The Difficult Story Behind “Wish You Were Here”

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Pink Floyd is an English rock band that was formed back in 1965 and it is one of the most iconic bands in the history of rock. The band was started by Syd Barrett along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright. However, just two years after it was formed in 1967, Barrett’s friend David Gilmour joined them and replaced him because of his excessive drug use and mental illness.

While Gilmour first only replaced Barrett on guitar, later on, he had to carry Barrett’s weight full on. And after Gilmour took over they started to make music constantly and created a great number of songs that would go insanely hit.

However, you may not know that one of their most popular songs was a tribute or in memory of their friend Syd Barrett. What song are we talking about here? well, you will have to keep on reading the article to find out. Furthermore, this song’s story is really heart-touching.

The difficult story behind Wish You Were Here

Ever heard the phrase suffering from success? well, you have now. And it was exactly what happened to Pink Floyd after they released their eighth studio album The Dark Side of the Moon which was released on March 1, 1973. This album went so hard that they did not even know what to do now, they were flabbergasted by the success and it led to suffering.

Why suffer? because they now had to give a follow-up album as great as it was and it was so much pressure for them that Waters even said thought that they were finished now, Gilmour revealed in the 2012 Wish You Were Here documentary. Furthermore, he also said, “Having achieved the sort of success and money out of it all, it could fulfill anyone’s wildest teenage dreams, why we would still continue to want to do it?”

However, with much pressure, they came up with their ninth studio album Wish You Were Here which they released on September 12, 1975. And it was such a great album that really was great as their previous album. This album contains their most iconic songs including Shine On You Crazy Diamond. And obviously, it is also one of Pink Floyd’s most successful albums.

It was also revealed that this album is the favorite of both David Gilmour and Richard Wright. And you the song we are talking about is none other than Shine On You Crazy Diamond. They wrote this 25-minute-long masterpiece for their old band member and friend Syd Barrett.

They have even mentioned that they were inspired to write this album because of their friend’s worsening health and mental illness. It had been years since Barrett left the band however, one day when the band was recording a new song  Barrett arrived at the studio unannounced.

And he was so overweight and ill that the band members did not even recognize him at one glance. Watching their friend in that state they all felt very bad and it was really heartbreaking for them. They then worked really hard for Barrett and they created Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a song that would be a masterpiece.

Furthermore, it was more heartbreaking to Gilmour as he was the one who replaced Barrett and he has even admitted that he always remembers his pal when performing this song. Maybe the reason this song is so popular and iconic is that it was written with deep emotion for their old friend.

Sadly, Barrett passed away on July 7, 2006, in Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was 60 years at the time of his death. Furthermore, he died battling pancreatic cancer. After his death, Wright said that Barrett’s death was really sad to hear and he also mentioned Barrett as Pink Floyd’s guiding light.

Gilmour also talked about his death and said, “Do find time to play some of Syd’s songs and to remember him as the madcap genius who made us all smile with his wonderfully eccentric songs about bikes, gnomes, and scarecrows. His career was painfully short, yet he touched more people than he could ever know.”

Well, given the fact that he was one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, he will always be remembered and missed even though his career was really short just like Gilmour mentioned.

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