release - 1975
album art - Storm Thorgerson
cellophane cover first
Wish You Were Here was sold in one of the more elaborate packages to accompany a Pink Floyd album. Storm Thorgerson had accompanied the band on their 1974 tour, and had given serious thought to the meaning of the lyrics, eventually deciding that the songs were, in general, concerned with 'unfulfilled presence', rather than Barrett's illness. This theme of absence was reflected in the ideas produced by his long hours spent brainstorming with the band.
Thorgerson had noted that Roxy Music's 'Country Life' was sold in an opaque green cellophane sleeve – censoring the cover image – and he copied the idea, concealing the artwork for Wish You Were Here in a dark-coloured shrink-wrap (resealable) to make the album art 'absent'.
The album's cover image was inspired by the idea that people tend to conceal their true feelings, for fear of 'getting burned', and thus two businessmen were pictured shaking hands, one man on fire. 'Getting burned' was also a common phrase in the music industry, used often by artists denied royalty payments.
Two stuntmen were used (Ronnie Rondell and Danny Rogers), one dressed in a fire-retardant suit covered by a business suit. The photograph was taken at the Warner Bros. studios in Los Angeles. Initially the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, and the flames were forced into Rondell's face, burning his moustache. The two stuntmen changed positions, and the image was later reversed.
The album's back cover depicts a faceless 'Floyd salesman' with his merchandise.
In his right hand he holds a transparant vinyl disk with the famous 'mechanical handshake' sticker of the album it self. This sticker was designed by George Hardie. The absence of wrists and ankles signifies his presence as an 'empty suit'.
The photoshoot took place in the Yuma Desert in California. In Thorgerson's words the salesman is 'selling his soul' in the desert.
Another beautiful detail is the desert sand that that leaks through the crack.
The white cardboard inner sleeve has three cut corners on the front with the famous splash-less diver at Mono-Lake, the lyrics and the water that pours out. The back shows a veil concealing a nude woman in a windswept Norfolk grove.
The vinyl labels contain the famous mechanical handshake in black/purple and the tracklist.
Extra was an inserted postcard.
Pink Floyd was an English rock band formed by students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and Richard Wright. David Gilmour joined as a fifth member in December 1967; Barrett left the band in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music.
Their most successful albums are Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), The Wall (1979) and The Final Cut (1983).
Wright left in 1979, followed by Waters in 1985. Gilmour and Mason continued; Wright rejoined later. The three produced A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994) and toured until 1994. The Endless River, based on material recorded in 1993–1994, was released in November 2014.