David Jon Gilmour, CBE was born on 6th March 1946 in Cambridge, England, the second child of Douglas Gilmour, a senior lecturer in Zoology at the University, and Sylvia, a teacher. Best known as guitarist, vocalist and writer with Pink Floyd, he is also renowned for his solo work and collaborations with other artists including Kate Bush, Paul McCartney,
and Pete Townshend.
David Gilmour and Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett met as children in Cambridge and later, whilst studying at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology, began playing guitar together. In 1965 they spent a summer hitchhiking and busking around the South of France before Syd joined Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright to form Pink Floyd, and David continued playing with his own band Jokers Wild, subsequently touring Europe with Flowers, and later Bullitt.
David was asked to augment the Pink Floyd line up as the singer and guitarist in 1967, only for Syd to leave the group five gigs later.
David’s guitar playing and song writing became major factors of Pink Floyd’s worldwide success during the 1970s, including his distinctive vocals and guitar playing on The Dark Side Of The Moon, the third most successful album of all time.
As a side project, David released his first solo album David Gilmour in 1978. Featuring Rick Wills on bass and Willie Wilson on drums & percussion, the album charted in the UK and the US.
David’s second solo album About Face was released in 1984, again hitting the Top 20 in the UK.
David assumed control of Pink Floyd in 1985, after Roger Waters’ departure, creating the new Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reason with Nick Mason and Rick Wright. It was followed in 1994 by The Division Bell, which contained the instrumental Marooned, composed by David and Richard Wright, for which Pink Floyd won their sole Grammy Award. Both albums charted at number one on both sides of the Atlantic and were supported by sell-out world tours. A live album and video, P.U.L.S.E, followed in 1995. In 1996, Pink Floyd were inducted into the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, followed by the same honour in the UK in November 2005; in 2005, David Gilmour was made a CBE for services to music.
In 2002, following a concert for Robert Wyatt’s Meltdown Festival, three semi acoustic concerts were performed by David Gilmour and friends at London’s Royal Festival Hall, with one critic remarking that a ‘reinvented rock god shines on as 21st century folk hero’.
In 2003, David donated the £3.6 million proceeds of the sale of his London house to Crisis, the charity for the homeless of which he is a vice-president.
Acclaim for David Gilmour as a guitarist came with his headline billing at the 2004 London Wembley concert celebrating 50 years of the Fender Stratocaster guitar. He was also voted ‘Best Fender Guitar Player Ever’ in a poll in Guitarist magazine, beating such greats as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
In July 2005, Pink Floyd reunited with Roger Waters for a one-off performance at Live 8 in London’s Hyde Park, which was regarded by many as the highlight of an astonishing show.
On 6th March 2006, David released his third solo album, On An Island, which entered the UK Charts at Number One, subsequently hitting the top position in the pan-European Charts, as well as hitting multi-Platinum around the world, including countries as diverse as Canada and Poland.
On An Island was accompanied by tour dates in the US and Europe, performed by a stellar list of musicians including Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, and regular Floyd musicians Dick Parry, Guy Pratt, and Jon Carin.
Summer concerts in Europe included a one-off performance in front of 50,000 in Gda?sk’s historic dockyards, as a celebration of the 26th Anniversary of the Soldarity movement, which was founded there. For one time only, the performance featured a 40-piece orchestra conducted by noted Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner, who had written the orchestrations for the On An Island album. The concert was also filmed by director Gavin Elder.
The live show at London’s Royal Albert Hall was filmed in High Definition by award-winning director David Mallet for DVD release. Entitled Remember That Night – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, it was released in Europe on Monday 17th September 2007 and the following day in North America, immediately hitting the No. 1 spot in many countries around the globe.
Remember That Night was released in the high-definition Blu-ray format in November 2007.
In May 2008, David was awarded an ‘Ivor’ for Lifetime Achievement by the British Association of Composers and Songwriters.
In September 2008, Fender Guitars made available their David Gilmour Signature Black Strat model, in two versions. The ‘Relic’ model Fender Stratocaster™ replicates the wear on David’s own 30-year old, much-customised guitar, while the ‘New Old Stock’ model includes all the same custom parts but without the wear.
September also saw the release of Live In Gda?sk, David’s live album from the outdoor show with orchestra in the Gda?sk shipyards. Available as a 2-CD audio package, other formats include a DVD of nearly two hours of concert footage plus a documentary of the Gda?sk experience.