Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on taking over for Roger Waters: ‘Not a burden I was particularly relishing’

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David Gilmour admits that assuming leadership of Pink Floyd in 1985, upon the acrimonious departure of Roger Waters, was “not a burden I was particularly relishing lifting up and toting, but it’s worked out extremely well for us, really.”

Gilmour, in a newly posted talk with the BBC, says he wasn’t surprised. After all, Pink Floyd had already shown an ability to withstand a similarly uncertain transition after co-founder Syd Barrett’s late-1960s exit.

“When Syd went, it became a completely different thing,” Gilmour says, “because it was very obvious to all of us that our strengths without Syd were a completely different thing. Roger, more than anyone, took up the reins and honed up his lyrical skills over a few years until they were really at peak form during the Dark Side of the Moon / Wish You Were Here era, and The Wall.

Over time, however, many came to see Roger Waters as synonymous with Pink Floyd, as if the others were mere sidemen. In fact, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Richard Wright played critical roles in the best moments on that legendary trio of ’70s albums — something that stood them in good stead upon the split with Waters in the decade to follow.

“The perceptions about what goes on, and who has done what, are all a bit misty,” Gilmour adds. “And then he up and left, to do what he wanted to do, which was to not to be stuck in a band where other people were insisting on some sort of hint of democratic process. He went on, quite reasonably, to do his own thing, where he could control everything that he was doing and be in absolute command — which left me in charge.”

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