Half Notes: David Gilmour – David Gilmour (1978)

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Maybe because it’s the first Pink Floyd-related solo album I ever bought, but also because it came between two Roger Waters-heavy releases (Animals and then The Wall), this has always been a sleeper favorite for me. It’s a loose record, with some interesting instrumentals, never didactic — and anything but a knockoff of what the larger band was doing (like, say, the Gilmour-led Floyd album Momentary Lapse of Reason). Lastly, it’s the biggest throwback of David Gilmour’s career. See, the main band here was a reunion of Bullitt, an early Gilmour group that included drummer Willie Wilson and bassist Rick Wills. (They later were sessions musicians on The Wall tour.) They made the album at Superbear Studios in France, where Floyd worked on the next year’s release, The Wall. There are other connections. Gilmour came up with the riff for “Comfortably Numb” there, but the others had left — so Gilmour saved it for the next official Floyd release. David Gilmour also includes a song co-written by Roy Harper, who sang lead on “Have A Cigar” from the Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here. Finally, longtime visual collaborator Storm Thorgerson (this time, going minimalist) provided the cover photo.

Gilmour’s self-titled solo debut made it to No. 29; its most successful radio track was “There’s No Way Out of Here.” The record also includes three other tunes I consider essential for big Floyd fans: “So Far Away,” a somber and sweet Gilmour vocal showcase (rare at the time), the driving “Short and Sweet” and the closer — “I Can’t Breathe Anymore,” which out-Roger Waters itself with a simple reading on isolation, then tops that off with a soaring guitar solo to finish the album.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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