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Song Stories

“Wish You Were Here”

Pink Floyd | 1975

The tragic downfall of Syd Barrett following the former Pink Floyd guitarist's descent into drug-induced madness haunts the band’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here. Written by Roger Waters and David Gilmour, the title track is an ode to their fallen comrade. Eerily, Barrett showed up out of the blue at Abbey Road Studios during the recording of this song in such rough shape that no one recognized him at first. “He stood up and said, ‘Right, when do I put my guitar on?’” keyboardist Rick Wright told Rolling Stone. “And we said, ‘Sorry, Syd, the guitar’s all done.’”

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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