A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
A Momentary Lapse Of Reason
Released September 7, 1987
Recorded June 1986-1987
Genre Progressive Rock
Length 51:14
Label EMI
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin & David Gilmour
Pink Floyd's 1987 album A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was the band's first release after Roger Waters' official departure from the band in 1985. The album reached #3 on both the US and UK charts. It was released in the UK and Europe on EMI.


After The Final Cut was completed in 1983, the remaining three band members went their separate ways until David Gilmour attempted to revive the band with Nick Mason in 1986. A bitter dispute with Waters ensued, but Gilmour and Mason eventually settled out of court for the legal right to continue using the name Pink Floyd. In exchange, Waters dissolved his former management partnership with Steve O'Rourke and gained exclusive rights to some traditional Pink Floyd imagery, including the original flying pig design, almost all of The Wall concept and everything to do with The Final Cut. Rick Wright re-joined the band during the recording sessions for this album, but only as a salaried session musician.

Due to the minimalized contributions of Mason and Wright (and the complete absence of Waters), Lapse could theoretically be considered Gilmour's third solo album.

The music press responded with mostly negative reviews of the album, despite its heavy airplay rotation on video and radio music stations. Waters himself described it as "a pretty fair forgery" of Pink Floyd. The music press also reported that Gilmour had actually considered offering an olive branch to Waters by asking him to help with some of the lyrics.


The album was performed largely by David Gilmour and several session musicians. The most famous of these was Tony Levin (of Peter Gabriel and King Crimson fame), who played bass on most of the tracks. Nick Mason felt he was out of practice on drums, and thus nearly all of the percussion parts were either programmed or delegated to others. For example, Carmine Appice plays drums on "The Dogs of War" while Jim Keltner played on "On The Turning Away" and "One Slip". The drum machine, used on "Sorrow", was programmed by Gilmour.

Session keyboardist Jon Carin, whom Gilmour met and played with in Bryan Ferry's band at Live Aid, went on to collaborate with both Pink Floyd and Roger Waters on subsequent albums and tours, as well as their reunion appearance at Live 8. Pink Floyd's original keyboardist Rick Wright arrived during the sessions, but did not officially rejoin the band due to concerns about his severance contract with Waters (the initial album lists Pink Floyd as consisting of only Gilmour and Mason; however, later re-releases add his name). Wright can be heard playing on a few tracks, notably "Sorrow", which features his background vocals. Most other parts on the album were played by Gilmour or Ezrin.

The recording heard in the middle of "Learning to Fly" is of Mason talking to an air traffic control tower in his private aircraft (both he and Gilmour became enthusiastic pilots after conquering their mutual fear of flying). It incidentally holds the distinction of being the first song to be released worldwide as a CD-only single.

A Momentary Lapse Of Reason is Pink Floyd's first fully digital recording; however, the acoustic drums and bass guitar tracks were recorded on analog equipment.

Cover Artwork

The cover shows 700 hospital beds placed on the Devon coast. This effect was not achieved with trick photography; a team actually hauled the wrought iron beds over three hours from London to Devon and arranged them as seen on the finished design. When the team realised that the shoot would take more than one day, a single bed was left on the beach to see if the sea would have any effect on it over night. When they returned the following morning, the bed was nowhere to be found. Long-time Pink Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson produced the artwork. This was the first Pink Floyd studio album since Animals to feature his work (not counting a design for the compilation album A Collection of Great Dance Songs in 1981).

In the gatefold sleeve was a portrait of David Gilmour and Nick Mason making it the first time that a picture of the members of Pink Floyd appeared in a gatefold sleeve since 1971's Meddle album (not counting a poster of the band members on stage that came with vinyl copies of The Dark Side Of The Moon in 1973)

The vinyl copies had two picture labels. Side one depicted a black and white photo of a man rowing his boat. Side two depicted the beds from the front cover on a beach with the dogs of war running whilst a man is sitting on a bed and a female maid was standing up.

Reissues And Remastering

A re-mastered CD was released in the early 1990s for Europe, and in 1997 for the rest of the world. Another remastered version was released in the US and Canada in October 2005 due to Columbia Records losing the production masters. James Guthrie and Joel Plante supplied the label with new masters, and thus the mastering credit was changed from Doug Sax to Guthrie and Plante. Also, a number of minor changes have been noted in the credits and legal text for this latest release, mostly reflecting changes in the band's business situation since 1997 (including the death of their manager Steve O'Rourke).

Track Listing

  1. "Signs of Life" (David Gilmour/Bob Ezrin) – 4:24
  2. "Learning To Fly" (Gilmour/Anthony Moore/Ezrin/Jon Carin) – 4:53
  3. "The Dogs of War" (Gilmour/Moore) – 6:05
  4. "One Slip" (Gilmour/Phil Manzanera) – 5:10
  5. "On the Turning Away" (Gilmour/Moore) – 5:42
  6. (a) "Yet Another Movie" (Gilmour/Patrick Leonard),
    (b) "Round and Around" (Gilmour) – 7:28
  7. "A New Machine (Part 1)" (Gilmour) – 1:46
  8. "Terminal Frost" (Gilmour) – 6:17
  9. "A New Machine (Part 2)" (Gilmour) – 0:38
  10. "Sorrow" (Gilmour) – 8:46



Tony Levin - Electric bass, Chapman Stick

  • Bob Ezrin - Keyboards, percussion and sequencers
  • Jim Keltner - Drums
  • Steve Forman - Percussion
  • Jon Carin - Keyboards
  • Tom Scott - Alto and soprano saxophones
  • Scott Page - Tenor saxophone
  • Carmine Appice - Drums
  • Patrick Leonard - Synthesizers
  • Bill Payne - Hammond organ
  • Michael Landau - Guitar
  • John Halliwell - Saxophone
  • Darlene Koldenhaven, Carmen Twillie, Phyllis St. James, Donnie Gerrard - Backing vocals

Sales certifications (USA)

The R.I.A.A. have certified the album:

  • Gold and Platinum (in November 1987)
  • Double Platinum (in January 1988)
  • Triple Platinum (in February 1992)
  • Quadruple Platinum (in August 2001)


  • "Learning to Fly (edit)"/"Terminal Frost" - Columbia 38-07363; released September 15, 1987
  • "On the Turning Away"/"Run Like Hell (Live)" - Columbia 38-07660; released November 24, 1987
  • "One Slip" / "Terminal Frost"; June 1988


"On the Momentary Lapse of Reason album, Nick's belief in himself was pretty well gone, and Rick's belief in himself was totally gone. And they weren't up to making a record, to be quite honest about it [...] Roger's very good at belittling people, and I think over the years he managed to convince Rick completely that he was useless and more or less convinced Nick of the same thing." – David Gilmour - Rock Compact Disc magazine, September 1992

"I must say, that under the circumstances, it's a superb title for a so-called Pink Floyd record." – Roger Waters - Penthouse Magazine, September 1988

Release of the LP

A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was released on the same day in the UK as the LPs Bad by Michael Jackson and Actually by The Pet Shop Boys, both of which topped it at the first and second positions in the following week's album charts. It debuted at No. 3 and never rose any higher.

The album also reached No. 3 in the United States as Bad and Whitesnake's self-titled effort occupied the top two spots.

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