|Wish You Were Here|
The song's lyrics encompass writer Roger Waters' feelings of alienation from other people. Like most of the album, it refers to former Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett and his breakdown. David Gilmour and Roger Waters collaborated to complete the song. In 2004, the song was ranked #316 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In the original album version, the song segues from "Have a Cigar" as if a radio had been tuned away from one station, through several others (including a radio play and one playing Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony), and finally to a new station where "Wish You Were Here" is beginning. The radio was recorded from Gilmour's car radio. Gilmour performed the intro on a twelve-string guitar, processed to sound like it was playing through an old transistor radio, and then overdubbed a fuller-sounding acoustic guitar solo. This passage was mixed to sound as though the guitarist was sitting in a room, playing along with the radio; it also contains a whine that slowly changes pitch—emulating the heterodyne between two drifting AM radio signals.
"Wish You Were Here" made its stage debut on the band's 1977 tour, which featured a performance of the entire album at every show. It was not played live by the band for nearly ten years after this, yet became a concert staple after its reappearance in 1987 — and was performed at nearly all subsequent Pink Floyd concerts. In the original 1977 concert performances, Gilmour would play his Fender Stratocaster instead of acoustic guitar whilst Snowy White played a 12-string Ovation acoustic guitar. At some of these shows (all of the US shows, notably), Mason tuned an actual transistor radio on stage to a local radio station, seguing into the pre-recorded part from the album to start the song and Rick Wright would perform an extended piano coda as the wind effects played. When Pink Floyd were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gilmour and Wright (Mason was in the audience) performed the song with the assistance of their presenter Billy Corgan on rhythm guitar.