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Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge
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David Jon Gilmour, CBE (born 6 March 1946) is an English musician and multi-instrumentalist, who is the guitarist, lead singer and songwriter of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It is estimated that as of 2010, the group have sold over 250 million records worldwide, including 74.5 million units sold in the United States.
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David Jon Gilmour CBE was born in Cambridge, England on March 6, 1946. His father, Douglas Gilmour, was a senior lecturer in zoology at the University of Cambridge and his mother, Sylvia (nee Wilson), was a teacher and film editor.
Gilmour attended The Perse School on Hills Road, Cambridge, and met future Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist Syd Barrett who attended Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, also situated on Hills Road. He studied modern languages to A-Level, and along with Syd, spent his lunchtime learning to play the guitar. They were not yet bandmates however, and Gilmour started playing in the band Joker’s Wild in 1963. Gilmour left Joker’s Wild in 1966 and busked around Spain and France with some friends. However, they were not very successful, living virtually a hand-to-mouth existence. In July 1992, Gilmour stated in an interview with Nicky Horne on BBC radio that he ended up being treated for malnutrition in a hospital. In 1967, they returned to England, driving a van with fuel stolen from a building site in France.
Gilmour was approached in December 1967 by drummer Nick Mason, who asked Gilmour if he would be interested in joining Pink Floyd, which he did in January 1968, making Pink Floyd briefly a five-piece band. He was used to fill in for Barrett’s guitar parts when the front man was unable to take a consistent part in Floyd’s live performances. When Syd Barrett “left” the group (the band chose not to pick him up one night for a gig due to his erratic behaviour), Gilmour by default assumed the role of the band’s lead guitarist and shared lead vocal duties with Roger Waters and Richard Wright in Barrett’s stead. However, after the back-to-back successes of Dark Side of the Moon and then Wish You Were Here, Waters took more control over the band, writing most of Animals and The Wall by himself. Wright was fired during The Wall sessions and the relationship between Gilmour and Waters would further deteriorate during the making of The Wall film and the 1983 Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.
After recording “Animals”, Gilmour thought that his musical influence had been underutilized, and channeled his ideas into his self-titled first solo album (1978), which showcases his signature guitar style, as well as underscoring his songwriting skills. A tune written during the finishing stages of this album, but too late to be used, became “Comfortably Numb” on “The Wall”. The negative atmosphere surrounding the creation of “The Wall” album and film, compounded by “The Final Cut’s virtually being a Roger Waters solo album,” led Gilmour to produce a second solo album, About Face (1984) to lukewarm praise. The “About Face” tour suffered from weak ticket sales; a similar dilemma confronted by Waters, whose The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (1984) lifted in critical opinion only by the presence of Eric Clapton on the record and the subsequent tour, though it was frequently noted that Clapton’s sound was distinctly Gilmour.
In 1985, Waters declared that Pink Floyd was “A spent force creatively “. However, in 1986, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason issued a press release stating that Waters had quit the band and they intended to continue on without Waters. Gilmour assumed full control of the group and produced A Momentary Lapse of Reason in 1987 with some contributions from Mason and Rick Wright. Wright officially rejoined the band for a lengthy world tour and helped create 1994’s The Division Bell as well. Gilmour explained:
“ I had a number of problems with the direction of the band in our recent past, before Roger left. I thought the songs were very wordy and that, because the specific meanings of those words were so important, the music became a mere vehicle for lyrics, and not a very inspiring one. .. Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here were so successful not just because of Roger’s contributions, but also because there was a better balance between the music and the lyrics than there has been in more recent albums. That’s what I’m trying to do with A Momentary Lapse of Reason; more focus on the music, restore the balance. ”
In 1986, Gilmour purchased the houseboat Astoria which is moored on the River Thames near Hampton Court, and transformed it into a recording studio. The majority of the two most recent Pink Floyd albums, as well as Gilmour’s 2006 solo release On An Island were recorded there.
On July 2, 2005, Gilmour played with Pink Floyd — including Roger Waters — at Live 8. The performance caused a temporary 1343% sales increase of Pink Floyd’s album Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd. As a result, Gilmour vowed to donate all of his resulting profits to charities that reflect the goals of Live 8 saying:
“Though the main objective has been to raise consciousness and
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The Perse School, Hills Road (Cambridge)
Cambridge College of Arts and Technology
Full Name at Birth
David Jon Gilmour
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