Monday, May 20, 2013

"Wish You Were Here"

One of my favorite songs is Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.”*  The lyrics, by Roger Waters, clearly refer to Syd Barrett, one of the original members of the band, who stopped performing in 1968, and spend the remaining years of his life living privately and gardening.  His behavior, attributed at the time to his drug use, had become erratic, and his ability to perform declined. 
What I find interesting about the song is that if contains the affection felt by Waters for Barrett, but it also has an underlying anger that Barrett had left the people who loved him (including the band) for a retreat from the world.
Combined with a hauntingly beautiful guitar part, this is one of the most compulsively listenable songs I know.
So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in a war
For a lead role in a cage?
 *© 1975 Warner/Chapell Music; words & music by Roger Waters & David Gilmour

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