Pink Floyd Wish You were Here

Wish You Were Here

Welcome back to another edition of “This Week In Rock History.”

It’s often said in the arts that before you can successfully break the rules, you have to have mastered them. The proof is in the pudding here that Pink Floyd, certainly rule breakers, have also mastered the craft of traditional rock songwriting with their dreamy, acoustic ballad “Wish You Were Here”. One of the band’s most beloved song, Wish You Were Here was co-written by Roger Waters and David Gilmour. It’s a shame that the two have such a contentious relationship because they sure made beautiful music together.

With densely layered acoustic guitars played by Gilmour, who also handles lead vocal duties with aplomb, Wish You Were Here is a touching tribute to fallen Pink Floyd comrade Syd Barrett. Barrett, the band’s original lead singer and guitarist, was a casualty of drugs – acid specifically – and was no longer well enough to perform with the band. His shadow continued to haunt the band throughout the years, with songs often alluding to their lost friend.

Wish You Were Here was released on September 12, 1975, the title track from the band’s ninth studio album. And though the song only reached #68 on the UK charts and didn’t chart in the United States, this tune is a true Pink Floyd classic, loved and adored by millions.

Sigh, Pink Floyd. We wish you were here, too.

Here’s what else happened this week in rock history:

Born this Week in Rock History

Otis Redding: September 9, 1941 (singer-songwriter, R&B)
Bruce Palmer: September 9, 1946 (bass, Buffalo Springfield)
Joe Perry: September 10, 1950 (guitarist, Aerosmith)
John Martyn: September 11, 1948 (singer-songwriter)
Tommy Shaw: September 11, 1953 (vocals and guitar, Styx)
Barry White: September 12, 1944 (singer-songwriter, R&B)
Steve Gaines: September 14, 1949 (guitar, Lynyrd Skynyrd)


Died this Week in Rock History

Ernie Ball: September 9, 2004 (music entrepreneur)
Peter Tosh: September 11, 1987 (guitar and keyboard, Bob Marley and the Wailers)
Johnny Cash: September 12, 2003 (singer-songwriter)
Rick Wright: September 15, 2008 (keyboards, Pink Floyd)


Music releases and top of the charts

Sam and Dave, “Soul Man”  was released: September 9, 1967
John Lennon, Imagine was released: September 9, 1971
The Eagles, “Witchy Woman” was released: September 9, 1972
The Who’s LP Who Are You enters the charts: September 9, 1978
Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” is certified gold: September 10, 1975
Bob Dylan, Hard Rain was released: September 10, 1976
The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” is certified gold: September 11, 1967
Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here was released: September 12, 1975
Santana’s LP Santana hits #1: September 13, 1969
Bruce Springsteen’s LP Born To Run enters the charts: September 13, 1975
Big Brother and the Holding Company’s LP Cheap Thrills enters the charts: September 14, 1968
Eric Clapton’s “I Shot The Sheriff” hits #1: September 14, 1974


This Week in Rock History

Elvis makes his Ed Sullivan Show debut, playing his songs “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Love Me Tender”, and “Ready Teddy” – September 9, 1956

Rod Stewart records his very first single, which was a cover of the Willie Dixon-penned tune “Good Morning Little School Girl”. The cut featured future Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on bass – September 10, 1964

The BBC bans the song “Star Star” by The Rolling Stones. The song used a dirty phrase in the chorus. 12 times. – September 10, 1973

The band the New York Dolls break up: September 10, 1974

Bing Crosby invites David Bowie to make a very special appearance on his annual Christmas TV special. He suggested that the pair sing a duet. Bowie agreed, and the two wound up filming an incredible rendition of “Little Drummer Boy” mashed up with Bowie’s original composition “Peace on Earth” – September 10, 1977

The Who play their first concert without Keith Moon, who died the previous year. To fill in, the band gets ex-Faces drummer Kenny Jones. He eventually becomes Moon’s permanent replacement – September 11, 1979

The practice of “Payola” is banned by the FCC. The controversial Payola practice involved the act of paying DJ’s to play specific songs. This became a huge scandal involving such well-respected DJ’s as Dick Clark and Alan Freed: September 13, 1960

Rolling Stone magazine reports that Pete Townshend of The Who is working on something called a “rock opera”, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a musical utilizing rock music rather than classical or traditional standard pop music. The topic of the rock opera was to be a boy who was dead, dumb and blind but who excelled at the game of Pinball. This, of course, would turn into the legendary album and show Tommy – September 14, 1968

Jim Morrison, who is supposed to perform with The Doors that night, collapses on stage during the opening band’s set – that happened to be Jefferson Airplane, by the way. Morrison had been binge drinking and smoking hashish for days when he collapsed. The Doors are forced to go onstage as a trio – September 15, 1968

Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind 1997,” rewritten and rerecorded with new lyrics paying tribute to the recently-deceased Princess Di, sells a record 600,000 copies in one day in Britain alone. It would go on to become the biggest-selling single of all time: September 15, 1997

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