Miley Cyrus appeared on the latest at-home “Saturday Night Live” episode this weekend and gave a strong acoustic performance of the 1975 Pink Floyd classic “Wish You Were Here.
Cyrus performed next to a fire pit, the glow of which added to the poignancy of the song.
She was joined by guitarist Andrew Watt, who appeared to be a safe social distance from Cyrus while they performed.
In March, Watt revealed on his Instagram account that he had been diagnosed with Covid-19.
It wasn’t Cyrus’s first time taking on a Pink Floyd tune. In 2019, she sang the band’s “Comfortably Numb” at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
The Story Behind the Song:
When Pink Floyd entered Abbey Road Studios during the first week of 1975 to begin work on their ninth album, “Wish You Were,” the guys were exhausted. Their previous release, The Dark Side Of The Moon, had become one of the decade’s biggest hits, transforming the cult musicians into mainstream art rockers.
Pink Floyd cemented their new audience by touring heavily for three years, but the time had come to do something new. Recording a follow-up to Dark Side wasn’t going to be easy, especially with that album still clinging to the upper reaches of the Billboard charts, its success hanging over the band like a cloud. Wish You Were Here was going to be tough.
The story of Wish You Were Here is all about former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, who was suffering a mental breakdown. His crippling addiction to LSD had forced him out of the band in 1968.
Revolving around the central theme of absence, the album’s lyrics illustrate the difference between the group’s early years – when Pink Floyd was a band of brothers, making music for a small but devoted audience – and the present. The guys had become multi-millionaires in the wake of Dark Side’s success, but they’d also become cash cows for a corporate label, and the camaraderie that once existed between them had grown strained. Tying the song cycle together are two compositions about Syd Barrett: the nine-part opus “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” and the short, haunting title track.
“Wish You Were Here” opens up with a distant chord progression from Gilmour’s 12-string acoustic guitar, processed to sound as though it’s emanating from a car stereo. The sound crackles and pops, and when a second guitar swoops into the mix, the disparity between both parts is thrown into sharp relief. The second guitar is loud and blemish-free; the first is just a ghost, a pale shadow of what it must’ve sounded like when it was originally recorded.
By 1975, Syd Barrett had become a pale shadow of his former self, too. When he made a surprise visit to Abbey Road Studios on June 5, while the band worked on the record, Barrett had put on so much weight that the others didn’t recognize him for several minutes. He’d shaved his head, too, along with his eyebrows. It pained the band members to see their friend so lost, so detached, so disengaged from the world around him.
Wish You Were Here serves as a sad tribute to a lost friend and a soulful remembrance of better days.
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