Have A Cigar

Album: Wish You Were Here (1975)


  • Much like "Welcome To The Machine," this song is about corporations and how they control their musicians. The line, "We call it riding the gravy train" is held for such a long time to emphasize the fact that these companies will go as long as possible to squeeze every last cent out of their clients. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Connor - Pawcatuck, CT
  • The lead vocal is by folk singer Roy Harper. Roger Waters' voice was shot from recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," and David Gilmour did not want to sing this, so they asked their friend Harper, who was recording down the hall, to help them out. Gilmour recalled to Mojo magazine October 2011: "Roger had a go at singing it and one or two people were unkind about his singing. One or two people then asked me to have a go at it. I did, but I wasn't comfortable. I had nothing against the lyrics. Maybe the range and intensity wasn't right for my voice. I can distinctly remember Roy leaning on the wall outside Abbey Riad, while we were nattering away and (growls) 'Go on, lemme have a go, lemme have a go.' We all went, 'Shut up Roy.' But eventually we said, 'Go on then, Roy, have your bloody go.' Most of us enjoyed his version, though I don't think Roger ever liked it."
  • Harper is the subject of the 1970 Led Zeppelin song "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper." He was good friends with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
  • This is a parody of a record company executive. Pink Floyd hated to record industry and was especially peeved when their label kept bugging them for a huge follow-up to their Dark Side of the Moon album.
  • Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, which contain every cliché he could think of that record company executives use on new bands: "You're gonna go far," "I'll tell you the name of the game," "You're going to make it," etc.
  • One of the lyrics is "By the way, which one's Pink?" This is a question many people in the music industry asked the band over the years.
  • This was one of the last songs added to the album. The song is represented on the back cover in the image of a salesman standing in a desert offering Pink Floyd albums. The salesman had no body or soul, which is how they felt about their record company.
  • There is a faceless man on the back cover of the album. This is probably Pink Floyd's way of telling us they would "lose face" with a followup to the highly successful Dark Side of the Moon. Wish You Were Here didn't sell nearly as many copies. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Randy - Sapulpa, OK
  • In the US, this was released as a single but it did not chart.
  • In 2000, Queen guitarist Brian May teamed up with The Foo Fighters to record a new version of this for the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack. Dave Grohl said he picked this song to cover because, "It's the most punk rock thing Pink Floyd ever did." Foo drummer Taylor Hawkins sang lead vocals and Grohl played drums. Taylor sang because Dave kept forgetting the lyrics during the recording session. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bert - Pueblo, NM
  • Primus covered this on their 1992 EP Miscellaneous Debris. Primus are huge Pink Floyd fans. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dave - Marieta, GA

Comments: 80

  • Kaung Khant Soe from Mandalay,myanmaroh..by the way ..which one's pink?
  • Paul from LouisianaI'm guessing. The sound at the end is the sound of the band getting "sucked in".
  • Darren from Auckland, New ZealandFantastic song by the greatest ever band, love Gilmour's guitar, as always the man is an absolute god of the instrument, one of Floyd's absolute classics!
  • Drake from Huntington Beach, CaMost of the song, (if not all of it) was sung by Roy Harper. How I know about him though is not by listening to this song, but by listening to another albums song. I first found out about this guy by listening to Led Zeppelin III, the final song on the album was Hats Off To (Roy) Harper. I really didn't know that much about it until I did a little background research on him. After listening to his voice, I quickly could compare it to this song, surely enough it's the same dude. It's kinda strange how there's similarities in music.
  • Kent from Greensburg, PaA group called Rosebud did a cover version of Have A Cigar that charted in at #4 on the Billboard's Disco Top 60 chart in June 1979. [Source: Wikipedia]
    It is actually quite good and less depressing than the original sounded.
  • Peter from Windsor, On>>Jeanette@Irvine (and anyone else wondering)

    From: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=gravy+train
    gravy (n.) ... Meaning "money easily acquired" first attested 1910; gravy train (1927) was originally railroad slang for a short haul that paid well.

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-gra4.htm has a discussion where he doesn't find any canonical evidence for that comment, though he has uncovered an example in an 1895 Pennsylvania newspaper.
  • K from Nowhere, OnWhich one's Pink? Ah, I see what you did there....
  • Kayleigh from Mystic, CtThis is my favorite Pink Floyd song.I love how Roy Harper sings the line "Everybody else is just green"
  • Given from Los Angeles, Caoh, by the way...which one's pink?
  • Jude from Baltimore, MdSurprised that no one's talked about Roy Harper. If you love 70s Pink Floyd, then Harper's work from the same period should *definitely* be sought out. Don't be thrown by the "folk" label often applied to his music; he shares more in common with his friends Gilmour and Page then, say, Dylan or Baez. Very highly recommended songs to seek out include When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease, Forget Me Not, and Hallucinating Light (all from the album "HQ"); Forbidden Fruit, I'll See You Again, Twelve Hours of Sunset, and Forever (all from "Valentine"); One of Those Days in England, and These Last Days (both from "Bullinamingvase"); as well as the two albums "Stormcock" and "Lifemask"; and the song "You (The Game Part II)" on "The Unknown Soldier," written and played on guitar by David Gilmour (an otherwise mediocre album, IMO).
  • Rhiley from Puyallup, Wasee my borther said that he read something that changed his mind about a song and i cant find it, it was something bad of some sort
  • Ani from Yerevan, ArmeniaI do NOT agree that this song has nothing to do with Syd. I think that all "Wish you were here" album is some kind of letter to Syd, by which the band's other members try to encourage him telling: "COME ON you ... and SHINE!" etc. So... when you write letters to a friend, don't you tell him/her then a little about yourself?? So, "Have A Cigar" is that part of letter (which is called WYWH), where pinks are telling Barrett about their current state :/
  • Thomas from Somerville, AlI wonder if Bill ever played this song for Monica?
  • Laura from Ft. Lauderdale, FlDefinitely on my top 10 list of favorite PF songs. The opening gets me evry time. it just grabs you by the b*lls.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InUh, no.
    Wrong...DEAD wrong.
    Roy Harper definitely sang "Cigar," but Roger most definitely DID sing "Crazy Diamond."
    In fact, he asked Harper to sing this because he had to go through so many takes on the the other song that his voice was shot.
    Harper did it very well, indeed, and his voice is quite similar to Roger's, except he has less trouble staying in tune.
    Also, Primus's cover is wonderful, with some great fretless bass work from Les, a couple of slightly modified lyrics, and Les makes his vocals even MORE sarcastic, if that were possible.
    Hats off to Les AND Roy!
  • G from Potomac, MdHey, wonderful facts, except that Harper sang lead on "Crazy Diamond" as well, not Waters. The only thing he may have been hoarse from is barking orders at the others.
  • Ishita from Mumbai, IndiaHave heard this song for the first time, its simply fantastic! mind blowing, especially leadin the later half...I'm exploring Pink Floyd as I explore myself.
  • Leaman from Middle America, MoI have to dispute a couple of the facts listed here. Roy Harper sang the song not because Waters' voice was shot (come on, there's only three verses in the song totaling about 5 minutes of vocals in Shine On), and it wasn't that Gilmour "didn't wan't" to sing the song. The band wanted a guest vocalist to give the idea of a record executive singing to the band a little more authenticity. They were fans/friends of Roy Harper, and he was nearby recording his own album.

    Also, this wasn't one of the last songs recorded for the album. It was one of the earliest. When the song debuted live, it was the middle section of "Shine On." "Welcome to the Machine" fits that description better, having been written in the studio (not road-tested live like the other songs). "Have a Cigar" was a part of the album's concept from the beginning.
  • Sheeberson from Wrightsville Beach, Ncthe best pink floyd guitar riff?

    Could be.
  • Andrew from Bartlett, TnThis song is about the music business! i love the title and the line "oh and by the way which ones Pink?" ha ha! classic.
  • Andrew from Bartlett, TnThe whole 'Wish You Were Here' album is about being lonely. I love this album and its album cover. The man on fire is getting robbed
  • Justin from Georgetown, Innormally i would get pissed about hearing someone covering a good song, but dave grohl has a lot of repect for older bands. plus he did a cover of stairway of heaven messing it up on purpose just to show you shouldn't cover that song.
  • Ozzy from Fresno, Cahow insanely dark.....
  • Achory from Warner Robins, Ga"some artists... no names mentioned (Foo Fighters)... should just leave it to the original, and by far the best. long live Pink Floyd.
    - starla, sydney, Australia": Yeah, and don't forget about Korn. anyways... great song. it is about syd barret, as well as the music industry. the entire album is sorta a tribute to barret. this song, as well as welcome to the machine, also criticised the music industry.
  • Daniel from Perth, AustraliaI love this song. It's got to be one of the best Floyd songs.

    The guitar is excellent, the riff feels so...sleazy, if you know what I mean, which can be attriubted to recording companies and their greed.
  • James from SydneyI like this 1 the best...

    The Expression "Gravy Train" means lots of money. I always thought this song was about Syd (as most of their songs were, especially on WYWH) by the lyrics "We could make a monster if we all pulled together as a team" Great song one of my favorites never knew who sang it until now, I knew it wasnt Waters or Gilmour. If you are a Floyd fan you gotta listen to this.
    - Sully, Clinton, MA

    Except that The Wall came out 4 years after this song was recorded & CD's were 7 years in teh future...apart from that, it's a very good anology of this great song.
  • Echoe from Conversano, ItalyBest line in it is when the music signer says "Oh by the way which one's Pink"
  • Desdemona from London, EnglandThis song is about syd barrett, infact every song on wish you were here is!!!!!
  • Emmie from Long Island, NyMy favorite Pink Floyd song! I love the sarcastic lyrics and it's such a fun song to sing. The whole Wish You Were Here album is fabulous. My mom has it on LP, which somehow makes listening to it even cooler.
  • Spencer from Los Angeles, CaIt also goes that way to segway into the start of "Wish You Were Here."
  • Michael from Chicago, IlI don't know about this, but I think at the end when the guitar warps into were there is no sound, symbolizes that one the it's over, no body will hear or care about you.
  • Kevin from Southington, CtSnowy White played lead guitar when this song was played live.
  • Louis from San Diego, Cathis song has a theme that is pretty common to most of the floyd made post barrett. Mostly about the loss of individualism and corruption of ones humanity. This was the first song that really was aimed directly at the corproate world.
  • Jamal from Charlotte, NcHow come know has commented on Gilmour's biting guitar solo that finishes off the song. The anger in his guitar perfectly matches the bitterness Pink Floyd had towards record companies. Anyway, David from Detroit nailed it perfectly, it's about a record company that doesn't know much ("By the way, which one's Pink?") or care about the band and just wants them to make money ("We're gonna ride the gravy train,"). This is what Pink Floyd got a lot after they made Dark Side.
  • Derek from Sarnia, Canadai had no idea roy harper did the vocals for this song...what an outstanding job he did...i love this song
    "Everybody else is just greeeeEEn.."

    Floyd Rocks
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThe music industry is composed of a bunch of greedy bast*rds who care more about commercialized material possessions and huge sacks of money than the sanity of artists and freedom of speech.
  • Michael Miller from Torrance, CaHave a cigar- fantastic is what I think- This sounds very much like Gilmour,Harper pulls it off well, holding those looooong vowels on train. A HUGE Floyd favourite.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoDavid in Detroit has it nailed. Bob in Mt. Laurel, the record execs criticized by this song were probably crying all the way to the bank! Someone should do a radio show or compile an album made up entirely of songs criticizing the record industry. There's sure plenty of them!
  • Syd from Athens, GreeceKurt, Syd Barret is no idiot, and lot's of people will actually say that he is a genious, so "Hats Off To (Syd) Barret". He was mentally ill to start off with, but the drugs gradually worsened his condition. Also there are people that believe that he wasn't all that crazy and belive that he would often fake his condition.
  • John from Northam, Australiain my opinion gimlmours voice is better that waters for some reason, it was once said that syds supposed friends use 2 lace his coffee with lsd and not tell him that it was in there. i didnt think wish you where here was about syd but morwe on life in general and the choices we make. pink floyd can not be matched by any other band they are the best
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnUrban legend: This song inspired "the name of the Game Boy" - that is, the moniker for Nintendo's first handheld videogaming system. No idea if this is relly true.
  • Adeeb from Dhaka, OtherNo doubt about what this song is about....but
    "Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar.
    You're gonna go far,
    You're gonna fly high,
    You're never gonna die,
    You're gonna make it if you try;
    They're gonna love you. "

    just makes me sit up straight and feel really good....thats going to be me one day, even though the music excs. say this to everyone, it just happens its true in this case.....so HA. They were making fun of the fact that everyone loved them because they were successful....thats really cool
  • Notmyrealemail from Buffalo, NyUm, take out the part about The Wall, lol, my timeline got discombobulated for a second.
  • Notmyrealemail from Buffalo, NyI do not see how there could possibly be any question or discrepancy in the meaning of this song. It is in fact, one of the only Floyd Songs I can think of that you really do not have to look too deeply into to understands what it means. "Come over here, celebrate your success for a second. You guys are great..which one was the wall about? Dark Side was the shizznit, pound out another CD, and we will sit back and watch the cash roll in."
  • Sully from Clinton, MaThe Expression "Gravy Train" means lots of money. I always thought this song was about Syd (as most of their songs were, especially on WYWH) by the lyrics "We could make a monster if we all pulled together as a team" Great song one of my favorites never knew who sang it until now, I knew it wasnt Waters or Gilmour. If you are a Floyd fan you gotta listen to this.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai like the voice on this song. roy harper's voice i guess.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cayeah but why a GRAVY train? i just don't get it.
  • Cal from Escanaba, MiJeanette, 'the gravy train' means they're going to 'ride a train of money' basically. In about as simple of words as you can get, they're going to ride on their success and make a lot of money.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cabtw- like all other pink floyd songs this song is GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cawhats with the gravy train? what does that have to do with the music industry?
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, Canadahaha, the synthesizer or whatever on this kicks ass *hums the tune* nah NAH NAH na..aah NAH NAH nah na..a.h
  • Kelli from New Milford, Cti love the reasoning on why pink floyd chose to right this song it shows that they can do anything and even tell the record company off and i dont care if roy harper did this song its still high in my heart and love it

    rock on pink floyd may you live forever in my heart
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScBtw, guys, I think this one of the one's about the music industry, and not one about Syd.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScIt doesn't matter who did the vocals on this one. They're fantastic! I also love the lyrics, and the guitar on this! It's one of my favorites by Pink Floyd.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThere are too many covers I've never heard- I had no idea Foo Fighters did this. I just like the words Gravy Train. I don't know why, but they are one of my favourite combinations of words, ever.
  • Starla from Sydney, Australiasome artists... no names mentioned (Foo Fighters)... should just leave it to the original, and by far the best. long live Pink Floyd.
  • Rob from Pittsfield, MaGreat song, but had nothing to do with Syd. It's just about the recording industry...thats all.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, Japan<> A sound effect will answer that one: "ka-ching."
  • Ash from Charleston, WvAnyone heard the Foo Fighter's version of this? It is quite possibly the greatest song cover EVER!!! Primus has also recorded a version.
  • Dee from Indianapolis, InI was not aware of the fact that neither of them did vocals on this tune. It is one of my favorite by them. It took some time to understand it's meaning, but the music itself is great.
  • Tim from Fort Worth, TxPink Floyd - simply the best. This is yet another example of the genius of Waters and Gilmore. Teamed with Mason and Wright they were magically ethereal and almost spiritual.
  • Wesley from Sylmar, Conobody can replace waters'voice .....except gilmour
  • Mohamed Toufik Abada from Miliana, AfricaPink Floyd....such a prestigious band, excellent lyrics, fantastic music. Hard to say which is my Pink Floyd's favorite song...they're all good!
    Something strike when listening to Have A Cigar...The Band is just fantastic, that's really what I think, oh by the way which one is Pink? I really don't know how to describe this but it's surely amazing!! Pink Floyd Rocks big time!!!
  • Orlando from Corpus Christi, TxDavid Gilmour always felt inferior to syd because he knew that Syd was a better songwriter.
  • Orlando from Corpus Christi, TxOne of the better floyd songs and I am surprised to find out that neither Gilmour or Waters are on vocals
  • Armand from Waterloo, CanadaAlso, a live version of Have A Cigar exists on a bootleg somewhere, with the vocals being done by Waters himself. It's very low-qual, but worth a listen.
  • Armand from Waterloo, CanadaIf you look at the album as a whole, you can see how it is all Syd's story.

    Disregarding the title track, along with the "Shine On" tracks which are blatantly obvious, one could clearly see how the remaining two songs refer to Barret.

    Welcome To The Machine is Pink Floyd's indoctrination into the faceless music business, which is likened to "a machine." It's about numbers not music, at this point.

    Have A Cigar simply looks at how everybody was trying to suck up to them, particularly Barrett when they finally hit it big. (though any success with Piper was nothing in comparisson with what was to come) It also, as everyone here seems to have pointed out already, serves the purpose of firing another shot into what is viewed as the enemy of creativity, the music "business."
  • Daniel from New York, Nyi love this song. one of pink floyd's best
  • Bob from Mt. Laurel, NjI wonder how the record company felt about this song.
  • Kelly from Burbank, CaI love the fact of how Roger Waters voice was shot so they had Roy Harper do the vocals. Very interesting. It just makes me wonder what the song would have been like if Waters voice hadn't been shot and he had sang on this one. Good song anyway.
  • Helen from York, EnglandMy boyfriend once went to an audition to be a stand-up comedian. He told me it was just like 'Have a cigar'.
  • David from Detroit, MiThis particular song is not about Barret. The record is split into two concepts. Welcome To The Machine and Have A Cigar are about the record industry. Shine On and Wish You Were Here are about Syd Barret, Pink Floyd's first guitarist. My opinion on the line "Which one is Pink?" Is based on a common misconception by people who don't know the band well. Thy mostly all think Pink Floyd is the lead member's name. This is probably what is going on with the record company, which implies they don't know or care about the band, but they are saying these hollow words about "You're gonna go far", "They're gonna love you", etc., and are just in the deal for their own sake. That is at least my take on it.
  • Nick from Shelton, CtThough this song has nothing to do with it,, they wanted him back in a scence that they wanted him sane again,, they didn't want him coming back in his condition, for a while he would just stand on stage and stare,, or one time he just started beating on his string untill they all broke,,but back to the point they loved sid they just had no choice.
  • Kurt from Downers Grove, IlDavid Gilmour didn't want Syd back in the band. Syd was a certifiable idiot by this point due to all the LSD he used to take.
  • Cok from Dillon, Cothe song is about their first lead singer syd barret who supposedly was introduced to a mental institution, and Gilmour wanted him back in the band because he felt inferior to his own artform
  • James from Sudbury, Canada"which one's pink" refers to what a candidate for pink floyds manager once said in 1966/67.
  • Travis from Watertown, Sdmy all time favorite pink floyd song
  • Brian from Paoli, InYeah hats off to Roy Haraper :P

    Great great song, love the guitar at the end.
  • Matt from Russell Springs, KyA big hats off to Roy Harper here. Great vocals.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaa band called Rosebud did a dance version of this song in the late 70's early 80's
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