PINK FLOYD - 40 Years Wish You Were Here

26. August 2015

Pink Floyd

PINK FLOYD - 40 Years Wish You Were Here

Perhaps the myth of "Wish You Were Here" began that Thursday, June 5, 1975 - with the mysterious visitor at Abbey Road Studios. Pink Floyd were working on the final mix of the core of their upcoming album, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", a song about their former frontman Syd Barrett and his unstoppable mental decay. Suddenly a bald, fat, confused-looking man stands in the room, all dressed in white, with shaved eyebrows and a white plastic bag in his hand. At first the musicians thought it was an unknown EMI employee, but on closer inspection David Gilmour became suspicious: "Do you recognize him? Look at him closely," he whispered to Nick Mason with tears in his eyes. The band had not seen their former colleague and friend for several years. The last contacts were in 1970, when Gilmour and Roger Waters and Gilmour and Rick Wright Barrett had helped out with his two solo albums. Now he stood there while the band he had founded was working on a song about his physical, but above all his mental absence. Syd Barrett was the spooky shadow of that attractive, creative underground idol of the psychedelic sixties - a lost soul.

The theme of absence, which permeates the album, was eerily underlined thanks to this clash of art and reality. And it not only burned itself into the heads of the musicians, but also into those of Storm Thorgerson, the designer and band member who was also present. So it's more than speculation when we say that this encounter gave birth to the Gesamtkunstwerk "Wish You Were Here" as we know it today.

After the success of "The Dark Side Of The Moon" the band was not willing to bow to the immense public expectations and - as Nick Mason aptly puts it in his autobiographical book "Inside Out" - to record "Dark Side Of The Moon 2: The Return Of The Lunatic". "The record company didn't put too much pressure either", the drummer remembers, "so that we could experiment first". This looked like the quartet was starting to put one of their eccentric ideas into practice: they were working on an album called "Household Objects" that would be recorded exclusively with household items - glasses, plates, forks, etc. - and would be played on a large scale. In times before the triumphant advance of sampling technology, this was an elaborate undertaking. "Who ever wondered why there is almost every note of Pink Floyd as a bootleg, but none of these songs: It's because there are no songs. We spent two months trying out the sounds in the fall of 1973, sometimes we got rhythmic, but mostly it was just sounds, and then we rejected the whole thing," says Mason. On the immersion box sets for "Wish You Were Here" ("Wine Glasses") and "Dark Side" ("The Hard Way"), which were released in 2011, one fragment each appeared.

Creative break

So at first not much happened in terms of follow-up LP. Pink Floyd spent the first part of 1974, after rejecting the Household Objects project, enjoying their newly won world fame; the musicians spent a lot of money and devoted themselves to their hobbies and families. New songs were not an issue at the moment. In the summer there were a few gigs in France and from November on a bigger England tour on the program; for that new songs should be made. The group got back together: She tried out new ideas in a studio in the London district of Kings Cross. When David Gilmour suddenly struck the four notes on his guitar that later formed the basis for "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", Waters flinched: in front of his mind's eye, the dramatic story of his childhood friend Syd Barrett unwound like a film, and he wrote a lyrical homage to the "crazy diamond" who had lost his glow. The band wrote a thirty-minute composition, a further development of the symphonic epics "Atom Heart Mother" and "Echoes". In addition, Waters presented two further, abysmally cynical texts on the subject of the beast man. Two longer tracks, "Raving And Drooling" and "You Gotta Be Crazy" were also created. Now Floyd had enough new material for the tour together; they wanted to open their concerts with it. After the tour they wanted to work on the now fire-tested songs in the studio in order to be able to present a new album at the end of the now slowly nervous record company.

Even though "Wish You Were Here" is often regarded today as the high point of Pink Floyd's work, that England tour and the subsequent start of recording sessions in January '75 revealed the musicians' dissatisfaction with their situation as superstars. Above all, however, she made the ever deeper trenches visible to one another. In the magazine "New Musical Express" the probably most influential music critic of that time, Nick Kent, wrote a bad tear of the gigs. He spoke of "superfluous musical ballast" that the band carries around with them, whose "pathetic" socio-critical messages from the mouth of the nouveau riche were highly unbelievable; a problem that Roger Waters had at least recognized and that would continue to bother him for a long time. Still in 2011, in the documentary "The Story Of Wish You Were Here", Kent showed himself unyielding: "It just wasn't good for anything they presented on stage."

Lesen Sie mehr im eclipsed Nr. 173 (September 2015).