Writer: Roger Waters and David Gilmour
Producer: Pink Floyd
Recorded: January-July 1975 at Abbey Road Studios in London
Released: September 1975
|Players:||David Gilmour — vocals, guitar
Roger Waters — bass
Rick Wright — keyboards
Nick Mason — drums
Stephane Grappelli — violins
|Album:||Wish You Were Here (Columbia)|
“Wish You Were Here” is a rare instance in Pink Floyd's history when the lyrics for a song were written before the music.
Guitarist David Gilmour sang lead on the song.
“Wish You Were Here” transitions from “Have A Cigar” with the sound of a cheap transistor radio, which was created by simultaneously moving several sliders on the mixing desk.
Famed jazz and classical violinist Stephane Grappelli was used because he happened to be at Abbey Road at the same time, working on another recording. His contribution to the song — a few bars towards the end, for which he was paid 300 British pounds — was uncredited on the album.
The snippet of orchestral music included in “Wish You Were Here” came from Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony.
During the sessions for the Wish You Were Here album, Pink Floyd co-founder and guitarist Syd Barrett — who was booted from the band in 1968 due to drug-induced emotional problems — showed up unannounced. The bandmembers hadn't seen him in several years, and they didn't immediately recognize him. Ironically, at the time, the group was recording the song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which was inspired by Barrett.
The recording of the album was also made more difficult by personal problems within the band, as singer-bassist Roger Waters and drummer Nick Mason were both going through divorces.
Gilmour and keyboardist Rick Wright, however, cite this as their favorite Pink Floyd album.
Shortly after Pink Floyd finished recording the album, they headlined the Knebworth Festival in England, using quadraphonic sound and a replica of a Spitfire airplane that crashed into the stage as part of the show.