As a card-carrying Floyd geek, there’s precious little that I don’t know about the band after years of reading books and viewing documentaries. But I always welcome new documentaries that share further insight into the rock phenomenon that was Pink Floyd. On this occassion, the focus is on the 1975 album, Wish You Were Here, which just might be my favourite one of the lot – and that’s really saying something!
Made very recently, the documentary interviews all the key players – from the band, Roger Waters; Dave Gilmour & Nick Mason and the supporting cast, designer Storm Thorgerson; former manager Peter Jenner; visual artist Gerard Scarfe, early producer Joe Boyd, producer Brian Humphries, singer Roy Harper, photographer Aubrey “Po” Powell and others – to get the full story as humanly possible. The late Richard Wright is also featured in interviews from 2001.
Very much in style of Eagle Rock’s Classic Album series, the documentary goes into depth to get hitherto-berfore unheard-of multi-tracks to shed light on the recording process of this seminal LP. There is also a nice touch in the clips with designer Thorgerson, photographer Powell and visual artists Scarfe as these moments reveal how far ahead the Floyd was ahead of its time in mixing the music with multimedia, something we take for granted nowadays.
The documentary ends on a sombre tone as the subjects discuss the sudden appearance of founder Syd Barrett (the inspiration for the concept of the album) at the studio during mixing, which reduced many to tears. Barrett would never be seen again by his bandmates until his death in 2006 at the age of 60. But there is a wistful tinge as the footage closes on Pink Floyd’s final gig at Live 8 with the four main players sing Wish You Were Here for the very last time together.
Absolutely essential if you’re a fan or a rock scholar and if you’re a regular visitor to Power of Pop.