David Gilmour, “Out of the Blue” from About Face (1984): On Second Thought

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A David Gilmour track that was said to have been at the demo stage in the run up to 1983’s The Final Cut, only to be discarded (along with “Murder,” “Near the End” and some other odds and ends), the smartly episodic “Out of the Blue” would have done much to smooth out the essentially didactic nature of Roger Waters’ finale with Pink Floyd.

Instead, that uneven album was completed with leftovers from The Wall project, leaving Gilmour with no compositional credits — and the future of Pink Floyd very much in doubt. David Gilmour would next gather with an ace studio band that included drummer Jeff Porcaro, bassist Pino Palladino, and guests that included Pete Townshend, Jon Lord, Steve Winwood and Pink Floyd orchestrator Michael Kamen.

The similarly uneven About Face — released on March 27, 1984 — was born. It suffered from the era’s mechanized production sensibility (in particular on the dance-y “Blue Light” and “Murder”), but songs like “Out of the Blue” transcended those of-the-moment missteps. Beginning as a diaphanous, quietly English meditation on the suddenness of our fates, Gilmour fills the middle pf “Out of the Blue” with a thunderous bit of rage, before settling into a perfectly conceived, open-ended conclusion.

This is the song David Gilmour was trying for again — but not quite reaching — with “On the Turning Away,” from Pink Floyd’s subsequent Waters-less return, 1987’s Momentary Lapse of Reason. Combine “Out of the Blue” with the best of what Roger Waters created for The Final Cut, and you might have had the next great Pink Floyd album.

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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