My iPod #493: Pink Floyd – Have a Cigar

“Have a Cigar” is the second track on Pink Floyd’s great album Wish You Were Here concerning Roger Water’s cynical takes on the music industry. Whilst “Welcome to the Machine” focused on the band’s disillusionment with the whole thing , “Cigar” is from the perspective of the sleazy, hypocritical businessman who is only interested in the money, having no idea as to what the band stand for, what they trying to say with their music, or even who the names of the members are.

The track is the most rock-oriented from the album, beginning with groovy guitar licks amidst a mix of sliding synthesizer phrases and electric piano which provide the back-bone for its duration before concluding on an electric guitar solo by David Gilmour. It is also noted for being one of only two songs which are sung by other vocalists apart from Gilmour and Waters. The story is that Waters had strained his voice singing on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” and could not sing to his full potential, and Gilmour was unhappy with the results when he did his take.

Up stepped folk singer Roy Harper who, “for a price”, carries it out with great aplomb, a hefty weight behind his voice and a unique delivery that I don’t think would have been the same had Waters or Gilmour done it instead. The voice crack on ‘just greeeEEEEEn’ at 2:40 makes me laugh every time I hear it, but within the context of the entire song it sounds very fitting.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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