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LISTENING BOOTH: Craig Martin on Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’

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I was 14 in 1975. When the album came out, I had to take two buses to buy it. It was just something I did. I always had a job. Back then it was lining baseball fields. You made pennies so saving up for an album was a big deal. I’d been burned by other albums (Pablo Cruise, Caribou) but I knew that Pink Floyd would not let me down. I made it down to Sams only to find that the album was $4.99. Not $3.99. I’d wasted a bus fare for nothing. I stood in the store holding the album up to the light. It was wrapped in a blue, see through plastic. A lot of people don’t remember this. Underneath, of course, was the iconic shot of the two businessmen shaking hands.

I dreamed of owning the album. I went back to work. I got an eye infection from the line. I toughed it out and worked through it. My eye was a mess. But I got back on the bus, two weeks later and bought the album. It was worth it. As the years passed, the album came to mean a great deal to me. There’s something connecting about it. We all star in our own movie as ‘Wish You Were Here’ plays. Pink Floyd wrote the album as a tribute to their founding member. On April 25 at Massey Hall, when the band recites the work with clarity and cool, I’ll be thinking of people in my life who I wish were here with us.

Guest Contributor Craig Martin is the founder and producer of Classic Albums Live. Watch Classic Albums Live perform Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ note for note, cut for cut at Massey Hall on Saturday, April 25.