I listened to The Wall on headphones over and over again, marveling at the way the groupie moved from one side of my head to the other as she walked through Pink’s hotel room (“Wanna take a baaath?”). I listened to monotonous 17-minute epics like ‘Echoes’ and ‘Dogs’ with a straight face. I set my CD player to wake me up with the cacophony of alarm clocks at the beginning of Dark Side of the Moon‘s ‘Time.’
But the album, and song, that had the biggest effect on me was definitely Wish You Were Here. My friends and I wrote the lyrics of this baby on our notebooks and talked about how deep it was.
Swimming in a fishbowl, year after year
Running over the same old ground
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here
The things is, it’s still a great song . I look back on much of my Pink Floyd obsession with a smile, a jaded father of two amused by the teenage philosopher I fancied myself. But when I listen to this song today, I’m warmed by the nostalgia but also swept up in the stellar songwriting. I love how David Gilmour noodles around on his guitar in the beginning, playing along to a radio station, before strumming the opening chords. And I love the unabashed romanticism of it all.
My friends and I dug this song so much that, as juniors, we stacked the deck and got it elected as that year’s prom theme. It was pretty surreal dancing in a rented tux to a cheesy band’s rendition of our favorite song, and we were always convinced the lead singer botched the line “Hot ashes for trees?” by singing “Hot ashes for wheat?”