In yet another masterful display of musical invention through immense sensitivity from Sparklehorse’s very own Mark Linkous, we revisit the band’s brilliantly unique cover of Pink Floyd hit ‘Wish You Were Here’ — a song steeped in the history of one of the most important British bands of all time.
The song, which arrived as the title track on Pink Floyd’s now-iconic ninth studio album Wish You Were Here in 1975, was originally created by David Gilmour and Roger Waters and recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios. It’s an effort which was written specifically for Syd Barrett but has since gone on to typify the band and their magical output.
For Linkous, who had regularly collaborated with the likes of Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Daniel Johnston and more throughout his incomparable career, the opportunity to call on Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke for a special rendition of the Pink Floyd hit was too much to bear. Especially after he was approached by Mark Mothersbaugh to contribute to 2005 biographical drama film Lords of Dogtown, there was no other choice but to jump on the cover.
The film, which was directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by skateboarding pioneer Stacy Peralta, tells the story of a group of young skateboarders in the south Santa Monica area of Los Angeles, California, during the mid-1970s as they formed the early years of skateboarding as we know it.
While the picture starred big names such as Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch, the film’s soundtrack boasted even more well-known figures with the likes of David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, T.Rex, Black Sabbath and more and was subsequently released by Geffen Records. It’s meant that often the soundtrack is more widely received than the film itself.
Despite the film earning a cult following, the project suffered a big loss at the box office and is considered a commercial flop. The soundtrack record, however, came out of Hollywood with its head held high and Sparklehorse’s collaboration with Thom Yorke became its major selling point. Taking on any song together is one thing but taking on a song like ‘Wish You Were Here’ is another.
Linkous takes the lead with his delicately delivered vocals while Yorke, who was marking his first guest appearance outside of Radiohead, sings his part with a distant edge over the phone from a hotel room. It’s a searing piece of innovation which gives the song an unusual and welcomed tone.
Stream the track, below.