So why is Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
This is an unusual album from an unusual band.
Wish You Were Here is a “full length album” from a playing time standpoint at 44 minutes, though it only contains five songs. Well, sort of. The first and last track are both called “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” with the first listed as “Pts. 1-5” and the last “Pts. 6-9.”
I started talking about Wish You Were Here in the entry for The Wall (#499 of best 1,000 albums ever):
In thinking about Pink Floyd specifically, they seemed to be a band that was “around” in my life from a young age. I specifically recall Jake (the same one who gave me the Led Zepp tape) and his mom picking me up at a pre-dawn hour to go on a skiing trip, with the great Wish You Were Here album to accompany the journey.
And to get even more specific, to this day I associate the approximately 25 minute long “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” with driving down the Long Island Expressway, miraculously devoid of traffic due to the obscenely early hour.
There’s a slightly surreal energy from being places that are “normally” occupied – packed with noisy cars and people in the case of the infamous LIE – that instead are empty. Being in a typically busy office building in the middle of the night is another example, but having the feeling and freedom of movement on a highway adds to that ever so slight otherworldly vibe.
I think of all of these while listening to the languid, cinematic-feeling, and mostly vocals-free expanse of “Shine You Crazy Diamond,” and there’s a beautiful build to the chorus that feels so well earned when it does come.
There’s also a warmth to Wish You Were Here that is strikingly different from most of Pink Floyd’s output, and the title track, “Wish You Were Here” plays a large part in that as well. It’s an acoustic, slightly psychedelic rock number that’s very likely the most gorgeous song that the band ever produced. It’s really wonderful and timeless.
“Have A Cigar” is also quite good, but to me feels more of a piece with the (brilliant) The Dark Side of the Moon album that came out two years before the release of Wish You Were Here, with its dark(er) funk sound.
Some stats & info about Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? British Bands, Rock Music, Prog Rock, Art Rock, Album Rock, Concept Albums
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #264
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was Wish You Were Here released? 1975
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #477 out of 1,000
Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
Shine on you crazy diamond.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.