The story of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.


I make a conscious effort to ration my intake of “classic” rock, which is just another marketing term signifying music that was being created in the days of my youth.

Of course, youth is a relative term, and time passages are of great interest to me.

In my interior world, any new music makes an indelible impression the first time you really hear it. The Who’s Quadrophenia was released in 1974, and although I listened to it then, I was too young. It wasn’t really heard until 1979, at which point it became a soundtrack for a certain period in my life. Once done, so it remains. If I wish to relive that period, I listen to the album.

That’s why it’s important for me to continue listening to new music, new musical generations, and new musical ideas. Soundtracks must change, though I still have my preferences.

A new guitar-driven “heavy” band like Yak is reminiscent of earlier periods, but it’s also the here and now. The band’s Alas Salvation always will remind me of late spring, 2016, just the same as Nirvana’s Nevermind takes me back to 1991.

As a non-musician in love with music, the creative process in music is eternally fascinating. It can be explained, and it cannot. I never tire of attempted explanations.

Last week for the first time in ages I listened to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, from 1975. While not a rabid Pink Floyd fan, I’ve always respected the musicality and intelligence of the band’s work, and I’ve tended to prefer this album over its more famous predecessor, Dark Side of the Moon.

Accidentally, just after listening to the album, this documentary popped up during a YouTube search.

A review of the documentary is here.

… (The album) was also about the group’s fallen former leader and creative well, Syd Barrett, the man that the other Floyds had grown fond of until, by the end of the ‘60s, he’d become an acid casualty and unable––or unwilling––to deliver the kind of material that had brought the band much of its early acclaim …

… It’s a strange record, short on actual songs and filled with tales of absence and longing for a return to something, anything that feels like home. Even David Gilmour’s guitar lines are more about what one doesn’t hear than what one does, and the echo-driven sound is filled with a longing and melancholy that haunts the listener.

That’s it, I think. An elegiac consideration of absence. I’m a sucker for it.