More than any other Pink Floyd album, “Wish You Were Here” is a showcase for Rick Wright’s keyboards. Sure, David Gilmour lays down some impressive guitar work (as usual), but it’s really the synthesizers and other keys that set the mood of the songs on this record.
The album opens and closes with “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, a tribute to Pink Floyd’s former guitarist and founding member Syd Barrett, who had tragically become a mental casualty of the late 1960’s drug culture. He had been kicked out of the band before the release of their second album because he just couldn’t function anymore. He went into seclusion shortly thereafter.
Sandwiched in between the opening and closing of “Shine On…”, were “Welcome To The Machine”, “Have A Cigar”, and the title track. The first two were somewhat scathing commentaries on the music industry. The song “Wish You Were Here” was a song about longing and isolation – it was also a tribute to Barrett. Throughout all the songs, Rick Wright’s jazz tinged keyboard style consistently sets the tone perfectly, making this one of my all-time favorite recordings – one I am elated to have a half speed master copy of.
Half-speed mastered albums were audiophile pressings that were done in very limited numbers and offered superior sound quality because of the slower speed used to cut the master disk that the copies were made from. “Wish You Were Here” is the first audiophile copy I owned of any album.