As Pink Floyd approached the making of Wish You Were Here , they were deep in debt and exhausted from years of nonstop touring and drug use. The band was still reeling from the departure of founder Syd Barrett, who left under murky circumstances. His replacement, guitarist David Gilmour , seemed to be plucked from obscurity as a relatively unknown session player. Pink Floyd’s newest member had no true creative input for Wish You Were Here , but he would have a huge impact on future Pink Floyd material.
Taking Pink Floyd in a new direction, Wish You Were Here was the first album to prominently feature Gilmour . There were certainly songs with lyrics written by Roger Waters , Pink Floyd’s main songwriter, but Gilmour’s strong vocals and guitar playing made Wish You Were Here Pink Floyd’s most accessible album.
The title track was the perfect introduction to Pink Floyd’s new, more focused sound. With tributes to Syd Barrett , Pink Floyd fans were quick to notice that Wish You Were Here seemed to indicate their missing friend would be returning to Pink Floyd. Syd had been in and out of mental institutions, busying himself with painting. Pink Floyd’s founder was given credit on the album’s liner notes for helping Pink Floyd secure a record deal with Columbia , but he would not actually reunite with Pink Floyd until nearly 20 years later.