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David Gilmour
David Gilmour will forever be known as one of the men behind Pink Floyd, possibly the most influential act in rock music history. He remains a towering figure in rock: a master song craftsman and guitar hero whose influence has never waned. On an Island is Gilmour's first solo album in 22 years and only the third of his career. We at The Record were surprised with this sudden release, but pleased that it gave us a reason to write home about. We’ll give you our take on it…but first a look back at what made Gilmour and his music unique and groundbreaking for it’s time.

David Gilmour and Pink Floyd
As a leading player in the rock world, Pink Floyd became a mythical band whose stage presence and vocal style were often imitated, although rarely with the same results. They started out as a band much different from the one that people associate their concept albums with. Although the band formed in 1965, David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd in 1968 after he already had established a reputation as a guitarist and vocalist in the group The Jokers Wild. He was brought on board to support his childhood friend, the ailing Syd Barrett, following a disastrous abridged tour of the US. Gilmour would play Barrett’s guitar parts, while Barrett was supposed to be off stage to write songs for the band, but instead he would do nothing in particular. The other band members soon tired of Barrett's presence altogether and it was officially announced that Barrett was no longer a member of Pink Floyd.

Gilmour, Waters and Wright each contributed new material that eventually became the second album A Saucerful Of Secrets, which was their attempt to forge a new identity. In early 1969 Pink Floyd was invited to compose a full-length musical soundtrack for a movie and they jumped at the chance. Ummagumma marked their fourth album and their first double album. The first half was devoted to live material from their current tour. 1970's Atom Heart Mother became their first recording with a full-blown orchestra, and gave the band its first #1 record.

On An Island ~ The New Album:
Given the fact that he's always taken his time to come up with the goods, it's not surprising that David Gilmour would take more than two decades between solo albums. On An Island is his first solo album in 22 years and the third of his career since 1984. The ten tracks are a collection of songs and instrumentals as timeless and distinctive as anything Pink Floyd has ever done. Collaborating with songwriter/guitarist Phil Manzanera (yes THE Manzanera of Roxy Music) and veteran producer Chris Thomas, recording sessions for this new album began in his home studio, on his houseboat studio Astoria, and at the world famous Abbey Road studios. On An Island also features rock legends David Crosby and Graham Nash in the track listing, and even Floyd’s very own Richard Wright on the organ. There are a number of great moments here, Then I Close My Eyes, is the records Us And Them, and the first single (the albums title track), is already a hit worldwide. As of writing this, it debuted at #1 on the UK Charts, and the album is predicted to top the US charts as well. Gilmour may no longer be the 27 year old that recorded The Dark Side Of The Moon, but On An Island reaffirms that at 60, his talents as a singer and performer are still undeniable.

It’s been more than two decades since your last solo effort. Why now?
Gilmour: In the last couple of years it felt it was time to start again and start working on a new album. It must been about a year ago that I started sorting through stuff with Phil Manzanera….

What’s the new album all about?
Gilmour: It felt to me that this album should be me and not Pink Floyd this time. One hesitates to say it, but it certainly is in that Pink Floyd sort of area...sound wise. I do really think it is about as good a piece of work as I have ever done. It feels very different...I think its good stuff. I do not make music for other people. I make it to please myself.

You’ve got a lot of big names turning up with you on track listing.
Gilmour: It's nice to have your friends playing on these things. (Laughs) We’ve got all sorts of people playing...we've got David Crosby and Graham Nash on one track, we got Robert Wyatt whose cornet playing is as moving as his singing. I'm so pleased to have him on the album. (Laughs again)

Your wife Polly gets credit with writing a bunch of songs on the album….
Gilmour: It's fantastic to have your life partner your writing partner too. I think as a published novelist, she's every bit as qualified as anyone else. She worked with us on The Division Bell. And I like to keep things around me to my friends and colleagues that I’ve worked with.

After the Live 8 performance last year, fans were hopeful that Pink Floyd would get back together in the studio. Any chance of that happening in the near future?
Gilmour: Live 8 was a great thing but it was about closure. Roger and I had a lot of bitterness and anger over the years, and this was the first time that he had seemed to be wanting to put some of that behind him. And getting rid of anger and hatred is a good thing to do. I also thought that if I did not do it, I would regret it. So there are a lot of reasons for doing it, and I did thoroughly enjoy doing it.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with David Gilmour in the March 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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