Two Lost Souls

The Pink Floyd song ‘Wish You Were Here’ which was written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters is about their original guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett who had to be replaced because he lost touch with reality.  The group brought in David Gilmore to replace Syd Barrett on guitar.  Wish You Were Here was the title of their ninth studio album, released in 1975 and it followed The Dark Side of the Moon.  This album went to #1 in both the UK and the US and it was their second concept album revolving around the central theme of absence and disenchantment with the music industry, where Roger Waters reflects that the camaraderie that the band once had was by then, largely absent.

The members of Pink Floyd saw Syd Barrett visit them unannounced on June 5, 1975 while they were at Abbey Road Studios recording this album.  He gained a lot of weight which he said was from eating lots of pork chops and they had trouble recognizing him.  He shaved his head and eyebrows, and was clutching a plastic bag that contained his toothbrush.  Wright and Walters were both shocked and in tears when they realized that it was Syd, as they were recording the song ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ which was a tribute to him.  This was the last they ever saw of him, as he dropped off the map.

Syd Barrett died in 2006 at the age of 60 and if he didn’t suffer from mental illness, or taking too much LSD, he could have been so much greater than he ended up being.  In this song Gilmour and Waters were able to create something so incredibly emotional that it would have made Barrett very proud.  Waters and Gilmour were trying to make Syd understand that what he’s doing is wrong. Just because he was addicted to something.  They want him to stop listening to the voices that were stuck inside his head and think about making his life better.  They use contrasting imagery of heaven and hell, blue skies and pain, a green field and a steel rail to see if Syd could relate to any of this.  They blame the music industry for getting Syd to trade his heroes for ghosts.

They wonder if Syd could have replaced hot ashes for trees, hot air for a cool breeze and cold comfort for change.  They knew Syd went too far with drugs and that he was beyond hope at this point, so they ask him, “Did you exchange, A walk on part in the war, For a lead role in a cage?”  They miss Syd and they feel like they are going around in circles aimlessly without him, “Swimming in a fish bowl, Year after year, Running over the same old ground.”

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?

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
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
And how we found
The same old fears
Wish you were here

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge I Know You`re Out There Somewhere.

12 thoughts on “Two Lost Souls

  1. I have heard some of his solo albums. He really was a talented guy. He has some very good pop records. His second solo album called The Madcap Laughs is worth a listen. I’m not much of a Pink Floyd fan but I am starting to listen to their pre-1970 music…some good stuff.

    I do like this song.

    Liked by 1 person

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