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Sunday Song Lyric:
Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" is simply one of my favorite songs of all time. It's timeless. A Floyd song even non-Floyd fans can love. It only ranked #316 in Rolling Stone's list of greatest songs (which is probably reason #423 why such lists are a waste of time), but it's worth posting as a Sunday Song Lyric anyhow.
So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell?
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
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.
Wish you were here.
Here's a live version of the song from the band's reunion.

As a side note, I've always had something against Pink Floyd covers (and don't get me started on Pink Floyd cover bands). Yet I saw Velvet Revolver cover this song in concert a few years back and was blown away. Here's a video of them performing the song at another show.

PJ Blount (mail) (www):
I just added this blog to my feed, and behold my favorite song is the first post that comes through. Forget your other credentials, you've just won a reader through a single post.
11.11.2007 10:05am
Adam K:
I saw VR at the 9:30 Club in D.C. back in May, and their first encore was their cover of Wish You Were Here. I was amazed that I liked it; I think I've hated every cover of Pink Floyd, The Who and Led Zeppelin I've ever heard.

They also do a good cover of "Psycho Killer" by The Talking Heads.
11.11.2007 10:33am
Fatima Struggle:
"A smile from a veil?" Islamophobia!!!! I demand that this be taken down immediately or I will blow up my own computer! Most likely my desk along with it, if not part of the floor. And it will all be your fault.
11.11.2007 10:37am
McGrath (mail):
I liked this performance by Velvet Revolver even better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3pgUo57aEI
11.11.2007 11:03am
J. Ransom (www):
Wyclef Jean's cover of "Wish You Were Here" will do nothing to dissuade your dislike of such covers. Mediocre also is the version by Catherine Wheel, who covered the song about ten years ago on its Like Cats and Dogs album. For good measure, Thom Yorke joined Sparklehorse for that band's cover of the song on its Come Again album. Really, though, the original is such a powerful tune that any attempt to cover it will inevitably fail by comparison.
11.11.2007 11:19am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
(Poodle-da-skoodie, poodle-da skoodie,
poodle-da-skoodie)

Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
(Poodle-da-skoodie, poodle-da skoodie,
poodle-da-skoodie)
(Re-beat...).......Concrete!

First you get some gravel,
(From the streams) about.
You mix a mess of mortar,
(Splash) a mess of water,
See the mello-roonie come out!
Slurp, slurp, slurp....

Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
Cement mixer, putti putti,
Who wants a bucket of cement?
11.11.2007 11:36am
The Cabbage:
You've never really experienced "The Wall" until you've heard the bluegrass version from Luther Wright &the Wrongs.
11.11.2007 12:39pm
Hoosier:
The post-Roger-Waters band always struck me as sounding like a dull cover band when they played the old song live. There was just no excitement, and it seemed like they were phoning it in.
11.11.2007 1:16pm
A discerning musician (mail):
Feh, Adler. It's a thoroughly pedestrian song - boring chord changes, ho-hum instrumentation, no real independent melody to speak of, and lyrics which are decent but nothing special. It only owes its fame to the fame of the band, and the fact that it's a concise "single"-like song dating from a period when nearly everything else they did was unsuited for radio format.

Pink Floyd is really only for people who just don't take music that seriously at all. It's dilettantish noise.
11.11.2007 2:06pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
I hate Pink Floyd with such a passion. My college roommate played it constantly, without pause, proclaiming it the greatest music ever. It's just bad music (a few chords, lame drums, a little noodling here and there) with bad lyrics. "Two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl..." jesus christ give me a break. I'd expect those lyrics to be found in the diary of a PMS'ing 17 year old girl whining about unrequited sex with the high school quarterback.

Pink Floyd is by far the most overrated crap music ever. And there is a simple reason for it. One really popular person in every middle-school class proclaims it to be good music to listen to while you're drunk/stoned. That makes everyone else want to agree, so as to implicitly admit that they've been drunk and stoned, too. And year after year, Pink Floyd popularity continues solely through the recommendation a drunk/stoned teenager.
11.11.2007 3:30pm
floydfan (mail):
Great quote from the comments on the youtube video:
look at him smile at 2:25
hes thinking´╗┐ "wow he still blows at singing after all these years"


very true
11.11.2007 4:47pm
UW2L:
Well, I hope you like cellos more than you hate Pink Floyd covers, because Rasputina does a beautiful version of this song. Definitely my favorite single song by Floyd; I spent a good chunk of this spring listening to little other than this album, and reading this post may kick off a relapse.
11.11.2007 5:01pm
rko,esq.:
how bitter must one be to post judgmental, snarky bs to something as innocent as Adler's "Sunday Song Lyrics"??
11.11.2007 6:21pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
rko: why should anything be immune from judgmental, snarky bullshit?
11.11.2007 6:32pm
Scott Forster (mail):
Australian Pink Floyd is a cover band that is simply superb. We are seeing them in Atlanta on Saturday evening at the Fox Theatre. Before you condemn all PF cover bands, check out these guys.
11.11.2007 8:24pm
Crane (mail):
Speaking of the recommendations of drunk/stoned teenagers, my high school graduating class picked this song to be the "theme song" for our senior prom. All the prom paraphernalia had the slogan "Wish You Were Here" on it. It was all very strange and un-prom-like, and a lot of people thought it was a poor choice.
11.11.2007 9:47pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Crane: QED. If you can think back, you can probably identify the one popular kid who thought pink floyd was awesome to smoke out to, thus causing everyone else to like or claim to like it too. Followers. Pink floyd popularity is a result of pubescent groupthink (which is incredibly powerful and explains the huge record sales of Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall.

You'd think people would grow out of their "pink floyd rules!" phases eventually, though, realizing it is absolutely rancid, boring, annoying, dull, incredibly lame and worthless music. The only thing it's useful for is entertaining retarded people at planetarium laser shows. I guess by the time they're mature enough to realize it's bad music they've listened to it and devoted so much time and money to pink floyd albums that they are incapable of admitting the group's music actually sucks balls. Plus, such an admission, no matter when, would mean that you really were not cool in high school. So everyone has this vested interest in maintaining the belief that Pink Floyd is awesome. Once you drink that pink kool-aid there's no going back.
11.11.2007 10:59pm
rko,esq.:
BruceM: provocateur.
11.11.2007 11:05pm
Cornellian (mail):
BruceM,

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.
11.11.2007 11:08pm
Crunchy Frog:
There's a bluegrass version of Comfortably Numb by the Bastard Brothers that's... well, disturbing is the best way to put it.
11.12.2007 12:50am
uh clem (mail):
Hmmm. 20 posts and nobody's pointed out that the song is about Syd Barrett, the original lead guitarist, singer &songwriter for the band. Syd wigged out from the pressures of fame mixed with drugs and mental illness and wasn't "there" anymore, hence the title "Wish You Were Here."

This happened early in the band's career, and the theme of "rock star gets famous and goes insane" permeated much of their songwriting. If you find that narcissistic, that's probably because it is.

1975's "Wish You Were Here" is probably their best work (certainly everything that came afterward is formulistic humorless dreck.) But if you didn't develop a taste for it in high school or college, you'll probably wonder what the fuss is all about.
11.12.2007 10:48am
Blue Floyd:
Blue Floyd is a pretty damn good Pink Floyd cover band.
11.12.2007 11:15am
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
uh clem-

that's an awful lot to know about Pink Floyd.
11.12.2007 12:26pm
Nobody Special:
That song doesn't hold a candle to "Heaven and Hell" by The Who, Live at Leeds, Disc 1, Track 1 (remastered version).
11.12.2007 1:29pm
NavyBrat (mail):
According to the December 1, 2001 issue of Billboard, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon has been on the charts for an astounding 1,285 weeks. When it came out there was no decent music so it was "played to death." There's a reason punk rock came along.
11.12.2007 2:23pm
uh clem (mail):
...that's an awful lot to know about Pink Floyd.

Yeah, I know. If only my head were filled with useful information....
11.12.2007 3:25pm
Cato:
Adler, it is number 2 on my list, after The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Believe it or not, the Grateful Dead did an amazing cover of it.
11.12.2007 4:07pm
Cato:
BTW, which one was Pink?
11.12.2007 4:09pm
uh clem (mail):
BTW, which one was Pink?

This one.
11.12.2007 4:27pm
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
I think it's "what have we found" not "what have you found."
11.13.2007 11:55am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
You've never really experienced "The Wall" until you've heard the bluegrass version from Luther Wright &the Wrongs.
Or the Austin Lounge Lizards' bluegrass cover of "Brain Damage." Here's a 36-second audio sample, straight from their official site.
11.13.2007 12:01pm