Pink Floyd (Ft. Roy Harper) – “Have a Cigar” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Have a Cigar” is Pink Floyd’s cheeky nod to the music industry and its commercial pressures. It’s about the disconnect between artists and executives. The song paints a picture of an industry more interested in profits than the art itself. Who’s it about? Not a specific person, but the general attitude of music bigwigs. It’s a clever dig at how artists are often seen as mere products, not creative souls.

Keep reading and let’s dive deeper into the heart of this classic tune!


“Have a Cigar” Lyrics Meaning

“Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar, you’re gonna go far…” – From the start, it feels like a pat on the back, a classic industry schmooze. It sets the tone of a music executive trying to butter up the band, making big promises about their future success.

“You’re gonna fly, you’re never gonna die…” – These exaggerated claims emphasize the empty promises often made to lure artists into contracts.

“Well, I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere…” – Yet again, more flattery, but then…

“Oh, by the way, which one’s pink?” – Here’s the kicker. The exec doesn’t even know the band members’ names, highlighting the lack of genuine interest.

“And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train…” – It’s all about the money. This line is pretty transparent about the industry’s main focus – making a profit off artists.

“We’re just knocked out, we heard about the sell-out…” – A nod to the pressures artists face to conform and produce commercially viable music, even if it means compromising on their vision.

“You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people…” – There’s a push to produce, produce, produce. This pressure is showcased as being for the fans, but is it really?

“Everybody else is just green, have you seen the chart? It’s a hell of a start…” – Jealousy, competition, chart performance – all common themes in the music world.

“If we all pull together as a team…” – A sly suggestion that the band should align with the commercial goals of the label, rather than pursue their artistic integrity.

The Story Behind “Have a Cigar”

Pink Floyd, through the years, developed a reputation for making thought-provoking music. “Have a Cigar” is no outlier. Released in the mid-’70s, it was a time when rock bands were battling the commercial demands of record companies. The band, rising in popularity, felt these pressures firsthand.

The song reflects Pink Floyd’s experiences with the industry’s commercial side. The title itself, “Have a Cigar,” is symbolic. A cigar is often associated with celebration or sealing a deal, but it also comes with smoke – perhaps a metaphor for the smokescreens put up by executives.

By featuring Roy Harper on vocals, the band might have also been making a statement. The voice in the song isn’t one of the regular members, possibly highlighting the alien nature of the executive’s voice. Pink Floyd created a satirical, yet revealing, peek into the music world’s scenes. With “Have a Cigar,” they reminded both artists and fans to be wary of the industry’s smoky illusions.