New documentary focuses on the making of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here

A forthcoming DVD/Blu-ray documentary will trace the creation of Pink Floyd’s 1975 release Wish You Were Here, with new interviews from Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, along with archival footage with the late Richard Wright.

Wish You Were Here, cited by both Wright and Gilmour as their favorite Pink Floyd album, went straight to No. 1 in both the UK and America — despite initially receiving mixed reviews, likely because it followed the group’s legend-making Dark Side of the Moon. Eventually, Wish You Were Here would be named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time.

The documentary focuses on the project’s theme of absence, and the spectral presence of former band member Syd Barrett — who famously made an unexpected visit Abbey Road during the recording. That moved Pink Floyd to create “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” which both opens and closes the album. That decision to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” into two sections, the film reveals, became the catalyst for the album’s successful completion.

The Story of ‘Wish You Were Here’ is due June 26 from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Pre-orders start on June 1.

Bonus material includes Waters and Gilmour performing excerpts from Wish You Were Here. Also featured are talks with sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover “burning man” Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. In addition, original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs’ construction.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Pink Floyd. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

HAVE A CIGAR!: CELEBRATING PINK FLOYD’S MASSIVE REISSUE PROJECT: Psych-rockers Pink Floyd and EMI are launching an exhaustive re-release campaign. You could say that tickled us … pink. Released under the banner “Why Pink Floyd?,” the band started by issuing remastered editions of all 14 of its albums, with a staggered schedule of unreleased material from its archives for super-deluxe box sets. The remastered studio albums are available either separately or as a box set. To celebrate, we reminisced about a few key cuts from throughout their career.

FORGOTTEN SERIES: PINK FLOYD CO-FOUNDER SYD BARRETT: For fans of the group’s early, more whimsical side, these CDs are simply astounding. Gone is the punky pyschedlia of the early Floyd singles that Syd wrote — like, say, the breakthrough, “Arnold Layne” or “Apples and Oranges.” While it seems deeply influenced by the Beatles, Barrett’s new music was much heavier. His wild-eyed whimsy had evolved into pop songcraft of the highest order. In no way was this morose flower-power stuff, though, even though it has a vague elegiac tone. In fact, believe it or not, Syd sounds tough — and incredibly modern.

GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE PINK FLOYD, WELL, SUCKED: Everybody went through a Pink Floyd phase, right? But, the child is grown; the dream is gone. Let’s face it, some of this stuff, well, sucked. So while we still have a deep respect — and I mean that most sincerely — for, say, Dark Side of the Moon, careful adult inspection reveals that even that psych-masterpiece boasts at least one awful clunker. So, have a cigar, as we count down the stuff that didn’t quite make their hall-of-fame resume — the ones where they were tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit … well, you get the idea.

THE ORB FEATURING DAVID GILMOUR – METALLIC SPHERES (2010): Gilmour’s familiar Fender Stratocaster vibrato effortlessly blends with the Orb’s next-galaxy synthesizer washes, mid-tempo house flourishes and whoa-man effects. And, along the way, helps both Gilmour and the Orb reclaim a measure of their own early promise. In fact, we might just be hearing the best collaboration from any edition of Pink Floyd in the last three decades. Revisiting a pre-Dark Side of the Moon penchant for narrative instrumental musings allows Gilmour a return to his own roots, even as it hurtles him past an impossible talisman in Pink Floyd.

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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