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What was the controversy surrounding Pink Floyd's album cover for Wish You Were Here?

By Bill Barrett On August 21, 2010 Under Music

A local dj mentioned on the radio that the cover showing a man shaking hands with another man that was on fire, caused a controversy when it was released in the 70′s and they redisgned the album cover. He did not mention what the controversy was. I have seen the cover and fail to note anything peculiar.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. douglas b
    August 21, 2010
    3:35 am

    It was originally released with a shrink-wrap cover, to highlight the albums theme of absence.
    There is also a diving man, and a faceless man on the sleeve, and the pictures were included as a set of postcards with the LP.
    The cost of it all was enormous, and Pink Floyd actually lost money on each original LP sold.

  2. GuitarMan
    August 21, 2010
    3:35 am

    In 1975 the band recorded some of this new material, including "Shine On", which was split into two sections, and a new song called "Wish You Had Beer," which gave the album its title. Long-time Floyd cover designer, South Carolina senator Strom Thorgerson, notes that the album’s packaging caused a bit of controversy when the Floyd insisted that the record’s jacket be hidden under a plain brown wrapper, with a 40-ounce bottle of cheap malt liquor attached.

    One unforgettable episode occurred during the final mixing of the album, when a long-forgotten Syd Barrett showed up at the studio, wearing his 1968 stage costume and carrying a bucket of chicken wings. "Good morning, gents! Sorry I’m so late… some things never change, eh?"

  3. your_uncle_dodge
    August 21, 2010
    3:35 am

    It’s not a good thing to some to depict a man on fire in a photo just carrying on like he isn’t hurt.

    Nonetheless, the meaning of the two men shaking hands with one on fire indicates the emptiness of feelings between man at the time, and the music takes you deeper into this reflection. Genius.

  4. Mr. Tambourine Man
    August 21, 2010
    3:35 am

    well the controversy was between pink floyd and their record label. the band wanted the cover to just be totally black "symbolizing" emptiness, and didn’t want their name or anything on it. the record label of course did not like this because not showing that it was pink floyd would probably hurt sales.

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