Sound architect David Gilmour turns 75


On the stage he sometimes seems a bit indifferent, almost disinterested. But that is deceptive. When David Gilmour takes on the strings, it still gives his fans goose bumps. The British guitarist and singer made music history with Pink Floyd. In the meantime, however, he no longer feels like talking about his legendary band. For Gilmour, who will turn 75 on March 6th, music has long been just a hobby.

“You can give him a ukulele and he makes it sound like a Stradivari violin,” enthused “The Wall” producer Bob Ezrin of David Gilmour. Around the world he is revered by guitarists and those who would like to be. He himself remained humble. “There are guitarists who are technically superior to me,” he once said in an interview. “You might find a couple of them on the London Underground.” That is probably British understatement.

In 1967 David Jon Gilmour, who was born in Cambridge on March 6, 1946, joined Pink Floyd. In the group that played experimental, psychedelic rock at the time, he soon replaced founding member Syd Barrett. He left the band because of serious health problems, the result of excessive drug use.

In the 1970s Pink Floyd established itself with four ingenious concept albums – “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973), “Wish You Were Here” (1975), “Animals” (1977) and “The Wall” (1979) – not only as the leading force in progressive rock, but have become one of the most influential groups in music history. “The Dark Side Of The Moon” has sold almost 50 million copies worldwide, “The Wall” with the famous catchy single “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” has sold more than 30 million times.

The highlight on “The Wall” is the six and a half minute “Comfortably Numb”. Gilmour wrote the music, sang the chorus and refined the epic with two dreamy guitar solos for eternity. The song can be found regularly in the best lists of renowned music magazines and surveys among music lovers. In 2003 “Rolling Stone” listed him at number 314 of the “500 greatest songs of all time”.

“I knocked out five or six solos,” Gilmour recalled in Guitar World magazine. “Then I proceeded as usual. I listen to each solo again and make a table in which I note which parts are good. I use the table to create a large, composite solo until it all comes together.”

Gilmour demonstrated an excellent musical flair not only as the sound architect of Pink Floyd. In the middle of the 70s he got a cassette with demos of the young Kate Bush and saw the potential. He financed the teenage girl’s professional recordings and helped Bush get her first record deal.

Behind the scenes at Pink Floyd, things began to simmer. Roger Waters, with whom Gilmour constantly clashed, dropped out in 1985. Under Gilmour’s leadership, the band continued until the mid-1990s. After that there was only one appearance together. In 2005 Pink Floyd played – with Waters – a handful of songs at the “Live 8” festival. To the chagrin of their fans, the musicians rejected a multi-million dollar reunion tour. From remnants of old recording sessions, the album “The Endless River” was created in 2014 – according to Gilmour the final work of the band.

It annoys him that he is repeatedly asked about Pink Floyd. “It makes me sick!” He complained in the “Focus”. “After all, I’ve been asked every possible question about the band, and not just once. It’s always the same and terribly boring in the long run.” Besides, he doesn’t want to live in the past.

Nevertheless, on Gilmour’s fourth and so far last solo album “Rattle That Lock” (2016) it was hard to ignore the fact that the former Pink Floyd mastermind plays and sings here. His unmistakable, typical guitar sounds and spacious soundscapes can be heard between jazz and relaxed folk.

When he’s not making music, David Gilmour has been involved in charity for decades. In 2003 he sold his house in London and donated the multi-million pound proceeds to a foundation to fund a housing project for the homeless. Two years ago he auctioned a total of 120 guitars for a good cause.

The family is his top priority today. His first marriage to the US model Virginia Hasenbein had four children. With his second wife, the author Polly Samson, he has three other children and an adopted son. Samson presents videos under the title “Von Trapped Family” at irregular intervals on Youtube, in which her husband and several family members participate.

With his youngest daughter Romany, who was born in 2002, David Gilmour released a new song last year, the folky duet “Yes, I Have Ghosts”. The video clip shows Gilmour on the sunny Greek island of Hydra. Instead of a long mane, the musician now has thin gray hair. In the video he is wearing a hat. The voice has also become a little thinner. The supposedly indifferent facial expression has remained.

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Sound architect David Gilmour turns


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