Wish You Were Here

Pink Floyd is a band that had a formative influence in my early life. I believe that their blending of rock with experimental music was part of what made me seek out more obscure types of rock music, a taste I’ve retained through my life. 

When one of my brothers was still living in the family home, he set up a “suite” in the unfinished basement, cleverly divided with curtains or some other cloth barrier, and I remember the space having a very inviting vibe to it. He had an excellent stereo system (or “hi-fi” as he refers to it, for those who still recall the term high-fidelity, referring to the quality of sound reproduction). On weekend evenings when my parents and the rest of the family were out, I’d often be at home, and at some point, I’d get invited to join my brother and his friends in his room. I remember them being chill, kindhearted people who took a real interest in me. As a spindly, geeky, awkward teenager, this had great value for me and my sense of self and belonging.

The same brother introduced me to Pink Floyd, as he did with many other bands back then. At one point, I bought his vinyl collection of rock records, including some gems by Pink Floyd: Ummagumma (1969), Meddle (1971), Obscured by Clouds (1972), Dark Side of the Moon (1973), and Wish You Were Here (1975). I  added Animals (1977) and The Wall (1979), both of which were significant in my later high school and early work years.

Photo of a staggered stack of seven long-play record covers.
My Pink Floyd collection. Note how I removed the clear sticker from the cellophane wrapper on The Wall and stuck it on the album cover. I don’t know of anyone else who did that; guess it was an attempt at clarity. Also, see the Opus 69 record store price tag on Dark Side of the Moon, CAD 4.79.
Photo © Steve West.

In my early years of collecting albums (please see my post on “Orpheus” for more on my shopping excursions), and as I’ve mentioned before, I savoured and still enjoy the album art designs and liner notes. As did some other major musical acts, Pink Floyd frequently used the English art design firm, Hipgnosis, to create the art for their album covers.

Today, I continued listening to yesterday’s “The Finest Hour Goes to Three Hours — Bring It On” episode of BBC 6 Music’s Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour. These memories floated to the surface on my hearing of “Wish You Were Here” in a 2015 recording of a live performance by David Gilmour at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, which played after Garvey’s segment on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s contributions to the museum district of London.

With the current public health response of “stay at home” and “social/physical distancing” in the global coronavirus pandemic, the song title also seemed fitting today.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the official video of the live performance from David Gilmour’s YouTube channel.

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