Meaning of “Have a Cigar” by Pink Floyd (Ft. Roy Harper)

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” featuring Roy Harper, is a satirical take on the music industry’s commercialism and insincerity. The song criticizes the commodification of music, highlighting the industry’s greed and superficiality. It’s about how artists are often seen as products rather than creative individuals. The song mocks the music executives’ shallow praise and their focus on profit over art. Pink Floyd, known for their thought-provoking lyrics, delivers a sharp commentary on the pressures and absurdities artists face in the industry.

Intrigued by the deeper, cynical layers of “Have a Cigar”? Let’s dive into the lyrics and uncover its meaning.

“Have a Cigar” Lyrics Meaning

The opening lines, “Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar, you’re gonna go far,” immediately set a tone of patronizing condescension, often experienced by artists from industry executives. The offer of a cigar symbolizes a superficial gesture of welcome and success in the industry.

“You’re gonna fly, you’re never gonna die, You’re gonna make it if you try, they’re gonna love you,” sarcastically portrays the empty promises and flattery given to artists. It’s a critique of the industry’s tendency to inflate egos for profit.

“Well, I’ve always had a deep respect and I mean that most sincere, The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think, Oh, by the way, which one’s pink?” These lines, especially the question about ‘which one’s Pink,’ highlights the ignorance and lack of genuine interest in the artists themselves. It’s a jab at the executives who care more about the brand than the band.

“And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train,” the chorus, with its cynical tone, sums up the song’s message about the music industry being a ‘gravy train’ – a way to make easy money without regard for artistic integrity.

“We’re just knocked out, we heard about the sell-out, You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people,” these lines emphasize the pressure on artists to commercialize their work. ‘Selling out’ refers to compromising artistic integrity for commercial success.

The repeated lines about ‘riding the gravy train’ serve as a sarcastic reminder of the industry’s priorities. The song uses irony to critique the way the music business often exploits artists and treats their work as mere commodities.

Why Was “Have a Cigar” Written?

“Have a Cigar” was written during a time when Pink Floyd was becoming increasingly disillusioned with the music industry. The band, particularly Roger Waters, who penned the lyrics, was critical of the industry’s commercialization and the loss of artistic authenticity.

The song reflects the band’s frustration and cynicism towards the industry’s manipulative tactics and superficiality. It’s a satirical reflection of their experiences and observations as they navigated the complexities of fame and commercial success.

In essence, “Have a Cigar” is a biting commentary on the music industry, wrapped in Pink Floyd’s signature style of incisive lyrics and compelling melodies. It’s a timeless critique that resonates with artists and audiences alike, highlighting the ongoing tension between art and commerce.