Posts Tagged ‘Dave Gilmour’

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The legendary Pink Floyd concert at the First International Pop Festival in Rome in May 1968. This well recorded performance captures Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason in their very early Post-Barrett era; the time when the band was busy trying to reinvent themselves after the crucial split with genius Syd Barrett. This was even before the release of their second album, when Waters and Co. really began to extend the classic three / four minute song format towards longer and more open sound forms. A marvelous track list including seminal compositions and psychedelic manifestos such as Astronomy Domine, Set The Control for the Heart of the Sun andInterstellar Overdrive all great sparks for visionary instrumental progressions and far out improvisations. The album ends with an excerpt of Roger Water’s voice from a radio interview broadcast.

Side A:
1. Astronomy Domine
2. Interstellar Overdrive
Side B:
1. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
2. Roger Waters Interview

LP – Limited Edition of 500 Copies on Green Vinyl.

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Pink Floyd released Animals on 23rd January 1977. Although it was the seminal band’s tenth studio album, it remains one of their most famous for its Orwellian socio-political critique, an iconic cover and early prog inclinations.

Animals also marked the beginnings of dissent within the band over a chief songwriter. Three years after it’s release keyboardist Richard Wright would leave the band and The Wall would be hit shelves, casting a gargantuan shadow across the humble forerunner. Steeped in woeful political distaste and harder rock breakdowns, Animals rates as highly as Pink Floyd’s most well-known albums for more intrepid fans, but it’s recording process was one of the shakiest they ever accomplished. Here’s five things you didn’t know about the birthday record and it’s mascot, Algie the pig.

Animals is a concept album, based on the flaws of capitalism. Various castes in society are represented as different types of animals (Dogs as the businessmen, sheep as the powerless pawns, and pigs as the ruthless leaders). Although this album mainly attacks capitalism, several components are similar to George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”: In the book various animals (mainly pigs, sheep, dogs, etc.) represent different roles assumed by individuals in a communist society.

A bracing reinvention of the Orwell theme from ‘Animal Farm,’ ‘Animals’ found Pink Floyd pushing back – and hard – against the looming, punk-driven idea that they had grown soft into middle age. At the time, this searing commentary on societal decay in the late-’70s couldn’t have seemed more different from its predecessors. Today, it’s clear that ‘Animals’ represents the first stirrings of Waters‘ more political bent (one that would dominate his recordings past his association with the group he co-founded), even as it finds Richard Wright making his last important contributions of the Waters era.

Behind Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall towers Animals, as the third iconic Pink Floyd record but feels more important than ever. Oddly the cover’s concept was conceived by Roger Waters himself. This being said, Floyd approached long time collaborators Hipgnosis to make the final product happen.

While Hipgnosis were originally approached by Floyd in 1968 to design the artwork for their second album A Saucerful of Secrets, it was the album cover for Dark Side of The Moon in 1973 which shot the design group to international fame. Hipgnosis’ surreal photographic style used old school film manipulation techniques such as multiple exposures, mechanical cut-and-pasting and general darkroom wizardry, which served as a precursor to modern, digital forms of photo manipulation. Manual photoshop, if you will.

Animals’ best track “Dogs” delivers even more incredible guitar work from Dave Gilmour, who makes his instrument cry and cackle, moan and mock, surge and slice. But this 17-minute leviathan is a brilliant collaboration between Floyd’s members – not just co-writers Waters and Gilmour (who each sing lead for a while), but also Mason (who pounds and cracks his way through the song’s changing tempos) and Wright (who plays no less than five different keyboards to bring a variety of textures to the epic). As lyricist, Waters is in full-on deride mode, as he writes about Machiavellian menace, but the writing is so crisp and clever (“And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around”), the scoffing becomes sport.

The Pig, While Hipgnosis may have been a pioneer of collage techniques, there was no photo trickery involved in the cover of AnimalsFloyd commissioned German company Ballon Fabrik and Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw to collaborate on the construction of the 12 meter long piggy, which was manoeuvred into position on December 2nd 1966.

The pig has gone on to serve as a motif for political vitriol, English rock and everything Pink Floyd. It appeared in the backdrop of a shot in Alfonso Cuarón’s thriller Children of Men which imagines a dystopian England similar to Animals’ vision of the future . Danny Boyle made a more lighthearted reference to the porcine balloon in his short Isle of Wonder for London’s 2012 Olympics.

The Studio, Previously to 1975, Floyd had struck a deal with EMI which allowed them unlimited recording time in return for reduced earnings from sales. When this deal expired the band bought a three story block in North London and made it their own. Britannia Row Studios was largely comprised of church halls, and Animals was the first album recorded there after it’s renovation. Pink Floyd went on to record The Wall in the same location, the echoing school chorus of “Another Brick In The Wall” owing it’s sound to the towering studio.

While singer and guitarist David Gilmour is only credited for the music of one track, the epic “Dogs” (previously known as “You Gotta Be Crazy”), this song and “Raving and Drooling”, a Waters song which would later become “Sheep”, were created at the same time as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and originally destined for Wish You Were Here. Their creation process was similar to the method the band used during the late sixties and early seventies. They would adapt and expand their compositions by performing them live, and later in the studio find a more coherent form and concept for the whole album, with Waters writing the lyrics. Animals was the last Pink Floyd album created in this way, as the subsequent The Wall and The Final Cut, were primarily conceived by Waters and worked out in the studio with some input from Gilmour. Although Rick Wright admittedly did not contribute much compositionally, he had some influence on the arrangement of the songs, including solo playing on “Dogs” and “Sheep”. As with “Welcome to the Machine” and “Wish You Were Here” , Waters wrote “Pigs on the Wing” and “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” to tie together the other songs in the album’s concept. His dominance in the writing credits and the discrepancy with the actual creation process is directly related to the increasing tensions within the band.

Animals began to be formulated 20 years after George Orwell published the canonical Animal Farm, a political allegory of the Russian revolution and Stalinist era of the soviet union.

Pink Floyd’s album borrowed heavily from the ruleset of Orwell’s fable, and each song’s title represents an element, or animal, within the capitalist British regime of their time.

The album is bookended by parts one and two of Pigs on the Wing, a short intro and outro on a record otherwise dominated by immensely long jams. Dogs represents the businessmen, deceptive, vicious but ultimately lonely. The narrative within the lyrics tells of two dogs, one younger and one older, coming to realise the doomed reality of their own existence, while the young is encouraged to break the mould and dissent from his fate.

As with Animal Farm, Pigs (Three Different Ones) represents the flawed, gluttonous personalities which sit at the top of society’s ladder despite their horrific traits. The Sheep suffer under the power of pigs and dogs, mindlessly following suit with the herd around them. Parts 1 and 2 were linked by a guitar bridge performed by Snowy White (subsequently available on White’s 1996 album “Goldtop: Groups & Sessions”),

The anti-establishmentarian soul of Animals has never been as relevant as it is today. If you need some proof, here’s a video Roger Waters posted which depicts him playing Pigslive to 300,000 screaming fans in Mexico City:

For many fans, Animals represents the turning point at which Roger Waters took the reigns of Pink Floyd. The entire album save for Dogs, which was co-written by David Gilmour, was written by Waters.

Speaking to Mojo Magazine in 2008, Gilmour had the following to say.

Roger’s thing is to dominate, but I am happy to stand up for myself and argue vociferously as to the merits of different pieces of music, which is what I did on Animals. I didn’t feel remotely squeezed out of that album. Ninety per cent of the song “Dogs” was mine. That song was almost the whole of one side, so that’s half of Animals.”

Animals was almost a fully-realised artistic vision for Waters, but the control didn’t end there. When work on the album ceased, Waters pitched the concept of The Wall to his band mates, who were initially cautious but agreed to follow Waters once again.

In 1985 Waters left Pink Floyd, eventually calling them a “spent force” and splitting the band in their separate directions.

The giant, helium-filled pig seen on the cover was actually flown over Battersea Power Station for the photo shoot (under the direction of Storm Thorgerson). On the first day of shooting, a marksman was on hand in case the pig broke free. However, according to Thorgerson, this was considered an “insurance problem”, and he was not hired for the second day of shooting. Ironically, on December 3rd, 1976, during the second day, a gust of wind broke the pig free of its moorings. Because there was no one to shoot the pig down, it sailed away into the morning sky. A passenger plane reported seeing the pig, causing all the flights at London Heathrow Airport to be delayed. A police helicopter was sent up to track the pig, but was forced to return after following the pig to an altitude of 5,000 feet. A warning was sent out to pilots that a giant, flying pink pig was loose in the area. The CAA lost radar contact on the pig near Chatham in Kent, at a height of 18,000 feet and flying East. It finally landed in a farmer’s field, without much damage.

Roger Waters has revealed a failed attempt at civility with his former Pink Floyd bandmates over a reissues of the “Animals” album, He discussed the attempted peace meeting during a conversation with Rolling Stone. “I wrote out sort of a plan,” Waters explained, adding that both David Gilmour and Nick Mason were in the room for this conversation. “But my plan didn’t bear fruit.”

Waters also revealed that the discussion with Gilmour and Mason was focused on reissues. “[The conversation] was just can we release the remastered vinyl of Animals without it turning into the third World War?” he explained, referring to the 5.1 surround sound mix of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, which has been in the works for more than two years now. “I actually suggested going democratic,” Waters noted. “I said, ‘Why don’t we just have a vote? There’s only three of us. And then we can decide all those like that.’ And at least we can just get on. But they wouldn’t have that. They didn’t want it.”

Waters was recently forced to postpone his 2020 This is Not a Drill tour as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That hasn’t stopped the musician from continuing to plan and create. “I’m working on the tour every day,” he confessed, adding that he’s been writing a new song to fit in with the This is Not a Drill set list.

Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd. It was first released on 12th September 1975 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records.

It debuted at No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been tabbed by both Gilmour and Wright as their favourite Pink Floyd album. Still, ‘Wish You Were Here’ was no ‘Dark Side of the Moon’; it never could be. And that – as much as anything seems to have relegated this 1975 follow-up to a life of perpetual underrated status. It’s a pity. There isn’t a more conceptually concise Pink Floyd album, nor one as musically inviting. Even as Dave Gilmour and, in particular, Richard Wright pushed the work into deeper, more progressive musical themes, they helped fashion the last truly collaborative studio project between Roger Waters and his increasingly disgruntled bandmates.

Inspired by material the group composed while performing in Europe, During 1974, Pink Floyd sketched out three new compositions, “Raving and Drooling”, “You Gotta Be Crazy” and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. These songs were performed during a series of concerts in France and England, the band’s first tour since 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

The album was recorded in numerous sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London. Two of its songs criticise the music business, another expresses alienation, and the multi-part composition “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, who had left seven years earlier due to mental health problems. The band used studio effects and synthesizers, and brought in guest singers: Roy Harper, who provided the lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”, and Venetta Fields, who added backing vocals to “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”. After several weeks, Waters began to visualise another concept. The three new compositions from 1974’s tour were at least a starting point for a new album, and “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” seemed a reasonable choice as a centrepiece for the new work. Mostly an instrumental twenty-minute-plus piece similar to “Echoes”, the opening four-note guitar phrase reminded Waters of the lingering ghost of former band-member Syd Barrett. Gilmour had composed the phrase entirely by accident, but was encouraged by Waters‘ positive response. Waters wanted to split “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, and sandwich two new songs between its two halves.

The album begins with a long instrumental preamble and segues into the lyrics for “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, a tribute to Syd Barrett, whose mental breakdown had forced him to leave the group seven years earlier. Barrett is fondly recalled with lines such as “Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun” and “You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon”.

Wish You Were Here is also a critique of the music business. “Shine On” crosses seamlessly into “Welcome to the Machine”, a song that begins with an opening door (described by Waters as a symbol of musical discovery and progress betrayed by a music industry more interested in greed and success) and ends with a party, the latter epitomising “the lack of contact and real feelings between people”. Similarly, “Have a Cigar” scorns record industry “fat-cats” with the lyrics repeating a stream of cliches heard by rising new-comers in the industry, and including the question “by the way, which one’s Pink?” asked of the band on at least one occasion. The lyrics of the next song, “Wish You Were Here”, relate both to Barrett’s condition, and to the dichotomy of Waters’ character, with greed and ambition battling with compassion and idealism. The album closes with a reprise of “Shine On” and further instrumental excursions.

Wish You Were Here topped the charts in the United Kingdom and the United States, and Harvest Records‘ parent company EMI was unable to print enough copies to meet demand. Although it initially received mixed reviews from critics, the album went on to receive critical acclaim,

Everyone wanted a piece of Pink Floyd after ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ sold a gazillion copies , especially the shady music-industry types Waters never trusted. ‘Have a Cigar’ is all about those clueless suits. “By the way, which one’s Pink?” sings guest Roy Harper, a British folkie, summing up the era.

‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ was originally released as a two-song, eight-part, 26-minute suite on the band’s follow-up to the mega-popular ‘The Dark Side of the Moon.’ And like several Floyd projects from the period, the song references former bandmate Syd Barrett’s descent into mental illness. It’s an epic piece, the bookends to one of the group’s most durable LPs.

The members of Pink Floyd were still friendly with Syd Barrett after he left the group in 1968. He even showed up in the studio, somewhat unrecognizable, while they were recording of their ninth album. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ touched on the mental illness that crippled Barrett, but ‘Wish You Were Here’ was an album-length tribute to both his genius and madness. The title track ties Barrett’s plight to Waters‘ own distancing from society.

The band played much of Wish You Were Here on 5th July 1975 at the Knebworth music festival. Roy Harper, was also performing at the same event, on discovering that his stage costume was missing, proceeded to destroy one of Pink Floyd’s vans, injuring himself in the process. This delayed the normal setup procedure of the band’s sound system. As a pair of World War II Spitfire aircraft had been booked to fly over the crowd during their entrance, the band were not able to delay their set. The result was that a power supply ssue pushed Wright’s keyboards completely out of tune, damaging the band’s performance. At one point he left the stage, but the band were able to continue with a less sensitive keyboard, a piano and a simpler light show. Following a brief intermission, they returned to perform The Dark Side of the Moon, but critics displeased about being denied access backstage savaged the performance

The Wish You Were Here – Immersion Box Set includes the new stereo digital remaster (2011) by James Guthrie on CD, an unreleased 5.1 Surround Mix (2009) by James Guthrie on DVD and Blu-ray, a Quad Mix (which had been released only on vinyl LP and 8-track tape) on DVD, as well as the original stereo mix (1975) on DVD and Blu-ray

Pink Floyd

  • David Gilmour – vocals, guitars, lap steel guitar, EMS Synthi AKS, tape effects, additional bass
  • Roger Waters – vocals, bass guitar, EMS VCS 3, guitar, tape effects
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion, tape effects
  • Richard Wright – Hammond C-3 organ, ARP String Ensemble V, Minimoog, Steinway piano, EMS VCS 3, Hohner Clavinet D6, Wurlitzer EP-200 electric piano, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Dick Parry – tenor and baritone saxophone on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
  • Roy Harper – lead vocals on “Have a Cigar”
  • Venetta Fields – backing vocals on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
  • Carlena Williams – backing vocals on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

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Following up a hit record is no mean feat for any band, and even under the best of circumstances, Pink Floyd might have found it all but impossible to come back from the massive success of Dark Side of the Moon.

Unfortunately, when the band returned to the studio in January 1975, conditions were far from favorable in the band for a variety of reasons — not the least of which was the fact that, as they adjusted to life after a worldwide smash record, the members of the band found themselves more disoriented than fulfilled. Compounding the problem was a growing disconnection between bassist Roger Waters and the rest of Pink Floyd, particularly guitarist David Gilmour.

“We were all having to assess what we were in this business for,” Gilmour said in the 2012 documentary The Story of Wish You Were Here. “Whether we were artists or businessmen. Having achieved the sort of success and money out of it all, it could fulfill anyone’s wildest teenage dreams, why we would still continue to want to do it? Roger has said he thinks we may have been finished at that point, and he may have been right.”

 

It also didn’t help that, as drummer Nick Mason said in a separate interview filmed for the movie, the band didn’t exactly have a ton of material stored up for their next album. After spending years rotating through the industry’s tour-and-record cycle, they hunkered down on their Dark Side follow-up basically bereft of material — and some of the songs they had written ended up being thrown out of the running order.

The songs in question, “Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy,” were excised from the album after a fight between Waters and Gilmour, prompted because Waters felt the songs they had didn’t hold together as a cohesive whole. In his view, it was better to expand one particular track — titled “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” — into a bookend that essentially enveloped the rest of the record. As Waters later revealed, the piece was largely inspired by his heartbreak over the self-imposed exile of the band’s founding guitarist and first leader, Syd Barrett.

“I’ve never read an intelligent piece on Syd Barrett in any magazine, never,” Waters is quoted as saying in Mark Blake’s book Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. “I wrote and rewrote and rewrote and rewrote that lyric because I wanted it to be as close as possible to what I felt. There’s a truthful feeling in that piece. That sort of indefinable, inevitable melancholy about the disappearance of Syd. He’s withdrawn so far away that he’s no longer there.”

Waters’ feelings regarding Barrett’s absence could have been applied, to some degree, to the rest of Pink Floyd. “No one was really looking anyone in the eye,” he complained. “It was all very mechanical.”

“It was disengagement,” concurred Gilmour. “It was not being willing to apply yourself sufficiently. Lots of moments when any one of us might have been much more interested in thinking about what we were doing that weekend […] The concentrated activity was rather diluted, and I’m sure for a very pushing, driving sort of person like Roger, it was more frustrating than it was for anyone else — although it was very frustrating for all of us, I suspect.”

Thus preoccupied by feelings of alienation and disillusionment, the members of the group — primarily pulled along by Waters — cobbled together a set of songs built around absence, starting with the withdrawal of their friend Barrett and spilling over into the creeping disappointment they’d found with one another and in the industry they’d enriched with Dark Side of the Moon. In the midst of the recording, Barrett himself made an unannounced appearance in the studio, looking so different that the members of the band initially failed to recognize him.

Drummer Nick Mason, for one, later remembered Barrett looking like a “large, fat bloke with a shaven head, wearing a decrepit old tan mac and carrying a plastic shopping bag,” while keyboard player Rick Wright recalled a sad denouement to their former leader’s surprise visit: “Syd stood up and said, ‘Right, when do I put the guitar on?’ And, of course, he didn’t have a guitar with him. We said, ‘Sorry, Syd, the guitar’s all done.’”

Such was the band’s disconnect that one song on the album, titled “Have a Cigar,” ultimately ended up being sung by someone outside the lineup. After Waters and Gilmour tried and failed to lend the requisite degree of vocal snark to their sarcastic ode to music business cynicism, they ended up turning to singer songwriter Roy Harper, who was sharing the studio with them and happened to be in the room one day while they struggled to find a solution.

Roger can write songs but he’s never going to be in the top one hundred as a rock singer,” observed Harper. “He tries hard, he’s a good lad. Anyway, neither of them could get up there. I just stood at the back, leaning against a machine and laughing. I said, ‘I’ll sing it for you,’ and someone said, ‘OK,’ and I said, ‘For a price.

Recording finally wrapped in the summer of 1975, and after settling on a typically evocative cover design from legendary artist Storm Thorgerson, the members of Pink Floyd sent their ninth studio LP — titled Wish You Were Here, after a particularly disaffected Gilmour-Waters cowrite — to their label. Scheduled for release on September. 12th, it immediately became one of the most highly anticipated albums of 1975.

Not that Pink Floyd necessarily acted like a band delivering a major piece of product. In fact, their only concession to the promotion machine was a single syndicated live show, recorded at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in the spring of 1975, which was broadcast in an array of major markets ahead of the tour booked to support Wish You Were Here. The sold-out set, which still included “Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy,” also featured an extended “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” as well as “Have a Cigar,” “Echoes,” and “Dark Side of the Moon” — as well as an expanding roster of special effects that now included expensive and unpredictable pyrotechnics.

In spite of inevitably mixed reviews, Wish You Were Here went on to top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and although it couldn’t hope to match the gargantuan sales of Dark Side of the Moon, it enjoyed substantial success in its own right, selling more than six million copies in the U.S. alone. And while the Floyd machine would continue to churn out product on a regular basis in the near future — starting with 1977′s Animals, which included the jettisoned Wish tracks “”Raving and Drooling” and “You Gotta Be Crazy”  the writing was already on the wall for Waters eventual departure from the band. As he pointed out in The Inside Story of Pink Floyd, even the biggest sales figures can’t balance out creative dysfunction.

“The dream,” shrugged Waters, “is that when you are successful, when you’re a star, you’ll be fine, everything will go wonderfully well. That’s the dream — and everybody knows it’s an empty one.”