This song is about the detached feeling most people go through life with. It is a commentary on how people cope with the world by withdrawing physically, mentally, or emotionally. In the commentary of The Wall, Roger Waters states that the inspiration was Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett and his ordeal with schizophrenia.
Suggestion credit: Roxanne - Denver, Colorado
Roger Waters has said this song was based on a poem he wrote about Syd Barrett's fall from reality. It was said that Syd's friends would lace his coffee with LSD, which eventually lead to his mental breakdown.
Suggestion credit: Matt - Ruston, LA
This was a rare case of the Pink Floyd primary songwriters Roger Waters and David Gilmour mutually collaborating on a song - they rarely wrote together. Gilmour had the opening riff written and was playing it in the studio at a fast pace when Roger Waters heard it and asked him to play it slower. The song built from there, with the pair writing the music for the chorus and verses together, and Waters adding the lyrics.
The song reflected the feeling of the band while they were recording the album. Waters felt they were not putting a full effort into the recording sessions.
When this song starts, it sounds like it is coming from an AM radio somewhere in the distance. It represents the distance between the listener and the music.
At the end, when the wind is blowing, you can hear the sound of a violin that was played by Stephane Grappelli, a Jazz musician who was recording in nearby studios. Pink Floyd asked him to guest on this when they found out he was there.
The theme of the album is absence. They chose this as the title track because it summed up the message. The man who did their cover art, Storm Thorgerson, was the first to suggest this as the album title.
The album contains images relating to the theme of detachment. The most prominent image shows 2 businessmen shaking hands, with one of them on fire. This represents an insincere business deal, with one of the men about to get burned. In all of the images, there is something missing, like the diver who does not make a splash.
Like many Pink Floyd albums, this does not translate nearly as well to CD. A lot of work went into choosing which songs were on the front and back sides of the album, which is eliminated on the CD, and there is also a lot less room for the artwork, which goes along with the music.
When Pink Floyd was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, they played this at the induction ceremony. Nick Mason accepted the award but didn't join the performance, while Roger Waters and Syd Barrett didn't attend.
Suggestion credit: Bertrand - Paris, France
In the 26th second of the song you can hear a small cough. This was to create the effect of a man listening to the radio and playing along with his guitar. In the 31st second you can hear a sniff. Rumors say that it symbolizes Gilmour quitting smoking, but it could just be the radio and the man.
Suggestion credit: Long - Houston, TX
This is one of the few songs Roger Waters continued to play at his shows after leaving Pink Floyd that David Gilmour helped him write.
Fred Durst and Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Johnny Rzeznik of The Goo Goo Dolls performed this at the 2001 "Tribute To Heroes" telethon to benefit victims of the terrorist attacks on America. Durst, Rzeznik, and Borland appealed to a younger audience, but this song was familiar to the older viewers as well. Almost 60 million people watched the telethon.
Wyclef Jean did a soul-reggae version on his 2 Side II a Book album. He paid credit to Pink Floyd in additional lyrics at the end of the track:
My brother tune me into rock Put me up on Pink Floyd, a band from the British blocks>>
Suggestion credit: Shades - London, England
The song was performed at the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Nick Mason played drums and he was assisted by singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, Richard Jones of The Feeling and Mike Rutherford of Genesis. Their version entered the UK singles chart at #34 the following week. The Pink Floyd original simultaneously landed at #68, marking the first time it had entered the UK top 75.
John from UsaThis song is about loss during a time in our history that marked by major social and political changes. There was a big push for us to leap into the unknown future and forsake the things of the past that had served us well. It also about very personal loss and wish to go back and say the things you wanted to say and live the moments that slipped by and are now lost to time. It is also about the connections we make each other and how even though we are different personalities we share common hopes and fears. Its raw emotion stirring musical and lyrics speaks to many people on many different levels. Would you go back again if you could? Would you have had the courage to tell that crush how you felt, or one of your friends or family that you really did love them? That you understood them even though it seemed like didn't at the time. This song is a reminder of friends and family lost and opportunities missed. It is a reminder that despite what seperates us we are not to much different after all. To all my old crew wish you were here.
Larry from CalifI have my own personal take on this song, and I "hear" different lyrics than those presented in Song Facts. I believe that the song is about Syd Barrett, and the life circumstances that were created by his well-known mental illness problems To me, the song portrays the horrors of the mental institutions where a person with a very severe case of psychological issues might be sent for treatment...for example, locked down one-person isolated cells, being forced to wear straight jackets or handcuffs, etc. So instead of "cold comfort for change" I hear "cold comfort for chains". Instead of exchanging "a walk-on part in the war", you've exchanged "a walk-on part in the world" (which most of normal humanity accepts) for the key to my thinking, "a lead role in a cage". Now the cage is seen to be the lockdown cell, and the chains are the restraints one might have to wear.
Titan from Adelaide, South AustraliaI have heard that this song and the album of the same name are both a tribute to original band member Sid Barrett and that during the recording of this album said ex-member Sid actually made an appearance in the studio for one session. His appearance had changed so much since '68 that he had become virtually unrecognizable (he was overweight and his head was shaved bald) and it took members of the band nearly an hour to discover the true identity of 'the strange looking man in the corner listening to all of our music'. Roger Waters was so unnerved by the whole experience of seeing what had become of his once best friend that he broke down in tears and could not complete the session. And that was the last time they saw Sid ever again. My own experience of this song is so emotional. For a band categorised as Prog Rock, Pink Floyd really displayed a great knowledge of blues and folk styles, and this song in particular is in my opinion the most emotionally affecting song in the whole canon of modern popular music. I am not an overly emotional person yet this song has the capacity to bring me to tears, so powerful is the undercurrent that runs through it. The instant you hear that opening riff on the guitar it touches you in a place so deep, so personal and it always brings back memories of loved ones and feelings of loss. The music is so simple yet the words are so profound. I think it is a song about depression, the 'black dog' that hovers overhead at tough times waiting for us to succumb to its pull, and the daily struggle that people suffering from mental illness must endure in order to just stay afloat. The danger that is always just around the corner that somehow is made worse by the feelings of loss felt by those left behind when people die or become institutionalised. A powerful statement indeed!
Tom from OregonTo me this song is about fear, the way fear numbs us and prevents us from being present and fully living our lives. He says "What have we found? The same old fears." In this interpretation, the word "they" in the second verse refers to the fears. Did your fears get you to trade the heroes of your youth for ghosts? Did they cause you to live in a dead place (hot ashes, hot air) rather than going out into the open (trees, cool breeze)? By not facing your fears, did you get cold comfort (numbness) rather than face the changes you needed to go through? Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war (the struggles of living) for a lead role in a cage (your own interior world)? I also think that the "you" that is being referred to could be one's own younger self. How I wish you (the person I used to be) was still here with me now. I do think the song was written about Syd Barrett, but I love the fact that there are so many ways to interpret it, that it can have so many meanings and all of them can be true and helpful to us as we all live partly inside our heads and partly in the outside world. To all of the people who commented on this song, I can only say that I wish you were here with me. You are all so sad and beautiful. If only we could share our joy and pain together instead of being so alone.
David from Guntersville, Alabama I was surprised to read Roger Waters' meaning of the lyrics. I was so sure it was about two Vietnam veterans recounting the impact of the war.
So, so you think you can tell heaven from hell (Coming in country from boot these two survivors really didn't know what they were getting into) Blue skies from pain (A bullet could hit you from out of the blue sky) Can you tell a green field (Rice paddies) From a cold steel rail (A rail is the mounting system of an M16) A smile from a veil? (You didn't know who the enemy was) Do you think you can tell?
Did they get you to trade Your heroes for ghosts? (Could you really forget your brothers killed in action...) Hot ashes for trees? Hot air for a cool breeze? Cold comfort for change? (the destruction and heat to calmly transition into civilian life?) And did you exchange A walk on part in the war For a lead role in a cage (Try as you might to move on with your life, did you REALLY succeed? Did you really want that corner office working 70 hours a week?)
How I wish, how I wish you were here (Whispered to fallen brothers) We're just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl Year after year (Veterans who survived referring to themselves) Running over the same old ground And how we found The same old fears (Remembering the same fears of war. Never really getting over its pain, suffering and loss) Wish you were here.
Since the names of the wars have changed but not the experience my interpretation never changed.
Dana from CaliforniaThis song has just been playing in my head for the past week, I never even knew all the lyrics or what is was referring to. My dad just turned 80, and my 79 year old mom has been fighting Cancer for the past 2 years, it’s so hard for me to see them “old” and kind of struggling, they were both always so young for their age and the Cancer has aged Mom so quickly…I had a brother who committed suicide on New Years Eve 1989 at age 20. I just looked up the lyrics to this song and thought, “that’s it”, of course I always miss my brother, but I’ll tell ya, I sure could use him around right now in this time of my and my parents’ lives. Wish you were here Brad.
Amy Pala from Norfolk, VaI was cooking out with friends at their home, and we were discussing Pink Floyd; the husband friend disappeared from the kitchen, then returned with his guitar, and played the opening rift of Wish You Were Here; we were pleasantly surprised, because he had recently taken up the guitar; it was wonderful; a great memory.
James from NebraskaRoger Waters played Comfortably Numb in many of his shows, especially The Wall Live Tour.
Joseph Trexler from Jensen Beach, FlA lot of people associate this song with a lost love or something, a girl, a relationship. Its not... Its about a friend. That's what I always liked about this song. I love playing it on guitar too.
Lisa from New York, UsaI get that this is about some heavy s--t, but call me crazy, I have always found this song to be SO ROMANTIC! Whenever I hear it, I always envision slow dancing, and an unshakeable connection. "Two lost souls livin' in a fish bowl.......", I just see two people so connected and so disconnected to everyone else. You and me against the world. The world is so bad you can't even tell "heaven from hell" so let's just hold each other. Not at all saying this is at all what PF had in mind, just what this song does to me. Chills. Real romance, not "Harelequin" style. Real, solid, intense, connection. Musically its astonishingly beautiful. So glad they decided to do it as a slow composition.
Isaac from Pangatotara, New ZealandThe starting riff for this song was recorded through David Gilmour's car radio. It is meant to represent someone sitting in their car, playing along to the radio on guitar.
Chris from Lobelville, TnThis song brings back some old memories of my dad. I lost him to cancer over 20 yrs ago on Christmas eve. He did not like that damn rock and roll music at all. I was taking him for a treatment one day and it was pretty chilly outside. I had a soft top vehicle and he insisted on taking the top off - I explained to him that it was too cold to ride down I-40 with the top off not to mention that everyone would look at us like we had lost all of our mind. Reasoning failed so I took off the top. As we were riding down the interstate that song came on. I was waiting for him to say turn that crap off but instead he said nothing. When the song made it to the end where the wind was blowing he looked at me and said, "you know son, that's a damn good song". I knew that treatment had worked him over. Now to this day when I hear that song all I think about is that day and how much I miss that man!! Love you daddy. Miss you much!
Drake from Huntington Beach, CaThe song is about Syd Barrett's drug addiction which soon led to his Mental Breakdown. One of the great minds of the decade R.I.P.
Kimberly from Landing, NjAnd when we do do its Beuti at its BEST!
Kimberly from Landing, NjVisions ... do we know the answer...?
Believe ... the band of answers comes thru Souls , Present and past.
Kimberly from Landing, NjAre images r seen as we find LIFE. TY. Nothing better then to realize.
Groovy Chic from Cincinnati, OhThis best song in the whole world! Genius! We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. runnin over the same old ground...and how we found the same old fears....WISH YOU WERE HERE
Gene from Garden Grove, Ca Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here Lyrics (My thoughts on the lyrics and how they speak to me “personally”)
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell, - I think the Adam and Eve thought that Tony from MI had was interesting and I am going with it…. “Adam & Eve thought they could "tell heaven from hell", but the result was an outcome they couldn't imagine. Now because of that choice of those two saying we will know what God knows and judge good from evil, I now I need a savior (Jesus) to get me back to that original relationship that they had with God of being with him. So I am like I wish you were here (God).”-
Blue sky's from pain. - Eve traded her blue sky for pain in child birth -
Can you tell a green field From a cold steel rail? - Adam traded his tending the garden for hard labor-
A smile from a veil? Do you think you can tell? - Now that sin has entered into the world very little of what we see is reality-
And did they get you to trade Your heroes for ghosts? - Many have traded God in and followed Satan's ways-
Hot ashes for trees? - Traded for Hell and gave up Gods living branches-
Hot air for a cool breeze? - Traded for Satan's lies and gave up Gods Word-
Cold comfort for change? - Traded for Satan's lie of evolution rather than accept creationism-
And did you exchange A walk on part in the war For a lead role in a cage? - "Trading something more noble for something else more selfish" by oldpink, New Castle, IN
How I wish, how I wish you were here. - The "wishing Jesus was here" from Tony in MI was a touching thought but I was thinking more on the lines of wishing my wife Deb and I were still one in the marriage we are so divided from and that we could be one again the way we use to be.-
We're just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl, - Everyone is watching my wife Deb and me very closely, even though we are 2200 miles apart.-
Year after year, Running over the same old ground. - We keep going over and over the reasons of how we got so separated with no resolution-
And how we found The same old fears. - No resolution, finding ourselves in the same place as the day before-
Wish you were here... - No words can explain, how I wish you were here….-
Catherine from Landrum, Scwish you were here and shine on you crazy diamond both are about barrett. when they recorded both of them, he had already lost his mind. certain lines in other pink floyd songs also refer to barrett. "silver spoon on a chain", "the lunatic is on the grass", "the lunatic is in my heart" etc
Tony from Da Hood, MiWE all have experiences that effect our interpretation & that creates the wonderful joy of art and music, that human connection. I am a Jesus person, so when I hear this song I weep thinking about God, because the narrative of the song is not unlike the separation that I feel from not being with God. I think of the two fishies as like symbols for Adam & Eve. They thought they could "tell heaven from hell", but the result was an outcome they couldn't imagine. Now because of that choice of those two saying we will know what God knows and judge good from evil. Now I need a savior (Jesus) to get me back to that original relationship that they had with God of being with him. So I am like I wish you were here (God). I know it is waaaay different from the normal thoughts on this jam, but that is Why Floyd rocks and this song is sweet. Plus I love the song cuz it is so fun and easy to play on an acoustic:) I love the G to Em transition totally like heart strings. I love it Peace all
Melody from San Carlos, CaMy son was killed in a horrible automobile crash in 2009 at the age of 26. This song reaches into my heart and I think of him...wishing so badly that he was here...Zach would have understood my feelings and the meaning of this song to me. I love him with all my heart and am so glad that there is music that reaches my soul.
John from Brownsvalley, Cato me this song is forgetting your self, how you lose your sense of being growing up, say working in a cubicle instead doing what you love to do, hence "to exchange a walk on part of the wall for a lead role in a cage"
Javi from Riverside, Cathe best band ever
Swastik from Dharan, NepalInitially I thought this song is about love but I knew that Its all about SYD BARRET. nice song which reminds me of old days vocal is ..... no words
Diann from Evansville, InI feel that with most songs you may find how it reminds you of things you are dealing with in your own life. I realize the artist has his/her own reason for writing it but we all are attracted to songs that effect us in different ways. We all try to figure out the artist's meaning, yet I feel that we chose favorites based on our ability to get our own meaning. That is what makes a great artist, the ability to write thier pain or reality then we grasp a feeling from that song that we are familiar with. I have a amatuer musician/working son that I miss immensely, even though we speak on a regular basis this is our song to each other that he plays for me over the phone. In the same instance I have a friend whom this song is his to a son he has lostin a car accident. Thank You to Pink Floyd for this song from everyone whom it touches. I respect your meaning as I am sure you do mine.
Doug Akin from Waterloo, IlDuring the vietnam war i always had the impression that Pink Floyd was trying to let the politicians know about the plight the soldiers were in. The verses how i wish how i wish you were here was to tell them to look at it from a different perspective.
Mark from Fort Walton Beach, FlI thik he wrote it about himself,and how the band getting so big changed them,But it makes me think of the cage I'm in and how the man I used to be would be able to get out and fix this life!
Modest Mouse from Provo, UtI believe all of the Pink Floyd songs can be interpreted in many ways. i think thats why they reach out to such a large audience. to me this song reminds me of me and my friend. we both got involved in serious addictions. the part that says two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl...that reminds me of the trapped feeling. like we had no where to turn and then when we finally escaped the only thing that made us happy. not the addictions but being together because he was my best friend. RIP
Rawyer from Mesa, AzThis song reminds me of my wife who was killed last summer. it was one of her favorites also... i was always working out of town or state, and i would call her everynight and we would play this song where she was and where i was... now when i hear it, it brings me to tears, because she is gone... very awesome song,, it moves me everytime i listen to it now..... thaynx pink floyd it brings back good memories with my wife.... love and miss u my wife.. and much love for pink floyd
Cj from Pa, Payou know im a 16 year old rebelious teen and i cry alot bye alot i meen every night ..... wish i was exagerating but when i hear this song and a select few others no matter where i am i alwasy shed a tear this song means so much to me what it meens to me is that he is telling off some one else because no one knows what other ppl go therw these day they judge the book bye the cover they dont look deeper when ppl are put down and hurt for who they really are it sickens mee i just wish more ppl would take the time to think just because ppl are diferent or self harm or have difrent coping methods dosent meen u need to make it worse chances are ure a small reason for it its sad it really is and i will admit i pick fun some times but its with friend and to friends i dont pick on random ppl cuz i know how that feels you no some ppl say stick and stones will brack my bones but words will never hert me thats a lie sticks and stones may brake ure bones but words will hurt for ever .... idk how else to say this but take time befor you think cuz what u say could alter some ones life for a long time ... i no this has nothing to do with this song i just want ppl to relize what they do and im sorri if u ppl think im funny but im serious ty to everyone who took the time to read this and actuly cares ..
Maria from Tallinn, EstoniaI have a feeling he is talking about his friend who became sick.. He is trying to figure out what is going on in his head.. the world is an illusion and we're all trying to figure out what is real and what is not.. to us.. it is really sad.. even though his actions were strange did he still understand the world as we see it? or did he see the reality bhind the illusions.. a smile from a vail.. I have a feeling he wanted to have his friend back who became a prisoner..
Matthew from Trnava, SlovakiaI believe it's all about Syd. His life affected all the remaining members of the band so much. I wish he was there, OK and healthy. I wish he could do what he loved to do - the music. It's about Syd. Yes.
Brian from Fremont, CaAttn. oldpink, Newcastle, In: I would love to know where I might find that statement by Waters. In all I have read (books, magazines, credible web sites, etc.), I am unaware of any outright denial by anyone associated with the band of this song being of any reference, what-so-ever, to Barret. For my part, I submit;
Pink Floyd followed the commercial breakthrough of Dark Side of the Moon with Wish You Were Here, a loose concept album about and dedicated to their founding member Syd Barrett. Everything is about Syd, even the title of the album.
1) In 1975, during the recording of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album, Barrett showed up unannounced at the studio -- ironically, during the recording of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," a song about him. He had become overweight and shaved his eyebrows; the other members didn't recognize him at first.
Brian from Fremont, CaIt is my long held beief that most song writers intend to leave their lyrics open to interperetation. Once the song reches the audience ear, it no longer belongs to the artist, with regard to meaning. That's why it's so hard to determine the exact intention of the writer. Most don't seem very forthcoming with explanations of their meaning in lyrics (probably, their true meaning is diguised out of desire for some level of privacy of their exact thoughts). Nevertheless, much has been documented about Syd Barret's psych problems, LSD use and his appearance at the studio during the recording of this album that most references to him are obvious. His appearance at the Wish You Were Here sessions was notedly ironic because, it seems nobody recognized him and much of the albums material refers to Barret (esp. the title track & "Shine on You Crazy Diamond", as was the case with DSotM and The Wall. But, this album in particular, with it's jabs at the music industry ("Welcom to the Machine" & "Have A Cigar") ties in quite directly with Barret's psychological demise.
Steve from Tuscalossa, Al"To me" this song is about Brandy, after all of these years I wish you were here, Steve.
Emily from St. Louis, MoI don't care if this song is secretly about killing puppies, I will never love it any less. Makes me so sad that I missed the greatest era that music has ever seen.
Brad from A City, Ky(((David Gilmour once said in a interveiw that "If every one interpeted the same meaning from a song that he had written, then he had failed miserably in his endeavour". Judgeing from the post above he's had the ultimate success - chris, Ocean Springs , MS))) Nice quote, but David Gilmour did NOT write this song. Roger Waters, the man who truly was "Pink", wrote it. Gilmour couldn't write songs if his life depended on it. If you don't believe me check out his contribution to "Ummagumma", "The Narrow Way". The songs on "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" had lyrics written by the same people who write lyrics for bubble gum pop stars, and the songs on "Division Bell" were written by Gilmour's new wife at the time. Talk about pathetic.
Peter from Athens, GreeceTHE FIRST THE BEST EVER!!!!!
Djkingmarco from Dallas, TxThe band or Waters resented being pigeonholed by the music business. Being truthful with yourself self is hard when you realize so much of what we experience cannot be trusted / is an illusion. "Did you exchange a walk on part in a war, for a lead role in a cage" to me is about selling out, or settling for less than total existential honesty (something that was very important in the '70s). It may be also a retrospective thought aimed at Syd, explaining that it's also painful at the top, except that you've sold out, and there's no difference: yet what still counts are the friendships, no matter the circumstances. The author's feelings of separation from those who tend to center one (Syd, lost comrades), remain solidly real and poignant.
Sam from Smithton, IlThe entire album is amazing, but "Wish You Were Here" is the best. It's sheer poetry, and the song itself is beautifully composed. I always thought that the album cover was a man giving a parting handshake to a lost friend.
Kevin from Knoxville, Tn(((In the 26th second of the song you can hear a small cough. This was to create the effect of a man listening to the radio and playing along with his guitar. In the 31st second you can hear a sniff. Rumors say that it symbolizes Gilmour quitting smoking, but it could just be the radio and the man. (thanks, Long - Houston, TX)))) Best one I've read... ...Well put, but when they recorded it, it was outside the studio played thru the car stereo. The left and right speaker can be adjusted to explain the fact. Me and a buddy who plays the guitar tried this and it worked when played back. So I believe this theory as well as others.
Kamal from Mumbai, Icelandstraight to the heart mahn!!!
Chris from Ocean Springs , MsDavid Gilmour once said in a interveiw that "If every one interpeted the same meaning from a song that he had written, then he had failed miserably in his endeavour". Judgeing from the post above he's had the ultimate success
Brian from New Florence, Mothis song is about how the band wishes they had syd back that is what most of the album is about but it is also about the succes they had with dark side of the moon they were over comed with wealth after that and they didn't know where to go from there thats what money is about achiving there dreams and once they did that they had no goals to work on
Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnI tear up everytime I hear this stunning song. The lyrics are brilliant.
Zep from Cape May, NjAlong with "Us and Them" and "Breathe" I think this is one of the most beautiful Pink Floyd songs. This was also the first song I learned on the guitar.
William from Pheonix, Azthis song is just..awsome not that much to say about it...besides that
Cynthia from Scranton, Pashannon thats a real cute story but this aint no sweet love song. unless u and ur beau have a weird relationship...
Natalie. from Beverly Hills , Cai love this song. and the whole album.
Shannon from Kalkaka, MiI LOVE THIS SONG! I understand it totally (which kinda scares me) and now its me & my bfs song <3 how sweet! Lol I love it & i live by t when hes not here with me, which is alot cause he lives 250 miles away....
Cynthia from Scranton, PaTHis is my second favorite Pink Floyd song, the first being Shine on You Crazy Diamond. I think this song can be interpreted based on your own personal experiences. To me, it is asking us as a human race if how we perceive things are really how they are. It brings to mind my favorite short story, The Bet by Anton Chekhov. This story asks the exact same questions posed in Wish You Were Here. I wonder if Roger Waters has ever read the story. I bet he has. Pink Floyd is truly art to me. The level of sophistication their music reached is simply unparalleled. I cannot name a single other band who I can listen to one song by them for over ten minutes and not be bored. Pink Floyd has changed my perception of myself and life, and also of my educational experiences thus far.(I'm in tenth grade)
None from None , WyThis song will always have a special place in my heart.
Matt from Houston, Txmy favorite riff along with chop suey
Angus from Heriot, United Kingdomthis song is the most kick-ass song in the world
Rachel from North Ridgeville, OhThis song means the world to me. I played it at my dads funeral for him. His nickname was floyd because he was a huge pink floyd fan. I wish he was here with me right now still. I miss him so much. Rip dad!! I love you! I miss you! Every time i hear pink floyd i know you are speaking to me.
Bill from Waco, Txokay...it drives me nuts but why is there someone coughing about 36 seconds into the song? lol i love the song though...very relaxing
Wayne from Salem, VaI was 15 in 1975. I got the "Wish You Were Here" album for Christmas. The whole thing is great! And this is one of my favorite songs from the album. "Cold comfort for change.Did you exchange a walk on part in the war.For a lead roll in a cage." Great lyrics,Great song,Great band,Great album. The whole thing revolves around Syd. His coming and his going. I love the acoustic guitar opening. Syd's breakdown and departure were sad. And if it hadn't been for Dave Gilmour,who knows where the band would have gone. My favorite song from this album is "Have A Cigar".----And did they tell you the name of the game boy.We call it riding the gravy trainnnnnnnnnn'.
Ryan from San Diego, CaPink Floyd is great because it makes everyone question their existence. They're one of a very few bands who successfully do so. This song means whatever you want it to mean, but the underlying theme is a consistent in all of their songs. Pain, Loss, Confusion, Hope, and the most powerful, Detachment. Everyone makes a big deal over the band and the drama that went on within it, but I think their music reflects what all humans go through. It's a different style than any other and its so intriguing.
Dj from Chicago, IlLyrically, this is one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard, maybe because it's such an easy song to relate to.
Anmol from Millburn, NjMhm on the intro to this song, u can hear gilmour's radio *the little string scale* oh, and this is the first song Waters wrote where he wrote the lyrics before the musical part normally, its either the music first, or both at the same time
Nathan from Willow Spring, Nctwo boys at my school died in a drunk driving accident, and when you logged into their myspace profile, this song automatically starts playing. nobody knew his password so they couldn't change it, and is gives me chills to hear "two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl" because of the two of them, and after four months their profile discontinued, their memory seeming to fade away.
Oldpink from New Castle, InFolks, you are mistaken if you believe this song is specifically about (the late) Syd Barrett. Roger Waters himself has said so himself, saying that the one song directly written for Syd was "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." This song is about absence on many levels, but more on emotional or mental absence, sometimes even detachment from your true self. For example, Did you exchange the walk on part of the war, for a lead role in a cage? That is about trading on something more noble for something else more selfish and base. Also, the cough and sniff at the beginning are indeed from Dave Gilmour himself, the result of years of smoking. They were originally going to edit out those minor audio blemishes, then decided to leave them, realizing that they only added to the ambience and melancholy. Not very long after the sessions, Dave Gilmour gave up smoking TOBACCO. This is still a beautiful song, and the radio at the beginning is a perfect metaphor for the distance we put between each other, even when we are physically in close proximity to each other. Also, when they performed this song live, Nick Mason would have a transistor radio plugged into their sound system next to his drum kit, which he would randomly tune to some of the local radio stations at the beginning of this song. This one is truly a masterpiece, but then so many of Floyd's songs have been, especially "Shine On..."
Chloe from St. Louis, MoI abosolutely love this song. The great thing about pink floyd- their songs are so incredibly, mind-blowingly deep, but anyone can relate to them. This is especially true of Wish You Were Here. My friend and I scratched the lyrics to this song on a banister on the front steps of our middle school- we're both obsessed. WIsh i could have been there when they were around....
Jeff from Montgomery, AlI have loved this song as far back as I can remember..the melody and lyrics are so beautifully coordinated together..I have lost a close cousin and best friend in the past year and I think of them every time I hear this song..I really do wish they were here.
Chris from Boston, Mawish you were here is pink floyd the band pledging allegiance to their fallin bandmember, syd barret. the song begins with lyrics about how or why syd went crazy and became a recluse. david sings and asks questions to syd, "so you think you can tell, did they get you to trade, did you exchange?" its about the bandmembers knowing what syd went through but also not fully understanding why he had to leave everyone, and then the song finishes with the band members relating to syd and wishing he were with them. but its more of a last cry or tribute to him, knowing he would never return.
Carley from New Sarepta, AbSyd Barrett showed up in the recording studio while they were recording "Shine on you crazy diamond" not "wish you were here"
Jeff from Casa Grande, AzThanks to the coments of Nilanjana and Robert, you got me thinking, again, about this song. Maybe it IS about a lone person longing for the past--a past, a childhood, where inocence and bravery and idealism were the backbone of the self, before "life" and "sucess" got the better of us. And "Wish you were here" means only a longing for the way it used to be. A longing to be kids again. And bringing that old friend back into our lives, telling war stories and the way it used to be, is a way of saying simply, I " wish you were here." NOSTALGIA, pure and simple. Thanks.
Nilanjana from Mumbai, IndiaTo me, this song is about disillusionment in the real world. About selling out on your beliefs and trading them for security and material comfort.Burying ideals beneath a layer of indifference. Trading "your heroes for ghosts",choosing "a lead role in a cage" over "a walk-on part in a war." It's not a protest - just a quiet, sad analysis of "adapting" to a world where we can no longer "tell heaven from hell". And at a time when you've realized what life has made of you, you yearn for a thread from the past, a friend who has also gone through the same process and with whom you can quietly share the heartbreaking knowledge that you are not the same anymore. Someone who has run "over the same old ground" and found "the same old fears". All you can say is "wish you were here".
Robert from West Monroe, LaI always thought the song was about a person's emotional conflict with ones self. Sort of like the dark side of the subconscious calling for the normal part of self to join the ride.
Trey from Kalamazoo, MtWish Rick was here. Good man. Shame about Syd.
Doug from Kansas City, Mosince I'm out of pot, I dont get this song anymore. That being the case-the song doesnt get ME anymore. Wish Ewe were here....
Ivan from Sofia, BulgariaNow i was thinking about the meaning of the song and yes it should be about Syd, but to me it means many things, for me this song is never boring even after 4,5 consecutive plays, then i heard that interview with Gilmour and he, i think puts it very accurately, ' the song has an emotional depth, sort of universal, it means many things'
Jeff from Casa Grande, Azcan u think for yourself what is bad from what is good? he is asking. We're not that much different. It's sad, but damn, I miss u like "crazy," old friend. I wish u were part of "this." I wish you were "here." That's all. Pretty universal, I'd say. That's why it speaks to so many.
Heatherae from Cleveland, OhRay: My Brother. You and I share very special and deep memories about WYWH.Amung Many other Pink Floyd songs such as Hey you. I always felt that you and I were symbolic in the verse "together we stand..devided we fall." And it became ironic and chilling to me that you fell to your death while you were working in Michigan and I was here in Tucson.You and I were closer than any brother and sister Ive ever known or anyone we knew will ever know.There are so many songs that to me are remeniscent of you,and you and I.I will forever keep your memory alive in my heart and share our memories with friends and family as I play the songs that ment so much to us and were the soundtrack of our bond to eachother..P.P.F (past present and future.) You will live on in my heart as will our songs. I love you!!! Always Your "Sis" Heatherae "wish you were here!!"
Greg Zaret from Wildomar, CaThis song is just beautiful. I like knowing the meaning behind songs, but I just don't seem to feel that it is crucial beyond the Syd Barrett (sp?) inspiration. For those who like cover versions, Rasputina (cello goth?) does an amazing version of this track.
Don Mcgregor from Whangarei, New Zealandthrer are a few views id like 2 point out which havent alredy been mentiond. did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts, in my mind roger is talking about war heroes. hot ashes for trees is obveous hot air for a cool breeze. i duno. it seems to me this midle section of the song is about what they(the major powers of the world) have forced the individual to trade. rogers father also was a casualty of world war 2.
Pippin from Rhye, CaPink Floyd usually doesn't cause huge emotional experiences for me, but some of their songs do. Wish You Were Here is one of them. I cried the first time I hear it. And now, whenever I listen to it, I still feel the urge to cry. This was the song that "converted" one of my friends to liking Pink Floyd. If I got to dedicate this song, I'd dedicate it to all the people who are, were, and will be, and to those who we are missing, even if they are right there beside us but still not with us. We all wish you were here.
Chelsea from Wichita, KsGod this song makes me crazy emotional. You can just feel everything they're saying, its pretty sad but thats why its such a gorgeous song, there's a true emotion in it.
Rod from Logan, Njevery time i hear this song it brings a tear to my eye bout syd
Sibella from Pretoria, --One of the most Orphean songs I have ever heard! (Orheus is Greek god of music. His music makes people cry. He played a lyre, though.)
Mason from Kuwait, Kuwaitby the way the song pigs on the wing part 1 + 2 from animals album is roger waters hopfull version of wish you were here . it should have been called ..... i am glad you are here .
Mason from Kuwait, Kuwaitwhen u look at the big picture , its about honoring friendship ,true love and loyality . Put altogether in a gray , sad and philosophical frame work . mason hayat Kuwait
Musicmama from New York, NyI love this song and am tempted to think of it as a counterpart to "Hey You" on "The Wall." Both songs are about detachment--not only from others, but from one's self. This is the sort of detachment that leads a person to, in essence, construct another persona to present to the world. And what that person used to be becomes as alien as any passing stranger. I speak from experience!
Both songs also have a repeated guitar chord that weaves together the counter-instrumentation--and the emotions of the songs. The difference between them is that "Wish You Were Here" is wistfully sad, while "Hey You" is an angrier song.
As I mentioned in my comments about "Hey You," if you like this song, take a look at "Yo no soy yo" ("I am not I") by Juan Ramon Jiminez and "The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot. "Yo no soy yo" is short; "Prufrock' is a bit longer, but still not an epic. Both poems have simple language that convey rich images of loneliness and alienation, much as "Wish You Were Here" and "Hey You" do.
Jeremey from Bellingham, WaThis song is about Syd Barrett, yes but it is also about absence in general and the fact that the band was absent in spirit and ambition after having released Dark Side of the Moon and dealing with the success that followed. Roger Waters himself has said it could just as easily been called Wish WE Were Here because of it. As for the rest of the album, Shine On is, beginning to end, about Syd. Welcome to the Machine is largely about Syd and the pressures of rock stardom. Have A Cigar is about the over-commercialization of rock music, and even though Syd certainly fell because of that (that was one factor at least), the song isn't specifically about Syd but about the group's (post-Syd) pressure to continually put out money-making "product." Its sung from the point of view of the record exec talking to the up-and-coming next best thing and all the empty promises that go with it. And just to comment on the reader who said that the group "re-united" with Syd around the time of Wish You Were Here, what really happened is when they were recording Shine On (which was about him, ironic) Syd walked in the studio completely unannounced and the band took awhile to recognize who he even was. Roger was reduced to tears when he finally recognized old friend, who was by now fat and bald. The possibility of him rejoining was never even discussed as the group no doubt remember how difficult he was to work with when he still was a member of the band. (In fact, David Gilmour was brought in not to replace Syd, but to "cover" for him on stage in case he had one of his many eccentric breakdowns in the middle of a concert). The only input Syd had upon hearing Shine On being played back multiple times was why bother, you've already heard it once. A re-union with Syd, despite all his pre-breakdown genius, would have been a complete disaster. The band even has said their existence couldn't have happened without him, but couldn't have gone on with him. And another comment, Wish You Were Here is certainly not a love song, although I guess the vagueness of some of the lyrics and even the title alone have led many people to assume that's what it is.
Ahmed from Alex, Egypt"So you think you can tell Heaven from Hell" The tiny differs between the paradoxes. "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, Running over the same old ground. What have you found? The same old fears." The land of fear.
Tristan from Philadelphia, PaIt feels like half of the stuff Waters put out after Syd's departure was about Syd to an extent. Especially songs on Dark Side such as Brain damage and Eclipse, the entire "Wish You Were Here", and 'Dogs' from animals. However, Syd seemed to reach out in his solo song "Dark Globe" asking for someone (Waters in my opinion) to lift a hand, five years later Waters just kind of said "Wish you were here, man." But what do I know.
Patty from Alamo, Txwhoops made a mistake everytime i think of this song it reminds or my dad he isnt there to see me grow the way a father should be......but this is a good song to hear for whenever.....
Julie from Beatrice, NeWish You were here is indeed about syd barrett and not just the song. I feel that the whole album was about him. I do beleive that roger waters has stated that in many interviews. However you can take the song however you want. I think this song can express emotions on someone you miss eather in death or living. I also feel that this song can be used for our soldiers in Iraqu
Lydia from Tallahassee, FlI was looking for a new ring tone for my phone when I found this song. My deceased son liked Pink Floyd so I thought the song was fitting. Thanks.
Leelee from Burlington, Onbest song. it took me 3 years to learn it on the gutair and i still havent perfected it.
Kirsten from Vancouver, WaJon, Your Pink Floyd headline caught my eye. And oh... how I WISH you WERE HERE, NOW!! I pray that you are with God. I pray that you know you were truly loved. Thank you for the time that we shared. I know, in my heart, that you enjoyed it as much as I did. I know you were an amazing man who felt stuck in what seemed like an impossible situation. I hope that your boys will be okay and grow up strong and remember your strengths and your goodness. I would have stood by you and been faithful for a lifetime if I had had that chance. I pray that you are with God and that God will continue to be with your boys throughout this difficult time and through out their lives. I miss you and will forever hold you in my heart. Sincerely and with love, Kirsten
Bella from Pretoria, --I absolutely love the vocals! His voice sounds so...I dunno..painful almost, but it's hard to explain.My favorite Floyd song along with Crazy Diamond. I don't really have favorites though. It doesn't seem fair to choose favorites when so many songs mean so much to me.
Jay from Virginia Beach, VaIf, I am correct, that whole damn Album is about Syd.
Catrencella from Mooresboro, NcVelvet Revolver once covered this song at one of thier concerts. I don't think it ever made it to an album, it was a good cover too!
Mike Rudy from Lowell, MaYou are correct when saying this song is about syd, as is Shine on You Crazy Diamond. I don't know about the friends, and the LSD in the Coffee, Syd was a big boy he new what he was doing. I'm sure there was an underline Mental illness untreated from the beginning.
Daniella from Cape Town, South Africaamung everything else, this song was i beleve to be one of the greatest literiture ever writen, but besides that and ive commentedhere enough times on what the song is about etc, i forgot to say that i hope that Syd found the peace and love that he was longing for and that he is happier. i hope that he realizes that he was loved, and that he was such an important man in the road of music (not that todays music has come far) Syd, Rest In Peace may your music go on forever!
Daniella from Cape Town, South Africaive commented like 5 times alreadi just wanted to say that among everythinhg else and how this song is one of the most amazing peices of literiture ever writen, i reli hope that Syd found the peace that he was so longingfor and hidding behind and the drugs! i hope that he found the happiness, and sanity he was so eager to find! we loved you Syd
Neil from Santa Monica, CaThe entire album is about Syd Barrett- the same with this song. I'm not sure where some of you people are getting this other stuff.
W from Too Many Places, TnFor me the song is truly enjoyable. Sometimes experience without analysis is the best drug. Dropping acid and seeing life as it is: seeing a tree without thinking this is a tree, having a conversation without knowing you are conversing, etc. It (the song) is like watching a good movie-being all caught up in the experience without knowing it. Regardless of which SYD or CID we believe the song is about, the essence of good and bad trips (with or without acid) is prevalent in this tune. On a bad trip "Wish You Were Here" is comfort beyond words-familiarity.
Tom from London, United KingdomIts not really about Syd. Its about an England that's now.......... lost: "Can you tell a smile from a veil?" Is it about Rogers' father?
Fawn from Chicago, IlI am not a Floyd "fan". ( I guess I should have said brave in my profile :) But, I Love this song. But this one really hits home. A for real forever classic.
Lola from Norwich, United KingdomOne of the most beautiful songs ever written. It's very special to me, and I often cry when i hear it. I only wish I'd had the oppurtunity to here it live.
Allie from Holly, MiThis song reminds me of last summer. My boyfriend and I never saw each other and everytime we talked, this song would play in my head. I love pink floyd to death. i stayed up all night watching the eclipse of the moon while listening to dark side of the moon
Patrick from Greenville, Scthis is the greatest song ever written. If on my deathbed, I would refuse the last meal, last rites, whatever, and say "play Wish You Were Here until I stop breathing." Then I could truly rest in peace.
Maz from Los Angeles, Cait is very clear and does mean what it say's and yes its about syd but thats just the begining.....its about life and the people you thought would be around who are no longer for whatever reason, they are no longer but nontheless they have helped you figure a few things out...syd was on Rogers mind *(whoa who am I to say whats on his mind...just a follower really, guys at a different level/plane) but I think he went on from there and expanded into a realm of his own and thats when the lyrics become your own to interpret from your perspective and thats what makes the song great( oh ya, there is some killer music to go with the penetrating lyrics, lestwe forget). I have been listening to these tunes for over 30 years and just do not get tired of them, love the floyd....which ones Pink.
Tay-lyn from Barrie, CanadaThis song speaks volumes to me about me. It is hypnotic for me in that way. This is my interpretaton of my favorite part of the song..... Did you exchange a walk on part in the war.......I exchaned the opportunity to have a normal, human role in this life, ...for a lead part in a cage.......for a glamourous, self-centered, isolated role in my own vicious cage....which is my battle with alcoholism.
Jerry from Somewhere, CaIt reminds me of an old flame that was painfully drenched. F-ing heart wrenching. Beautiful.
Cal from Baltimore, Mdthese lyrics are great it reminds me of a trip i took to california after my dad died and the lyrics are great..in that one moment in california it was the first time after his death i was actually happy
Kurtiz from Oklahoma City, OkThe Song that every DruNk at a party with a guitar should know.....makes an awesome sing along song
Chris from Columbus, OhOn the studio version you can hear a cough at 43 seconds into the track
Rosie from Winnipeg, Mb, Canadawhen i saw roger waters live, it seriously blew my mind how carefully he plucked the guitar strings for this song... it was epic.
Kara from Cadillac, MiI absolutely love this song. I don't need to analyze the lyrics, though they move me, I hear the first notes and I know what it is and it touches my heart every single time I hear it. I have loved this song since I first heard it and I love it now. I have two sons who are both talented guitarists and they are grown - have move away from me- but whenever we are all able to get together, this is the one song they know I really want to hear and they play it just beautifully. I know that it has deep meaning on many levels, but really, just as important is what it means to me. Thank you Syd (RIP), Thank you Pink Floyd.
Mickey from Mars, PaI love this song so much... *sniffle* It makes me cry.
Zac from Fenton , Miso so you think u can tell heaven from hell blue skys from pain,sometimes our greatest pains become our greatest joys
Andrew from Bartlett, TnThis songs stands out for Pink Floyd. It possibly my favorite song period and my favorite pink floyd song next to "Comfortably Numb", "Money" and "Have A Cigar". And "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2".
Bella from Pretoria, South AfricaSomething about the lyrics in this song that REALLY grips me...that happens with most Pink Floyd songs, though.Roger must be one of the best lyricists ever
Brandon from Des Moines, IaI fell in love with this song as soon as I heard it. I remember back when I was younger, my dad would always play this on his acoustic. He still to this day plays it, and it was the first song he ever taught me to play on the guitar. I play it everytime I pick up my acoustic.
It truly is a heartbreaking song. To feel the power of detachment and loss that this song creates is phenomenal. Every time I play it, it reminds me of my father, who lives over 800 miles away from me. That's how I can relate so well to the song.
If anyone wants to hear some crazy music, look up The Piano Tribute to Pink Floyd on Vitamin Records. Absolutely amazing =)
Suz from Washington, DcI just saw a broadcast of some past concert at the Royal Albert Hall with David Gilmore and some others singing "Wish You Were Here" and it brought me back to the first time I heard the song and how amazing it is. And so I did a search on the song and read all I could and found this site. And I think it is wonderful to find that so many other people feel as strongly about this song as I do. And I think you all are great just for having such intense feelings about this song that you felt compelled to write.
Will from Auburn, Inthis song has one of the greatest intros ever
Paul from Athens, GreecePink Floyd is great and this is a great song, written for Syd but people can use it for expressing their feelings for anyone who have lost.
Ian from Larksville, PaIt has totally been proven the song was meant specifically for Syd. They even reunited with him while recording this album, although he had gained weight and shaved his hair. The song is abut his fallout, and how they truly missed the friendship he brought to the band.
Magpie from Amalia, NmI have loved this song forever, all of their music. but when it says, "I wish you were here" I never knew who that person was, just that I didnt know them yet, ... I still havent met them, Im in that fish bowl by myself and I really wish Id met that person some where along the way...do you know where he/she is?? Thank you Pink Floyd guys for all your beautiful music. I listen to you and can go on.
Ozzy from Fresno, CaI'll tell you all something: I started liking Pink Floyd when i was eleven and Alice Cooper played See Emily Play on the radio at night. That wasn't very long ago, but just because my real name is Emily doesn't mean that I don't like the rest of Syd's stuff. When I learned that Syd died, (he already did) I listened to Wish You Were Here and tried to accept it. I couldn't, and I couldn't accept how the band dedicated all that to him and got famous leaving him behind. Every now and then my friends move to the point half of them are gone, and I remember recently one of them dying of cancer. I think of everyone I never met too who died. Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Bonham, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, George Harrison, Bon Scott, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Madeline Lengle, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkein, Roger Keith Barrett... We Wish You Were Here. This song isn't just for famous people who have died, and it's not just why the band wrote it. A lot of people who have heard it don't even know who Syd is. But this song is for whoever the listener dedicates it to--troops, friends, family, musicians, writers, athletes, etc... Great song and Syd probably cried (as insane as he was) when he heard it. Good job Pink Floyd.
John from Galway, IrelandThat was well put together Marrsy, a fantastic song!! A perfect tribute to a perfect musical poet in Syd Barret R.I.P.
Marrsy from All Over The Palce, United StatesIt's about Syd and the problems caused by LSD and losing his partner in the war... It?s stated rather bluntly in all the verses if you read them... A lot of people talk about the line "did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?" Just think about it... Syd was there and gone early in the life of the band?The war is about why they, Roger and Syd, were writing the music in the first place... listen to most of the songs and you know they were fighting against certain political ideologies, the war... the cage is in reference to what Syd, by taking too much LSD, did to himself... They were fighting a war and actually achieved/won by gaining fans and stardom. Roger(not Syd)had set out to do this and he?s saying - Syd you exchanged this for a cage?(his mental state from the LSD) Heaven and Hell and the rest of lyrics of the first verse reflect the fact that Syd thought by taking LSD, could/would find life?s answers. Roger being the cynic asking ?do you think you can tell... meaning Syd did this to himself and can you tell the difference between all this now? Syd thought he was doing the right thing taking LSD? he thought he could find these answers... well it didn't workout... or maybe it did... in Rogers world he made a mistake and Roger states this in the song... The second verse is in reference to the mental state Syd achieved? ?Your heroes for ghosts?? he put himself into seclusion in two ways - mentally and by actually hiding from his friends, music, and everything else? the second verse talks about the state they, Pink Floyd members, are left seeing him? his mind and personality dead in a living body? ?We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl? talks about them, Roger and Syd (the rest of us as well)? being stuck in this world regardless of the drugs or other remedies you take/do to make it better? He?s saying its just life? make of it what you will? ?Year after year, running over the same old ground.?? ?What have we found?? That?s the conclusion? what did either one of them (all of us really) find, regardless of the choices we make? life and death happens? it?s futile trying to make more of it with drugs? and he concludes his tribute to Syd by writing shine on you crazy diamond? wish you were here is his fight against the drug (which they all did) and his feelings/struggles with that and losing Syd to it? Just my random thoughts?
Spog Zallagi from Blue Hill, MeWhen I first heard the cough at the beginning I thought it was a mistake, and it is clearly an AM radio because before the ending of "Have a Cigar" it makes a weird sound and it's clearly heard like someone is tuning a radio through different stations.
Kris from Wichita, KsThis is probably one of my favorite songs from PF i just like the song and what it really represents. The whole Syd Barret pretty much going crazy and the band kinda saying they wished he was his old self or that's what i think
Vince Porto from Anchorage, AkThe song starts out asking 'can you tell' a positive from a negative: ~Heaven from Hell, ~blue skies from pain. ~green field from a cold steel rail? ~A smile from a veil?
Then, after he notes the trade... 'a hero for a ghost', the sequence switches... from a negative to a positive: ~Hot ashes for trees? ~Hot air for a cool breeze? ~Cold comfort for change?
Then he notes in a question: "did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage"
"Walk on part in the war" - references going thru life with unfettered spontaneity, without 'baggage'.
Exchanging that unfettered spontaneity for a "lead role in a cage" made of our own baggage, results from our exchange of a'hero for a ghost'.
If one wants to stretch a 'hero for a ghost'.... one could see an exchange of Christian values (love) for the ephemeral and 'ghost' promise of relief that hatred and revenge offers, mearly places us into 'lead role in a cage'. Caged by our own baggage.
Heck, I'll be more specific: exchanging God's promise for satan's lie leads us to a 'lead role in a cage'.
see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hezC6x5_ob4 for a feel of 'baggage'
Perhaps too much of a stretch?
Love is the way... Peace to you all.
John from Galway, IrelandI wish i was there.....!!!
Vanessa from Barranquilla, Othereverytime i hear this song i feel like in heaven, like totally free..in my opinion is the PERFECT SONG..i think that this doesnt has a exactly meaning but i just know that is perfect..pink floyd best clasic roch band ever!
Yavar from Tehran, Irandeep meaning song!!!me and my friend made a deal that every time we were together play this song with two guitars or a guitar and a piano.it feels like Heaven.
Molly from Boston, Mawe played this song at my friend's funeral. (car crash) whenever i hear it i cry. i really wish pink floyd got back together just for a reunion tour. Shine on, Syd, you crazy diamond! 1946-2006
Scott from Portland, OrIn concerts, Pink Floyd would start the song by flipping the dial of a real radio around. The audience would sometimes laugh when they heard local radio personalities talking on the air. If the station got a positive reaction, they'd keep playing it for a few seconds. On one bootleg, the audience laughed as they heard a large part of "(You're) Having My Baby" by Paul Anka and even laughed afterwards as Gilmour sang, "So you think you could tell heaven from hell".
Dubravko from Kakanj, BosniaThis song is the proof that Pink Floyd is maybe the greatest mus. band ever (of course - by the Doors)
Julie from Beatrice, NeThis is not just a song about Syd Barrett but it is a Tribute to him. Rodger and Syd were very close and I do beleieve that when he went insane it hurt Rodger a lot. This is one of many songs about syd. If you pay attention the majority of the album The Wall is about Syd. Wish you Were here is a beautiful song and the words are about loved ones you hadnt seen in a while, someone who passed away, or someone who is in iraqu. I dont think that it has any meaning in it thats so signifigant that its an Oh My God type thing it was what Rodger felt about Syd. I would put money on it that the song was played at Syd's funeral last year for those of you who didnt know that he finaly passed on.
Damion from Pine Prairie, LaWell I guess everyone has their own ideas about the meanings of the lyrics of this song. I know for this was written about Syd because it has been stated in interviews more than once. I think that the best writers though, in my opinion, have the ability to write something that everyone can take from and it will have a different meaning for that person. This is how I aspire to write and I think I'm getting there. I see this as a song of choices. To make your dreams come true or to let life pass you by, among other things. I have stated to friends countless times that the line "Did you exchange a walk on part in a war for a lead role in a cage" is possibly one of the most profound lines in any song I have ever heard! To me it means this, (and you don't have to agree, it's what I get from this line), do you choose to become a 'big man' in a small world (the cage) instead of being a small part of something ultimately greater than anything you could have ever done alone (the war). To me it's saying do you choose the to make yourself look better or make the world a better place.
Wonderboy2die4 from Montreal, United StatesOne day just by mistake I was reading a magazine and I saw the original picture that you can see in the inside cover of the pink floyd, the one with a scarf flying into the air. The original picture is a naked woman holding the scarf over her head.
Hailey from Chandler, Azmy friends dad had just the guitar from this song at his wedding when everyone was walking down the isle. it was sooo pretty! an amazing song! ive grown up on pink floyd. and this is easily one of my favorite songs of all time.
Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesSyd Barret was schitsophrenic which is an organic disease. Drugs can stabilaize or further destabilize such a person but they don't cause the disease. Syd manifiested the disease in a catotonic form and would just freeze on stage. I heard in his later days he couldn't even stand to see people though fans. against all peas by Syd's family, would still find him and casue him a lot of mental anguish by pounding on his door and harasssing him about Pink Floyd.
Jesse from West Stockbridge, MaIt's always been my thought that the artists of today should take a good hard look at the works of Pink Floyd and other bands that had an impact on music. It's been more than 30 years since this stuff was released and people still love it and try to grasp the meanings to the lyrics. It ages much more gracefully than anything else that has been recorded since.
James from Walnut Creek, CaDefinitely one of my all-time favorites...the low ranking by Rolling Stone in 2004 goes to show how out of touch they've become...
Anthony from New York, Nythis song is about syd. the line "did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage" the war is referring to life itself and a cage to being institutionalized. And the whole album is about going crazy welcome to the machine talks about coming to the entertainment industry and how it leads to insanity. The wall also completey about going crazy as is dark side of the moon. any comments in regard to my comments would be appreciated.
Chris from Columbus , OhActually the cough in the song comes at 43 seconds not 31 seconds.
Achory from Warner Robins, Galook, people, , plain and simple. roger waters said so in an interview. this is one of the few songs by pink floyd that doesn't have some sort of deep meaing to it. it does, however, fit as a way to remember anyone dear to you who has moved away/died and you miss.
Brandin from Fort Wayne, InI believe this song is about corrupt poloticians, and how they decide to lead countries to war but dont exactly fight themselves. It's about how they decide to go to war for selfish reasons and don't care about trading their "heroes for ghosts", as long as their selfish wants are met. They can't tell the difference between heaven (peice) and hell (war) because they are blinded by their greed.
Ozzy from Fresno, Cathis song always makes me think of the girl i love. she's been gone for three months and i have no idea where she is... or if she's even still alive. the idea that she still might be out there is one of the reasons i haven't given up on my life yet. i keep living for the day when i can tell her how i feel.
Daniella Hasson from Cape Town, Africaeverytime i listen to this song. it gets more and more intence...when i listen to it i think that you were talking about suicide- or wanting to commit suicide- not being able to tel the difference from heaven and hell.(not knowing if when you kill yourself if you will go to heaven or hell) not being able to feel anymore. to feel pain, or love. your unable to tel love from hate, and you dont notice a smile from a vail! i think that someone close died, and every year u miss that person more and more, and you want to c them so you want to kill yourself to be with them, but you never do as you still have something in you with hope. thatz why it says- two lost soals swimming in a fish bowl-year after year-running over the same old grounds-what have we found'. your lost with out that special person, and you keep thinking about it, picking up the knife, but you never do it. That erson wouldnt want u to kill yourself. but you so dearly want to be with them. And year after year....your still here. Missing that person. who knows- everytime i listen to this song, i get a diferent idea. maybe im totally off the topic, or maybe im 100% correct. but that is why this is my favorite song right now. this song is to easy to understand, yet can be read in many differnt wayz-----I LOVE YOU PINK FLOYD*
Bess from San Diego, CaThis is the first Pink Floyd song I heard. I'm not a huge fan; I only like some of their songs. But this is probably my favorite. I love all the metaphores. The lyrics read like a poem! Awesome song.
Tim from Boolingbrook, Ilrandom question...Pink Floyd used the metaphor of "steel" in basically every album lol. any ideas on what it could symbolize? perhaps the meaning changes from song to song (something wants to tell me that the valley of steel in sheep is different from the steel rail in this song...but then again, i don't know)
Justin from Edmonton, CanadaI had always thought that when it says "Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage", I thought it said a walk on part in The Wall, for a lead role in a cage. I think it makes more sense with it saying The Wall, because The Wall was on the table for a long time seeing as how it was their major project. I always thought that it meant he chose to have a lead role in a cage instead of a small part in The Wall.
Dj from Newark, Nj"Did you exchange a walk on part in 'the' war for a lead role in a cage" - did you get thrown in jail for avoiding the draft. I'm just one lost soul swimming in a beer glass, day after day.
Sam from Portsmouth, VaI doubt this is about Syd Barrett. I think it was inspired by him because many great writers, such as Roger Waters, don't write about one person or event, they usually use the emotions from that event and place it into words, usually acknowledging the event or person because if you read the lyrics, it has more about Rogers life (Syd, his dad, war, etc.)
Joe from Chicago, Aramazing song from a weird but truly amazing back....... i love (real) punk music and some old metal but what is not to love about a band like pink floyd.......... i am also a big radiohead fan but when i heard there cover of this i have to say that i didn't like it....... i have listened to just about every radiohead album now and i think that it's the only song by them that i don't like........ either way if you have not heard this song download it........ it may not be as physcological as some of their other songs but it' still a great song and i was very happy when learning it on guitar :P
Shannon from Sioux Falls, Sdone of the greatest songs ever created.
Joel from Columbia, ScIt is about Syd Barrett.
Adrian from Brookings, SdAnyone reading this from northern Delaware or the surrounding areas may remember this as well, but when I was a junior in high school ('98-'99), the whole school attended an assembly in the auditorium by a woman who had lost her daughter to a heroin overdose. The woman showed us numerous pictures on a huge projector screen as she talked about her daughter's struggle. Her daughter was a huge Pink Floyd fan and said that if she could not find the strength to survive her addiction, she wanted "Wish You Were Here" played at her funeral. At the very end of the assembly, all of the lights suddenly went out except for the final picture on the screen, which was nothing but the lifeless face of the woman's daughter just minutes after she died. Everyone was shocked by it and then the opening notes of "Wish You Were Here" started playing to fill in the silence. The slideshow of more pleasant pictures continued as the song played out until the end. If there was anything to epitomize the somber vibe of Roger Water's lyrics and David Gilmour's melody, it was that assembly. It's something I'll never be able to forget and the song is that much more powerful because of it. I think the overall message, at least in this context, is to stay on the right path and always treasure the things that are truly important in life. Life is a very fragile thing and can be taken away in the blink of an eye.
Adam from Sparta, WiPossibly the best song ever writen...very poetic and inspirtational...
Gareth from Dubai, OtherWish You Were Here *is* explicitly about Syd Barrett. Roger Waters has stated this in innumerable interviews. There's really no ambiguity here.
Reggatta De Blanc from Salt Lake City, UtThe stories that are out there are wildly incorrect and incomplete and before I put something up here, I want it to be as accurate as possible and as complete as possible. You should do the same.
Jeeves from Dc, Dci luv "so you think you can tell heaven from hell blue skies from pain" that rocks
Andrew from Cleveland, Ohwhat makes this song so amazingly great is its simplicity, both on the part of its straightforwardness and how it is played. i, as a mediocre guitar player, learned this song first, as this is also my favorite song by pink floyd. they are truly amazing, and there is no secret that this song is sung in remembrance of those who cant be with you at a particular time. i love it. there is no better sounding song when im down.
Stephen from Claymont , DePink Floyd was a great foundation of rock n roll
Mike from Quakertown, PaThis is probably the best song by Pink Floyd on the album Wish You Were Here. I love Pink Floyd and their music.
Jeff from Atlanta, GaSyd Barrett, you'll find allot of Pink's songs are about him. We're just two lost souls Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here. Roger Waters and David Gilmour said its about writing the music without Syd.
Jordan from Calgary, CanadaGreat song by an awesome band, which I can't wait to hear performed live by Roger Waters, June 23rd! Shine on Syd Barrett
Artemis from Aberdeen, Scotlandits not a song that will put you on prozac if you listen to it and interpret in a dismal sort of way, all it is is a song about feeling detached from someone and wishing they were there, not all pink floyd songs are overly complicated and require hours of higher thaught, contrary to popular belief.
Bozz from New Brunswick, NjWaters expresses two emotions in this song. 1) He's mocking Syd in a sarcastic way, basically mocking his search for enlightenment through drugs. Did the drugs really help your awareness or just put you in an asylum ("lead role in a cage". "Walk on part in the war" is referring to the lesser role that Syd was playing in the studio/performing vs. the predominant role he played in the beginning of Floyd. This may have led him deeper into drugs and the "cage" Can you really tell "heaven from Hell" a Green field from a cold Steel rail" Waters is saying that drugs failed Syd. 2) Later in the "Wish you were here chorus" Waters expresses sadness and longs for the past with his buddy Syd and acknowledges the fact that they are both in their own montonous transparent cages (fish bowl).
Malcolm from Ibbenbüren, GermanyOn the 8th of July last year a mate of mine from Cambridge phoned to borrow Ummagumma.On asking why the back flash he told me the news :Syd was dead:After a few beers we let wish you were here blow the smoke away and fought the tears back. If Pink Floyd do another gig try to see it and when this comes on think of a genius from Cambridge you'll be fighting them back. Malcolm,Germany
Gustav from Stellenbosch, South AfricaThis is NOT the only song Roger Waters performs that is co-written by someone else! When he toured here he played (to my surprise) Comfortably Numb as an encore ... :)
Josie from Munising, MiThis song has so much feeling to it that everyone can pretty much relate to in different ways. My way for relating to it is when i lost one of my friends to suicide and everytime i hear it, it just makes me think of him and how i wish he was here..rip Devin i love you!
Mario from Rio De Janeiro, BrazilI own a video of Floyd's beginning sessions for The Dark Side with interviews with the 4 of them together and individually. They were so smashed about Syd's illness that actually most of what they wrote is about/for him. The line "...and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" explains a lot about their feeling of loss. Both Roger and David were great admirers of Syd and his in-depth analisys of everything surrounding them, mainly the "fast paced" life we're forced to live. We have been made slaves to the system we helped create and this is reflected in almost everything they wrote.
Sam from Portsmouth, VaThis song is one of those great lyrical songs because of the way its built into two parts but with still has the same meaning. The first verse is supposed to reach out to the songwriter, that is his experience with losing a friend to insanity. The second verse is suppose to reach out to the listener like when a friend/lover/relative dies, moves away, getting broken up, etc. I relate to the second verse because my dad recently had to move to Washington DC because of work. Because of this I only see him on the weekend not everyday like I'm used to. We both had alot in common and yet alot of differences which makes me relate to the line "haunting over the same old ground but have we found our same old fears". But I'm glad this song gives positive memories of my dad.
Joseph from La, CaWhat I love about this song is that in a way you can interpret it in a way that is fitting to you personally if you are feeling detached from someone, or simply wish they were with you. Like for me, there is someone who I wish was here with me, however they may or may not feel the same way and seem happy, yet in that regard I'm a bit down, and because of this one of my favorite lyrics are "So you think you can tell, heaven from Hell". Guess you could see that as me asking "So you think I'm truely ok?". Perhaps I'm just peering to much into it, but that is just simply why at the moment this is my favorite song.
Thats the mark of a good lyric writer, when you make something that can apply to you and what you are trying to say clearly, yet on the same token other people can see it in a different yet still similar light.
Kirsty from Brisbane, AustraliaAwwww. Trevor, St. Albert, Canada, that's so touching and sweet. You shall meet her again in another time. I read the lyrics before hearing this song, and already it was my favorite.For all who have lost some one close to them, you are not alone. Don't forget to smile!
Emily from Red Hot Chili Babenick, ledzephead, United States that wrote that big paragraph.. you're brilliant :D ps- in love with this amazing song
Stephan from Pw, Ny"It reminds me of my ex-girlfriend, whom is also my best friend..she's not around anymore. Wish you were here Britney. - Trevor, St. Albert, Canada" I agree with you in fact it reminds me of my gf that lived in that area of the world, i dont know what happend to her, i havent talked to her in a while but, wish you were here Brittany isnt it odd how its the same name? O.o
Captain from Cape Cod, Ma"Trade a walk-on part in the War for a lead role in a cage" ?? How about: "Be careful what you wish for !" Didn't he say it on Dark Side ? The rabbit runs around, the sun goes down then comes back up, & he does it all again... He is talking about the futility of the rat race, donchya think ? 'Sounds pretty futile to me ! The Cap'n
Emmie from Long Island, NyWhen my mom was driving me home from guitar lessons last Friday, we heard this on the radio and I started singing. She did after a little while, and it was pretty cool. Stuff like that may not seem so special, but I thought it was. "We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year" is my favorite line.
Trevor from St. Albert, CanadaI first heard about this song when I wrote some lyrics of my own with the same title, a lot of the feedback on my song was that it reminded them a lot of the Pink Floyd song, which is coincidental as I had never heard the song before. Now, a while after, it's one of my favorite songs. I can play a lot of technical stuff on guitar, but playing WYWH means so much more to me than shredding some meaningless solo ever could. It reminds me of my ex-girlfriend, whom is also my best friend..she's not around anymore. Wish you were here Britney.
Andrew from Wimauma, FlWhen I first heard of this song, i knew i was in for a great experience. The beginning of the song is great how they go from a radio to studio
Kristin from Chicago, IlMy favorite pink floyd song, it always goes on my mixed cd's and playlists
Dave from Liverpool, EnglandWish You Were here is The best album for remembering people lost or livin. Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Wish You Were Here wer particulary made for Syd. Syd will live on in all of us as long as these songs keep on getting played
Joe from Vancouver, Canadai think the 'exchange walk on part in a war for a lead role in a cage' means exchanging a small on a big stage for a big part on a small stage
Zach from San Antonio, TxI dont have an explanation for it. This song simply makes me feel
Joseph from Union City, NjSyd Barrett R.I.P you'll always be in our hearts
Polly from London, EnglandThis is a melancholic, haunting piece of music. It is so powerful yet you can listen over and over. Wishing that you are with me here Jack.
Kirk from Denver, CoWish you were here always seemed to be about detachment and the underlying dessention among the band members. It's like we love you, we need you but without us, you would be here. You seem to be losing your way and we wish you were here Syd.
Wade from Katy, TxThey play this song at a lot of high school graduations and formal senior proms where I am.
Fergal from Dublin, IrelandGreat song. An Irish band, Aslan do a pretty good cover too.
Mike from Gettysburg, PaThe lyric about the cage in my opinion is about the draft...were if you didn't fight you were sent to prison(cage). No offense to who mentioned it before but being a POW has nothing to do with it from what i see in lyrics...but who knows maybe i'm wrong.
Bill from Erie, PaI just heard today that Syd Barrett died several days ago from diabetes-related complications. We all wish you were here, Syd.
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI agree Brian from Indiana.
Anna from Odense, DenmarkThere is no such great song as Wish You Were Here. I believe, you can find many different meanings in it, but I definitely think it was written about Syd Barret. I would have done everything to have been alive, when Pink Floyd was still playing together, and to have been at a concert. It would be my biggest dream, I think. Fantastic, special music with good things to say! So beautyful. You can just never find a band like Pink Floyd. - Anna, Odense, Denmark
Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThank you Scot, I never got what "lead role in a cage: meant either. Great song, and I love the acoustic guitar work.
Terrance from Cleveland, OhThe album title "Wish you were here" was chosen because of the atmosphere in the studio trying to record a follow up to "Dark side of the moon". The band wished that they were there mentally and creatively. This is from an interveiw , not speculation. Recording started when David came up with the guitar riff for"Shine on you crazy diamond" "Have a cigar" Was sung by a friend , Roy Harper , who , after singing it on the demo , Rodger decided to leave it because it sounded so good.
Jack from Oak Ridge, NcSimply one of the best songs ever by any band. Acoustic guitar provides the perfect timbre to ascent the feel of this song. The whole song is very melodic (in the vein of 'shine on'). Gilmour cops a jazz technique when he uses his falsetto vocalize the same note as his guitar at the beginning of the solo.
Jo-c from Lima, Peru"This is the only song Roger Waters continued to play at his shows after leaving Pink Floyd that David Gilmour helped him write." -- That's a lie, you can find on YouTube Roger Waters doing "Dogs" with his band. It's great, there guitarist is left handed, and plays with a right-handed guitar upside down, but without setting the strings correctly. That means the sixth string is where the first one should be. It looks pretty weird, but he does a damn good version of the solo.
Cody from Hagerstown, Mdit's a very good song it makes you relize life
Gillian from Chicago, Ilthis whole album definitely has everything to do with syd.
Kea from Home, Nyi read the lyrics before i ever heard this song, they were printed for a friends funeral, i remember when i first heard the song it was a perfect day out and there was so much going on around me and i just heard this little hum off in the distance from an old radio and before they started singing i knew that the lyrics i read before were the only thing that could fit this song. so amazing, still my favorite song of all time, can still make me cry even in the happiest of moods
Scott from Goldsboro, NcI know the song is about someone close to the band who died but I don't know who. I do know that the greatest line ever is in that song "And did you exchange a walk on part in a war, for a lead role in a cage". Being in the military myself, that line says to me how when you go into war you are part of the mass (And did you exchange a walk on part in a war) and if you were to become a POW then you are now the center of attention (for a lead role in a cage) I don't know what they meant by that line, but that is what it says to me.
Richard from Bournemouth, EnglandAbsolute perfection - one of those songs which you recognise when you first hear it. How can there have been a time when this song did not exist ?
Nick from Ledzephead, United StatesOK, i wanted to scratch my original idea about this song being about syd barret. after careful listening for about the seventith time, i believe this song is about attempting suicide but not going through with it. ill explain...
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell (when he dies he either goes to heaven or hell, but he doesnt know for sure which one hes going to until he died) Blue skies from pain (when he does attempt suicide, it will be painful but if he wont feel any pain (the blue skies in this case is the happiness of receiving no pain))Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail (kind of the same meaning of the above one, pain verses painless... or death verses living) A smile from a veil do you think you can tell (once again the same expression) Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts (heroes reprenting living and ghost for death, which means hes trading to live for to die) Hot ashes for trees hot air for a cool breeze cold comfort for change (pretty much the same message as the first one, only this time hes saying hes better off dead, so thats why hes trading up (ex. hot ashes, trading up to tree))And did you exchange a walk on part in a war, for a lead role in a cage (war represnting death, he tried out for a lead role (aka attempting suicide) but didnt get the part (not going through the suicide attempt)) now this is where the heavy stuff comes in... i think this is about the man finding someone or lost someone that would change his life and not think of suicide (aka lik a relative that passed away or a girl that he loved but one luv him back) but i believe its mostly toward the man losing someone important and just wants to be with them (meaning commit suicide so they can see them) or wants them around because they made life so wonderful. How I wish, how I wish you were here (wishing whoever passed away was here to make his life good or whatever) we're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year (the person who is deseased and the guy are lost souls swimming around to find an answer to be together, but since the man cant go through with suicide it goes year after year) running over the same old ground what have we found the same old fears (almost all the time the man is running the sam ground, or attempting suicide, but he hasnt gotten anywhere because of hsi fear of dying) wish you were here (same thing as last time).
whoa that was alot. but it was worth it, sure there may be some other ideas about the song is about, but knowing how odd Pink Floyd is, im saying my guess is around their mind spread, if u no wut i mean.
Nate from Jacksonville, Fli went to the wish you were here concert. wish you were here is a pink floyd tribute band one of the best in the world. and i was triping on acid and i had mushrooms in me and when this song was played i saw syd. on stage with them... iw ill never forget it..
Mel from London, Englandits the sadest happy song ever!
Steve from Union, NjListened to this song alone lying in bed before I left for US Marine Corps boot camp back in 1994. Everyone was downstairs waiting for me. I told everyone to leave me alone. Right after it was over jumped in the car with my recruiter. Amazing song. Best ever
James from Toronto, CanadaWell, welcome to the machine is better. This song is so depressing if you just read the lyrics without the music. It would be better if it wasnt soo overplayed
Ruth from North Attleboro, Ma Again Pink Floyd has moved me at such a young age. This beautiful, moving song has been with me since I 1st heard it played by my older bro- ther in '75. God 'were just two lost souls swiimming in a fish bowl--year after year--'. Wise ballard and Floyd rocks 'then & now'. Ruth in Mass.
Michelle from San Diego , Cai love this song because its about syd but everyone can come up with their own personal feelings about what this song means. i love Pink Floyd in general i love themwhen they were with Syd, i love them when they were with David, i love their later stuff, i love rogers later stuff aswell as daves. i think everyone can agree with me here when i say Pink Floyd is just an all around great band because their lyrics are deep and emotional aswell as political and the music is so amazing! i mean...David Gilmour is definatley one of the best guitarists ever.i love the special affects its all so genius. I LOVE PiNk FloYd!!!
Mitchell from Redding, CaThis song is great. It just makes me feel relaxed.
John from New York, NyThe cough heard at the start is not a symbol.It is Gilmour coughing because at the time,he smoked. When he heard himself cough, it persuaded him to quit smoking.
Then you hear a sniff and a deep breath . The sniff is because Gilmour was sick (cold),and the breath was because he was about to play the intro solo.
John from Boston, MaWhatta lovely,emotional ballad about Syd. Waters is such a great lyricist.
Ed from Ottawa, CanadaRumor I heard: The sniff during the begining is actually one of the members railing (snorting) a hit of cocaine.
Iryna from San Fransisco, Cathe song is obviously a song oof loss, despair, feeling of betrayel but wanting someone special to be there in the moment with you even if they've hurt you. It has been a long strange trip and all you need is a cigar and that friend. and life will carry on.
Alex from Madrid, SpainDespite the song is about Syd Barret, when I listen to it I cannot help thinking in Gilmour and Waters own relationship. It seems they were anticipating their hate and anger future story: "Two lost souls swiming in a fish bowl".
Nick from Trenton, Njpink floyd is a great band. these are probably their most cleversit lyrics of any song the made. i think this song is about syd barrett and how they wish he was there to play music with them again (hence the title "wish you were here". but my opinion. later
Sarah from Chicago, IlThough I know this is not the usual meaning; for me it is about a friend that we have lost through death or time or just because we have changed and drifted away from each other but we still miss them and we wish that we could still be friends with them."We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year, Running over the same old ground. What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here."
Tom from Northport, NyLimp Bizkit butchered the song, its like trying to re-make a Beatle's song, you just dont do it.
Alicia from Stonefort, IlI love this song so much. I think it is about an internal conflict. By far... Pink floyd's best... and my all time favorite.
Brittany from Westmoreland, Tnthis is probably my favorite Pink Floyd song ever.
Michelle from Anaheim, CaI really wish I had lived when Pink Floyd came out, it would have been amazing 2 see them in concert. This is their best song. Pink Floyd did a concert in Australia recently, but it would have been fun to see them when they first began.
Floyd from Dallas, TxActually the WHOLE album is about Syd. Have a Cigar is about those cheap record company buissnessman."And By the way, ehich one's pink" is like saying which one is pink floyd. He dosent know that there is no one in the band named pink. He is a sellout
Albert from Plano, TxI discovered PF back in 2000, I lost all of their stuff and especially this song. This awesome song could mean so many things to so many different people. For me particularly is my first lost long ago back in the college days.
I always wondered where the first 30 seconds of sampling came from, did PF recorded this off a radio show/movie or it was something that they wrote..
Taylor from Tarboro, NcI think this is about Syd. It is my favorite song off Wish You Were Here and one of my top three songs by the band off all time.
Tim from Washington, DcIn general, the entire album is about absence. After the highly successful Dark Side of the Moon, the pressure (from the record label and the band members themselves) to top this album strained relationships, both professionally and personally. The band felt as if they were simply going through the motions and were overwhelmed with a feeling of absence - of emotion, of Syd, etc. This is not only conveyed in the songs, but also pictorially. One photo depicts a dive absent of splash or ripples. The album itself was originally packaged in black shrink wrap, the images hidden inside, so at first the cover is missing. Ah, but I ramble. Great song. Enjoy.
Shawn from Buffalo, NyI love this song, i listen to it every day, and i would sell my sould to see them in concert playing this song. i know im wrong about the meaning but i listen to it when im away from my girlfriend for a while. i love this and it is just the best song ever made.
Erik from Cherry Valley, Ilwhish you were here was not thier first concept album, Dark Side was,
Also in response to a previous comment, all the songs are about Syd, Have a cigar is what he felt about record company executives and the B.S. they gave him Welcome to the Machine is about growing up into the adult world or being a part of a hugly succesful band
Ryan from Lakewood, Ohhey whos posing as peter griffin from family guy??? (See two below)
Ryan from Lakewood, OhI read somewhere that the lyrics, 'So, So you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from pain' were written on a 12-string Martin guitar that David Gilmour bought off the street in Manhattan in 1972.
Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiYes. Yes, Yes, Y-E-S!
Jeanette from Irvine, Cai think this song is about syd, and so is shine on, but the other songs on the album aren't.
Greg from Oakville, CanadaNo offence, but your wrong. They actually based the whole song on their producer, who died 2 months bfore they created this album and song. The picture you see on the front is actually a band member shaking hands with their producer who is supposedly on fire because he died.
Fred from Pittsburgh, PaThe Wish You Were Here album by Pink Floyd is the first of what was called a "concept album." The entire album is about ex-band member Syd Barrett. He went a little nuts in the head ('crazy diamond') and was in a sanitarium at the time of this album, I believe. Anyone else out there to confirm my memories? And yes, this song is definitely about Syd Barrett.
Jeff from Sothington, Ctdo u think you can tell....did they get you to trade youre hero's for ghosts" is my faverite line aslo for what i can make out in the intro is this; Man:..and disiplinary remians merciful. Woman: yes yes and not with you derek, this star nonesense. Man: yes yes. Woman: which is it then. Man: im not sure. yeah my take on the song is that it (like many other songs) means what the writter intended (like its for Syd) or it can be interpreted to many other forms by the listener were it could be about a girl,a war, or even a long lost freind. the best part of music is the interpritation of the lyrics by the listener.
Bethany from Carrier Mills, IlI think that this is the best Pink Floyd song ever written. I believe that it means that he knew this person, but they changed in some way... they thought that they knew themselves and what was going on around them, but they didn't. When he says "wish you were here," he means the person they used to be. "2 lost souls swimming in a fish bowl" could mean so many things. they could be talking about the person they used to be and the person that they are now... that they are caught somewhere between who they were and who they want to be.
Moocakes from San Gabriel, Cawhat's Tully, Pullina Simmons?
Stephen from Steamboat, CoMost people feel that PF is just a stoner band, but you can't get that feeling at all from this song at all. I played it to some friends who did not know PF songs, and felt that is was very artistic and thoughtful, with beautiful guitarmanship and smart cord progression(Audiophiles). It turns out that this is one of their favorite songs, now, and even found a vinyl of the original, which is wonderful, and much better than the CD in terms of Effect, especially the picture of the two robots shaking hands on the back of the sleve. Top five for me.
Michelle from Anaheim, CaThis is my favorite song. The acoustic is amazing, Pink Floyd is the best band band out there. A friend's friend can play this on guitar, among many others.
Kevin from Dallas, TxThis song is definitely about Syd Barrett. Roger Waters wrote a poem or ballad about Syd Barrett's departure from Pink Floyd. In fact, the whole album was written about Syd Barrett's descent into insanity. Syd Barrett showed up at the stuio while Pink Floyd was recording this song, and no one in the band recognized him because of his total change of appearance due to drug issues.
Logan from Kimball, MiSome of my friends said this song is about one of their producers dying. But that's what they said
Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI never noticed the humming before. I'll have to listen more carefully next time. Song's beautiful, and it's obviously about Syd Barrett. Pink Floyd porfermed on live8, and it was a great performance. This particular performace was dedicated to Syd Barrett. btw, it was a great set for anyone who didn't get to see it.
Andy from Tualatin, OrThis song is obviously about Syd Barret. so is Shine On You Crazy Diamond. This song was number 316 on Rolling Stones list of the top 500 songs of all time, and is my all time favorite floyd song!
Ben from Fife, ScotlandI think we should disregard the songs intended meaning - if it even had one - and stick with our own perception of what the song means. Isn't that the true meaning of music?
Taal from AustraliaAfter googling this song I found a theory that Pink Floyd were merely scanning the airwaves with a microphone held up to the radio and happened to get two random people discussing something followed by a clip from Tchaikovsky's First Symphony. From what I gathered the two people talking say - Man: ...understand the disciplinary remains mercifully. Woman: Yes and um mightn't you derek(?) this star nonsense? Man: No, no. Woman: No? Which is it? Man: I'm sure of it.
Lisa from Perth, AustraliaI respect this song in so many more ways than one. I do have to say I am sick of semantics, songs are written for the PERSONAL interpretation. This song is pinnacle in my life, some of my favourite memories have this as background music. I love the reverance this song has, I think maybe the best appreciation a song can get is incorporated into a good book. The best use of Pink Floyd lyrics for me is in Tully, Pullina Simmons. It gives you the essence of the time it was intended for. Praise for the kings of the experimental pop revolution!
James from Auckland, New ZealandSomeone please correct me but All I can pick up in the intro which sounds to be from a movie and not in continuous sequence is. Male: And disciplinary remains Omersively. Female: Yes and and I with you, Derek the star nonsense. Male: Yes, Yes. Female: No it isn't. Male: I'm sure of it. Probably doesn't and wasn't meant to mean anything to anyone. Love this song all the same.
James from Windsor, CaEven talk of this song makes me cry. One of the greatest songs I know.
Ashley from Moncton, CanadaSome of the greatest Floyd lyrics: We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl year after year.
Marlow from Perth, Australiathis is about missing syd barret
Steve from Grand Rapids, MiNow this song seems to me to be about war.. Maybe something to do with Roger's father's death? But a few lines point this out.. 'did they get you to trade.....for a lead role in a cage' meaning if you were drafted and you refused to go, they would put you in jail..
Jonathan from Deltona, FlGilmoure hums along with the solo. This is a technique often used by blues guitarist who are trying to slow down their playing. When you hum along with your playing you obviously have to stop to breath sooner or later which causes you to pause for a second. Its good technique if you feel like your just playing a bunch of fast ramble kind of stuff.
Kevin from Schaumburg, Ilthis song isn't about world war II or anything like that, it's exactly as it sounds, the band missed syd being around. the entire album was about how the band started to get huge after syd left and they missed him and "wished he was there".
Jake from Watertown, CtI forgot to tell you something. It occurs at 3:02 in the CD version. I think they cut out the begining radio static with the MP3 so the timing for that version is probably different. The same thing happens in that version though.
Jake from Watertown, CtI'm not sure if this is a songfact or not, but this is just something that I've noticed while listening to the song. There is a part durring the guitar solo that sounds like somebody is singing words as the guitar plays the same pitches. It occurs between 3:02 and 3:04. Listen to it for yourself, I think it sounds like somebody saying, "Why'd we split up?".
Shawn from Philadelphia/pittsburgh, PaEvenly tied with Time as my favorite Floyd song. This was also the favorite song of the purple-haired girl on Big Brother during the 2004 season.
Josh from Griswold, CtIts my favorite song without a doubt. Kind of puts life as a whole into perspective. Being a junior in high school, most kids that listen to real music like floyd and the beatles and stuff still think stairway is the best, but nothing beats wywh. So much emotion can be stirred up. Have to love it.
Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThe cough in the beginning is during the intro. Before David starts playing along with the radio. btw, 'Wish You Were Here" is a great song. In fact, the whole album is great. I can see why the album was about Syd barrett, but I heard the conclusion second-hand. "shine On you crazy Diamond' might be my favorite song on the album though.
Kieran from D.c., Vaone of the greatest songs ever written
Tina from Cuse, NyOne of the best songs ever!!! It reminds so much of my friend who committed suicide 2 years ago...Lauren-wish you were here!!!
David Corino from Hawley, PaListen to the live album of Pink Floyd's "P.U.L.S.E" I think it is so beautiful when the crowd sings along with Dave on "Wish You Were Here", it just makes me sing along too. I think it is the most beautiful thing ever done durning a live show....
Hildur from Reykjavik, IcelandOne of my favourite songs. It's so beautiful *-* "So, so you think you can tell, heaven from hell?" Soooo nice.
Michael from Kearny, NjThe theme of the album is detachment, absence, and the feeling of emotional abandonment. This was Floyd's first album after the massive Dark Side of the Moon, which brought them fame, fortune and the longing for simpler, happier times of days from the past. Also, during the writing and recording of this album, Roger Waters was going through a miserable divorce with his first wife. The "Two lost souls living in a fish bowl, year after year" were Waters and Gilmour who butted heads profusely in the recording studio. With Syd's departure, Floyd became a band without a frontman, or a "Faceless" band. Syd was the the original singer/songwriter/frontman. After Syd was let go, Waters and Gilmour had a sort of rivalry that would grow during the years, eventually leading to Waters' demanding control of the band, and their demise (and the band reforming without Waters).
Leah from Houston, TxI love Pink Floyd and Wish you were here is by far there most beautiful song. Syd Barret as far as i know is insain whether its from drugs or what have you doesn't matter the fact is its a tradegy
Kyle from Grand Rapids, Mi"if anyone tells you that pink floyd songs are soley about world war 2 they are mistaken. all of pink floyds songs have to do with insanity and the baby boom era. they are about a man named pink (who i bleve to be Syd Barrett) who is driven insane from drugs and rock n roll. he is haunted by his childhood becuz his father was killed in wwII"
Pink and FLoyd were the last names of two jazz musicians, thats how they got the name
Savannah from Salem, InA beautiful song, with a lot of meaning to it. I love Pink Floyd.
Antonio from Brugge, BelgiumI was writing an essay about the Wish You Were Here album, an its relation with Syd. Problem? I saw a documentary (OMNIBUS) in which Waters said that Shine on You Crazy Diamond is about Syd, however, the other ones could be applied to anybody... I still think is about Syd (and maybe other absences) I think that it can be a love song. Anyway, GREAT GREAT song!!!!!!!!
Kevin from Oxford, United StatesIf you listen even closer, It sounds like he's smoking a joint around the same time he coughs.
Nathan from Mesquite, Tx"The words and music to this song were actually written by both Roger Waters and Dave Gilmore and it is obviously about Syd Barret. The whole album is about Syd Barret's fall from reality, whic happened when he basically took too much acid and ended up in an insane asylum - Andrew, Vancouver, Canada"
Totally un-true. Syd never went insane, nor did he ever enter an insane asylum! He did have a bad time with drugs, yes, and it did bring out an underlying psychological problem. But, he never went insane. Just a fabrication. Infact, he is still alive in England living by himself. (He lived with his mother until she died in 1991.)
Andrew from Vancouver, CanadaThe words and music to this song were actually written by both Roger Waters and Dave Gilmore and it is obviously about Syd Barret. The whole album is about Syd Barret's fall from reality, whic happened when he basically took too much acid and ended up in an insane asylum
Karol from Toronto, CanadaYeah I always thought this was about Syd, isolation, or war...but they're all kinda connected if you think about Syd
Dan from Medicine Hat, United Stateshey I think that pink Floyd is great and wish you were here is a great song. this is definatly about syd. that is kinda cool... Shine on You Crazy Diamond or but the first letters together... SYD
Erika from Melbourne, Australiai love Pink Floyd, but this is my favourite. Their best song.
Erik from Lund, SwedenListen to / watch the version from the 1994 Pulse performance, that beats just about everything and I would basically have killed for a ticket
Layne from Washington, Dc, United StatesOne time in my English class we had to read poetry out loud, and my teacher let me read the lyrics to this song. By the end, I was crying so hard and I wasn't able to stop. This song definantly makes me think of dear Syd and all the troubles he went (is going) through and I have a close friend who had the same problem. His friends would spike his drinks with acid and eventually he also went crazy. Its very heartwrenching to think about.
Eric from Caldwell, KsThis song is excellent i mean good, damn good, one of those songs that makes you have so many emotions rolled up inside you want to laugh with joy, cry with sorrow, scream with rage, it's the song that is for every mood the epitome of Pink Floyd. and on another none the Radiohead cover was good and i believe it was done with Sparklehorse.
John from Waterville, MiDavid Gilmours Address: David Gilmour/43 Portland Road/London, England/W11 41J.
Anna from Melbourne Beach, Flif anyone tells you that pink floyd songs are soley about world war 2 they are mistaken. all of pink floyds songs have to do with insanity and the baby boom era. they are about a man named pink (who i bleve to be Syd Barrett) who is driven insane from drugs and rock n roll. he is haunted by his childhood becuz his father was killed in wwII
Ash from Charleston, WvThe cough is at the beginning during the guitar intro. If you want to experience something really interesting, play the beginning of the song, turn up the volume and then turn the balance to one speaker or the other, I'm not sure if it's the left or the right, but you will be able to clearly hear the cough and some sniffling and breathing and stuff. I assume it's Gilmour.
George from Hell, PaBallad- a song that tells a story There, that settles the dispute
anyway, there is an incubus song by the same name, different lyrics, but same basic meaning(although Incubus isn't singing about Barrett)
Kevin from Sunrise, FlWhat cough? lol...
Don from Philadelphia, PaWhenever I'm feeling down or have a headache I listen to this. Great song.
Nick from Omaha, NeThis song brings the deepest feelings out of anybody who listens to it. Like me, maybe you lost a father or you wish you didn't let that perfect one get away. But whatever the reason, this song will take ur breathe away. This song stirs my feelings that are so deep, I can't even cry over them. Anyway, thanks for listening.
Clear Dark Skies, Somewhere in Confusion
Hetfield from Manchester, Englandhahaha, sorry but ballads have been around for centuries sir, a sft metal song is known as a power ballad, i never heard of shakespeare writing soft metal music now, did you?
Trevor from Texas, United Statescertainly one of there best
Charlie from Thomaston, Dccorey you only call a soft METAL song a ballad! no one should call any classic rock song a """BALLAD""" just because is happens to not be very loud. By the way i am a HUGE pink floyd fan and yes this is obviously about old syd.
AnonymousWish you were here along with the shine on you crazy diamonds were written for fallen Pink Floyd singer Syd Barret who went insane off of too much acid.
David from Detroit, MiThis song was written about Barret, but I believe it goes deeper than that. It describes all instances of the hardships of life and losing things dear to you. The part towards the end where Gilmour sort of scats I think sounds like the Cosby show theme song. (The earlier cosby show).
Andrew from Springfield, MoThe Radiohead cover to this song isnt that bad either, i'll tip my hat to them for covering such a great song
Paulo from New York, NyThat story about Barrett showing up at the recording session is kind of creepy.
Amy from Mcalisterville, PaWish You Were Here is the ultimate song. You can play it over and over and never tire of it. Just close your eyes and feel the power of the lyrics.
Randy from Bolivar, NyIve heard the intro is supposed to be Sid Barrett playing along with the radio.
Cody from San Antonio, TxI think this is just one of those songs that doesn't have just one meaning. This song is about whatever you want it to be. Every time I hear this song, I drop everything I'm doing and just listen to it. It's amazing lyrically and musically.
Kelly from Los Angeles, CaClassic song, and I agree it's a great way to convert people to Pink Floyd and other classic bands. even people who normally don't like rock love this song.
Ash from Charleston, WvTo Matt in Chicago: I am a huge, HUGE, Pink Floyd fan and have been so for about 20 years. I'm talking about albums, books, posters, 2 concerts, and on and on. Me and three other buddies used to get together periodically and play all of their albums in a row (it took about 24 hours) from "Piper" all the way up to whatever the latest release was. I consider myself very, very well-versed in all Pink Floyd lore: the whole Dark Side/Wizard of Oz thing, the mysterious messages that appeared in lights during their stage shows, etc. But I never once even thought about Shine (S) on You (Y) crazy Diamond (D) = SYD!!! Dude...thank you, man!! I guess I'll be calling my buddies now...
Brett from Watertown, SdIt is obviouslly about Syd Barrett, any Pink Floyd fan would know that.
Corey from Dark Side Of The Moon, OtherFor Syd and about Syd. This one is my favorite ballad.
Hac Barton from Las Vegas, NvThe song and the entire album is more specific to Waters and the rest of the band. Along with Wish You Were Here, Have A Cigar and Welcome to The Machine stating the phoniness and pain the band felt when they entered the music business, Shine on You Crazy Diamond is about the result of such pressure which was personified by Syd Barret losing his mind.
Robbie from Anthony, TxThe first verse is about soldiers that went to Vietnam.
Matt from Chicago, Ilthe whole album is about syd it is clear in many ways and one cool one is: shine on your crazy diamond SoYcD.....SYD
Monica from Glendale, Azwritten about syd... not a relationship with a woman...just syd
Brett from Edmonton, CanadaI heard it was about Hell. Meh. Cool song nonetheless.
Claire from Gisborne, New Zealandi totally love this song..the whole album infact.. gotta be one of the best around.my bro has this playing at his funeral..was sooo awesome :)
Julian from Philadelphia, PaI thought it was obvious that this song is about Syd Barrett. I can't imagine why the description they have up at the top doesn't mention him.
Jon from Mountain Home, IdIts a excellent song. If I do say, its one of those songs you can really sit down and relax to. The beginning is amazing, probably one of the easiest licks to play on the guitar but they are the ones who can just really make it wow. I bet you all of the people i have converted over to Led Zeppelin, pink floyd, jimi hendrix, ccr, etc. I have started them with this song to listen to. Very heavy in the top 10 in my list
Charlie from Orland Park, IlRoger Waters is the one who coughs in the song... he immediately quit smoking after he heard himself.
Dan from Fort Collins, CoThe song begins with the original riff being played through an AM car radio. David Gilmour then begins to play along to the radio - in stereo. I don't think this was meant to symbolize anything - Waters had the idea to "bunch up" the sound to mimic an AM radio, and Gilmour played along with it. Quite spontaneous (you can hear extraneous noises from Gilmour, sniffling and others noises, on the album), but they recorded it and it made the cut.
Scott from Stevens Point, Wi"Wish you were here" was and still is my very favorite album.
Brian from Paoli, InProbably the greatest song ever written. And anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of hearing it, has no idea what they are missing.
Lee from Durham, Ncwish you were here album and shine on is pretty much about syd or the whole band. but it can also be related to lives of many other great rock and roll bands.
Stick from Wa, Wai thought it was about syd, actualy i thought the whole album was about syd, i know at least the song you crazy dimond was aboute him. and it would make alot of sence if it was. but maby im wrong. i did here it second hand though.
Ben Russell from Durham, NcI wish i was there when Pink Floyd was together.
Brad from Winnetka, IlHard to imagine the song doesn't have something to do with Syd.
Rebekah from Prince George, VaTo me it means exactly what it says