"Have a Cigar" is the third track on Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here. It follows "Welcome to the Machine" and on the original LP opened side two. In some markets, the song was issued as a single.
English folk singer Roy Harper provided lead vocals on "Have a Cigar"; it was one of only two Pink Floyd recordings to feature guest lead vocals.
The song's music and lyrics were written by Roger Waters in critique of hypocrisy and greed within the music business. The music is more straightforwardly rock-oriented than the rest of the album, beginning with a churning riff played on electric guitar and bass. The track is filled out with additional guitar, electric piano and synthesizer parts to create a rock texture.
"Have a Cigar" concludes with a guitar solo, which is interrupted by a synthesizer filter-sweep sound effect as the music reduces in volume to tinny, AM radio-like levels. Finally, the song ends with the sound of a radio being dialled off-station; this effect is used as a transition to the title track, "Wish You Were Here".
On the original recording, the song's lead vocals are performed by Roy Harper. Both Waters and David Gilmour sang the song on separate takes, as well as a duet version but they were unhappy with the results (the duet version has been released as part of the Wish You Were Here Immersion set). Harper was recording his album HQ in Studio 2 of Abbey Road at the same time as Pink Floyd were working in Studio 3, and Gilmour invited him to sing the part. The song is one of only two songs by the band which is not sung by one of their permanent members, the other being "The Great Gig in the Sky".
The song was performed on the band's 1975 North American tours sandwiched in between the multi-part "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" with Gilmour and Waters singing lead. It was last performed by the band on the 1977 In the Flesh/Animals Tour, as part of the Wish You Were Here set with Waters on lead vocals, Gilmour on backing vocals and rhythm guitar and Snowy White playing the guitar solos.
Waters continued to play the song on his solo tours (apart from the 1999–2002 In the Flesh tour).
|"Have a Cigar"MENU 0:00 "Have a Cigar" was sung by Roy Harper, something that Waters later regretted. The song contains lyrics that are critical of the music industry.----|
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- Roger Waters - bass guitar
- David Gilmour - electric guitars, additional keyboards
- Richard Wright - Wurlitzer electric piano, ARP String Synthesizer, Minimoog, Hohner clavinet D6
- Nick Mason - drums
|“||A lot of people think 'I can't sing', including me a bit. I'm very unclear about what singing is. I know I find it hard to pitch, and I know the sound of my voice isn't very good in purely aesthetic terms, and Roy Harper was recording his own album in another EMI studio at the time, he's a mate, and we thought he could probably do a job on it.||”|
—Roger Waters, October 1975, Interviewed by Nick Sedgewick in the Wish You Were Here songbook
|“||"Have a Cigar" was a whole track on which I used the guitar and keyboards at once. There are some extra guitars which I dubbed on later, but I did the basic guitar tracks at one time.||”|
—David Gilmour, October 1975, Interviewed by Gary Cooper in the Wish You Were Here songbook
|“||We did have people who would say to us "Which one's Pink" and stuff like that. There were an awful lot of people who thought Pink Floyd was the name of the lead singer and that was Pink himself and the band. That's how it all came about, it was quite genuine.||”|
—David Gilmour, December 1992, In the Studio with Redbeard for "Making of Shine On" and "Making of Wish You Were Here"
- In 1979, Warner Bros. Records released a 12" single containing a special disco mix of "Have a Cigar" by Rosebud, a studio group led by composer Gabriel Yared, from their album Discoballs: A Tribute to Pink Floyd. The song peaked at number 4 on Billboard's Disco Top 80 chart in June 1979. The B-side was a disco version of "Money".
- In 1992, the band Primus recorded a cover of the song and included it as the closing track to their Miscellaneous Debris EP. Their version features a slight lyrical change: "The band is just fantastic, of the town you are the talk/Man, but who the hell's this guy they call Bob Cock?"
- Foo Fighters recorded two different cover versions of the song. The first was used as b-side for the Learn to fly CD single, while the second one, featuring Brian May on lead guitar, first appeared on the Mission: Impossible IIsoundtrack, and later as an Amazon.com bonus track on their 2009 Greatest Hits album and in the 2011 limited-edition vinyl only release Medium Rare, released for Record Store Day. Both versions were sung by drummer Taylor Hawkins.
- The album Instead, released in 2007 by Onetwo, contains a cover version of "Have a Cigar".
- The main riff of "Have a Cigar" is incorporated into the song "Peruvian Skies" by progressive metal band Dream Theater on their 1998 live album Once in a LIVEtime and on the Live DVD 5 Years in a Livetime. Also, from their album "Images and Words," using the main riff from "Have a Cigar" at the beginning of "Metropolis: Part I" .
- A free CD given with the October 2011 issue of UK music magazine Mojo features a cover version of "Have a Cigar" by John Foxx and The Maths. This version was later announced by Mojo as 'not the finished version' and the correct version was offered as a free download from the website.