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David Gilmour

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David Jon Gilmour, CBE (born March 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England) is a guitarist and vocalist with rock band Pink Floyd. Following the departure of Roger Waters in the mid-1980s, Gilmour effectively assumed control of the band.

David Gilmour 1

David Gilmour

Early Life

Gilmour was born and grew up in the affluent Grantchester Meadows area of Cambridge. His father, Douglas, was a senior lecturer in zoology at Cambridge University and his mother, Sylvia, was a teacher.

Gilmour attended The Perse School on Hills Road, Cambridge, and later met Syd Barrett while taking modern languages A-Levels at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology, where they spent their lunchtimes learning to play the guitar. They were not, however, bandmates, and Gilmour started playing in the band Joker's Wild in 1963. Gilmour left Joker's Wild in 1966 and formed a new band with some of its members. This band, firstly named Bullitt, later changing their name to Flowers, spent the rest of 1966 and most of 1967 playing Jimi Hendrix covers in Spain and France, before disbanding later that year.

Pink Floyd

Gilmour was asked to join Pink Floyd in January of 1968 making Pink Floyd briefly a five piece. The five piece lineup lasted for five performances before Barrett "left" the group only months later and Gilmour by default assumed the role of the band's lead guitarist and shared lead vocal duties with Roger Waters and Rick Wright. Gilmour's guitar playing and song writing became major factors of Pink Floyd's world-wide success during the 1970s. However, after the back to back successes of first The Dark Side Of The Moon and then Wish You Were Here, Waters took more and more control over the band, writing most of The Wall by himself. The relationship between the two would deteriorate during the making of The Wall film and the 1983 Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.

In 1986 he purchased the houseboat the Astoria, and transformed it into a recording studio. The majority of the two most recent Pink Floyd albums were recorded on the boat. It is currently moored on the River Thames.

In 1985, Waters declared that "as far as he was concerned Pink Floyd was over". However in 1986, the rest of Pink Floyd issued a press release saying that Waters had quit and the band intended on continuing without Waters. It was also at this time that Gilmour assumed full control and created A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Later, they would go on to create The Division Bell as well. Gilmour explained:

"I had a number of problems with the direction of the band in our recent past, before Roger left. I thought the songs were very wordy and that, because the specific meanings of those words were so important, the music became a mere vehicle for lyrics, and not a very inspiring one... The Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here were so successful not just because of Roger's contributions, but also because there was a better balance between the music and the lyrics than there has been in more recent albums. That's what I'm trying to do with A Momentary Lapse of Reason; more focus on the music, restore the balance."

On July 2, 2005, Gilmour played with Pink Floyd — including Roger Waters — at Live 8. The performance caused a temporary 1,343 percent sales increase of Pink Floyd's album Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd. As a result, Gilmour vowed to donate all of his resulting profits to charities that reflect the goals of Live 8 saying:

"Though the main objective has been to raise consciousness and put pressure on the G8 leaders, I will not profit from the concert. This is money that should be used to save lives."

Shortly after, he also called upon all artists experiencing a surge in sales from Live 8 performances to donate the extra revenue to Live 8 fundraising.

On February 3, 2006, he announced in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Pink Floyd would most likely never tour or write material together again. He said:

"I think enough is enough. I am 60 years old. I don’t have the will to work as much anymore. Pink Floyd was an important part in my life, I have had a wonderful time, but it’s over. For me it’s much less complicated to work alone."

He said that by agreeing to Live 8, he had ensured the story of Floyd would not end on a sour note.

"There was more than one reason, firstly to support the cause. The second one is the energy consuming an uncomfortable relationship between Roger and me that I was carrying along in my heart. That is why we wanted to perform and to leave the trash behind. Thirdly I might have regretted it if I declined"

On February 20, 2006, Gilmour changed his stance on Pink Floyd's future when interviewed by Billboard.com stating "Who knows? I have no plans at all to do that. My plans are to do my concerts and put my [solo] record out." The tone of that statement seems to imply that either he has not ruled out any more one-off gigs or a farewell concert.

Other Projects

Gilmour released his first solo album David Gilmour in the spring of 1978. One of the tunes he wrote at the time, but did not use, was developed to become the Pink Floyd classic "Comfortably Numb". Gilmour released his second solo album, About Face, in 1984.

He recorded a contribution to an "all-star" version of the Buzzcocks' Ever Fallen in Love with Someone You Shouldn't Have?, in memory of John Peel, released in November 2005. Also in November 2005, he spoke at the inauguration of Pink Floyd into the UK Music Hall of Fame.

During Pink Floyd's quiet spells, he has amused himself as a session musician, producer and even concert sound engineer, for a wide variety of acts including some pseudonymous novelty releases, former bandmate Syd Barrett, Roy Harper, Kate Bush (whose career Gilmour was instrumental in launching), The Dream Academy (another artist whose early history Gilmour was pivotal in), Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Elton John, Arcadia, Bryan Ferry, Berlin, Robert Wyatt, Hawkwind, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Sam Brown, Jools Holland, Propaganda, Pete Townshend, The Who, Supertramp, Warren Zevon, Alan Parsons, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company fame, various charity "supergroups" and many more.

In 2002, he held a small number of acoustic solo concerts in London and Paris, along with a small band and choir, which has been documented on the In Concert release.

David Gilmour 2

David Gilmour at Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2006

His third solo album, On An Island, was released on March 6, 2006. Produced by Gilmour with Phil Manzanera and Chris Thomas, the album features orchestrations by renowned Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner. The album features David Crosby and Graham Nash on harmonies, Robert Wyatt on cornet and percussion and Rick Wright on Hammond organ and vocals. Other contributors include Jools Holland, Phil Manzanera, Geordie Fame, Robert Wyatt, Andy Newmark, B. J. Cole, Chris Stainton, Willie Wilson, Rado ‘Bob’ Klose on guitar and Leszek Możdżer on piano. The album also features Gilmour's debut on saxophone.

Of the album’s 10 tracks, all music is written by Gilmour, with most lyrics by wife Polly Samson (they collaborated on lyrics on two songs, while Samson wrote the lyrics to another four), while three tracks are purely instrumental.

David Gilmour toured Europe, the U.S. and Canada from March 10 to May 31 to promote On An Island. There were 10 shows total in the U.S. and Canadian leg of the tour. Pink Floyd alumnus Rick Wright, and frequent Floyd collaborators Dick Parry, Guy Pratt and Jon Carin have accompanied him on the tour. There will be further shows in July and August of 2006 in Europe.

In a press release to promote the tour, David Gilmour stated "I'm rather hoping that with this tour announcement people will believe me when I say, honestly, this is the only band I plan to tour with!".

On An Island has confirmed Gilmour's lasting popularity by entering the UK charts at #1. It has also provided Gilmour with his first U.S. Top 10 album, reaching #6. The album was also certified platinum in Canada on April 10, 2006, with sales of over 100,000 copies.

Musical Style

Gilmour is especially renowned for a very precise, "bendy" kind of soloing, as well as various "violin-type" sounds. His solos are noted for being well-composed and constructed, with very little waste of notes. In interviews, Gilmour has explained that what he sees as his lack of technique led him to concentrate on melody over virtuosity, and the enduring appeal of his solos is that that they are usually expressive tunes rather than technical exercises. To this end, he has also been an innovator in the use of guitar sound effects.

Although mainly known for his guitar work, Gilmour can also play bass guitar (which he did on numerous Floyd tracks, including "One of These Days", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Pigs (Three Different Ones)", "Sheep" and "Hey You"), drums, keyboards, and lately, the saxophone. In fact, on the compilation album A Collection of Great Dance Songs, Gilmour had to re-record the song "Money" due to licensing problems, and played all instruments himself (except for saxophone).

Recently, David Gilmour was voted the greatest Fender guitar player of all time by readers of Guitarist Magazine, beating Jimi Hendrix. He was also voted #82 on Rolling Stone Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." and Comfortably Numb's solo ranked #4 on Guitar World magazine's "100 Greatest Guitar Solos."

In 1996 Gilmour was inducted into the [[[Wikipedia:Rock and Roll Hall of Fame|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]] as a member of Pink Floyd.

Family Life

Gilmour has four children from his first marriage, to Ginger; Alice (b.1976), Clare (b.1979), Sara (b.1983) and Matthew (b.1985). They originally attended a Waldorf School, but Gilmour called their education there "horrific". He has four children from his second marriage and has adopted the first-born, Charlie, of his second wife, the writer Polly Samson. The other three are named Joe, Gabriel and Romany.

Philanthropy

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David Gilmour, AD in November 2003

In May 2003, Gilmour sold one of his London houses to Earl Spencer (brother of Lady Diana) and contributed the $5.9 million he made to a housing project for the homeless. Gilmour's choice of charities he has lent support to were Greenpeace, Amnesty International, The Lung Foundation, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, Crisis and — at the behest of his friend Paul McCartney — PETA.

In November 2003, he was made a CBE, for philanthropy and for services to music.

Other Interests

A passionate football fan, Gilmour supports London club Arsenal F.C.

Gilmour is also an experienced pilot. Under the guise of his company, Intrepid Aviation, he had amassed an impressive collection of historical aircraft. He decided to sell Intrepid, for the following reason (taken from a BBC radio interview in 2002):

"Intrepid Aviation was a way for me to make my hobby pay for itself a little bit, but gradually over a few years Intrepid Aviation became a business because you have to be businesslike about it. Suddenly I found instead of it being a hobby and me enjoying myself, it was a business and so I sold it. I don't have Intrepid Aviation any more. I just have a nice old biplane that I pop up, wander around the skies in sometimes..."

Name Preference

Though generally polite, friendly and easygoing, David Gilmour is annoyed when reporters address him as "Dave". He claims never to have used that nickname, preferring his given name, David. However, the three other members of Pink Floyd have often referred to him as "Dave" when giving their own interviews.

Main Musical Equiptment

The following is a list of equipment David either has used on his solo or Pink Floyd recordings, as well as on current or previous tours.

Guitars

Amplifiers

Effect Pedals

  • BK Butler Tube Driver
  • TC Electronic 2290 Digital Delay
  • Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer
  • MXR Dyna-Comp(Pre Dunlop)
  • Ibanez Compression
  • Boss EQ Pedal
  • Rat Distortion
  • Boss HM2 Heavy Metal Distortion
  • Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face
  • MXR Phaser
  • Uni-Vox Univibe
  • Dunlop Cry Baby Wah-wah pedal
  • Binson Echorec
  • Sovtek Big Muff
  • Digitech IPS 33B (Used for Whammy effects)
  • Ibanez Tube Screamer
  • Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
  • Pete Cornish Pedal Boards and Custom effects
  • Pete Cornish wireless systems (used in Pink Floyd shows from 1980 to 1994 and on 1984 solo tours)

Solo Discography

Albums

  • David Gilmour (1978) UK #17; U.S. #29
  • About Face (1984) UK #21; U.S. #32
  • On an Island (2006) UK #1, U.S. #6

Hit Singles

  • 2006 "On an Island" UK #72
  • 2006 "Smile" UK #72

Filmography

  • David Gilmour Live 1984 (1984)
  • David Gilmour in Concert (2002)

Collaborations And Guitar Solos Performed For Other Artists

  • Wings, "Rockestra Theme" and "So Glad to See You Here", album Back to the Egg', 1979
  • Paul McCartney, "No More Lonely Nights (Ballad)", album Give My Regards to Broad Street, 1984
  • Supertramp, "Brother Where You Bound", album Brother Where You Bound, 1985
  • Bryan Ferry, "Is Your Love Strong Enough?", album Legend‎ by Tangerine Dream, 1985
  • Mason + Fenn, "Lie for a Lie" (vocal), album Profiles‎, 1985
  • Kate Bush, "Love and Anger" and "Rocket's Tail", album The Sensual World, 1989
  • Paul McCartney, "We Got Married", album Flowers in the Dirt, 1989
  • Rock Aid Armenia, "Smoke On The Water", album The Earthquake Album, 1989
  • The Who, Quadrophenia (1996 Hyde Park concert)
  • Paul McCartney, album Run Devil Run, 1999
  • Alan Parsons, "Return to Tunguska", album A Valid Path, 2004 .

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