David Gilmour's Arrival Transforms Pink Floyd

David Gilmour’s Arrival Transforms Pink Floyd

David Gilmouris added to the pink floyd programming in February 1968 had been a gradual – then very rapid – process.

Singer Syd Barrette and Gilmour were hardly strangers. Gilmour met Barrett as well as the future band member Roger Waters, at the age of 11 while growing up in Cambridge, England. Gilmour and Barrett attended Persia School, while Waters had been at Cambridgeshire High School for Boys since he was three and a half years their senior.

Barrett and Gilmour went on to Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, where they played guitar together and even performed in France and Spain, playing Beatles songs for passers-by. They then created separate bands – Barrett with Pink Floyd, Gilmour with Jokers Wild – but remained friendly.

Gilmour was even present during the recording of Pink Floyd’s second single “See Emily Play,” where Barrett, surprisingly, didn’t recognize him. It was near the onset of mental health issues that were exacerbated by drug use.

Barrett became increasingly erratic and disengaged, leading to several canceled shows during the 1967 performances. Waters in particular began campaigning for his ousting. As a workaround, drummer Nick Mason contacted Gilmour, who had also spent time working as a male model. “They just said if I wanted to? And I said yes and it was as simple as that,” Gilmour later told Pink Floyd biographer Nicholas Schaffner.

It was around Christmas 1967. Pink Floyd held their first rehearsal with Gilmour on January 8, 1968, and they made their first stage appearance four days later at Aston University in Cambridge. The set included “Set the Heart of the Sun Commands”, “Interstellar Overdrive”, and “Flaming”.

This short-lived five-track edition of Pink Floyd played several more shows that month, although Barrett did not make a Jan. 26 appearance at the University of Southampton after the others decided not to even make it. take for the concert. “He was our friend, but most of the time now we wanted to strangle him,” Waters told biographer Mark Blake.

Watch David Gilmour perform “Corporal Clegg” with Pink Floyd in 1968

On February 1, the group resumed work on A saucer of secrets, which they had started the previous May. Barrett appeared on only three completed tracks – including “Jugband Blues, his only composition on the album. Gilmour co-wrote the title track and shared lead vocals on two other songs, “Let There Be More Light” and “Corporal Clegg”.

Pink Floyd embarked on a five-date tour of Belgium and the Netherlands on February 17, which included television appearances on RTB in Brussels and ORTV in Paris, the latter for the music show Bouton Rouge which included previews of the new tracks “Let There Be Lighter” and “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”. Keyboardist Richard Wright also covered lead vocals on “Astronomy Domine”.

The hope was that the quartet would handle live performances, while Barrett would continue to write and record in the studio – much like a similar arrangement on beach boys had with Brian Wilson. Still, all parties seemed to know where things were going.

“I don’t think anyone really thought it would work,” Wright told this writer during Pink Floyd’s 1994 tour to support The dividing bell. Barrett “was gone. He couldn’t really function, at least in a group environment. We said [he’d continue]but we knew what was going to happen – and it happened, pretty quickly.”

Pink Floyd and Barrett hit it off in March and his departure was announced on April 6. Barrett went on to record two solo studio albums with the aids of Gilmour and Waters. He played appeared a few times alone before becoming reclusive in the 1970s. He died on 7 July 2006 in Cambridge aged 60.

Gilmour, of course, played a key role in Pink Floyd’s rise to stardom, second only to Waters as the band’s main creative force. He took over after Waters’ angry departure in 1985, guiding Pink Floyd through three more studio albums (also including A momentary failure of reason And The endless river) and a pair of successful world tours before focusing on his solo career.

The Post-Barrett Quartet reunited for Live 8 in 2005, but Gilmour and Waters remained controversial – both in business and personally. Late-period Pink Floyd lyricist Polly Samson, who is also Gilmour’s wife, described Waters in 2023 as an anti-Semite, an apologist for Russia, “and a liar, thief, hypocrite, tax avoider, lip-syncing, misogynistic, megalomaniac sick with envy“Gilmour echoes his commentscalling “every word manifestly true”.

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