genesis on guitar and Richard Jones of The Feeling on bass at the Closing Ceremony of 2012 Summer Olympics in London. A performer, dressed in a suit, tightrope-walked across the stadium and shook hands with a mannequin at the end, which then burst into flames, referencing the album's cover.