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Music

David Gilmour’s five favourite albums of all time

@jackwhatley89

There is an undeniable pleasure in learning the foundational sonic stones of the most iconic artists that pop and rock music have ever produced. Just as it is a thrill to connect with your friends and family over shared interests and cultural touchpoints, to hear the first and most memorably music moments of an artist’s career is a warming and welcoming notion. Luckily, some of our favourite performers of all time have shared their most cherished songs, albums, performances, and so. Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, is one such artist.

Becoming a senior member of Pink Floyd, first as a replacement for Syd Barrett’s drug-deficient performances on stage as the lead singer and guitarist for the acid rock group and later as a permanent member when Barett’s sanity couldn’t be retrieved, Gilmour has cemented himself as a true icon. Unassuming in many ways, Gilmour’s technical prowess has made him a guitar hero, while his incandescent signature songwriting style balanced his appeal. It’s a delicate dichotomy that one can witness throughout his influences too.

Once voted the greatest Fender guitarist of all time, Gilmour’s influence with the axe is often underestimated. While not possessing the same flair as some of his heroes, Gilmour’s work has always been complex yet earnest. It is an ethos that can be found in his songwriting too. However, the indelible image of Gilmour with a guitar in his hands will always be seared into our collective rock memories. It makes sense then that he should be invited to be a part of an album recommendations slot as part of Guitar Tricks Insider back in 2017.

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In the piece, Gilmour offers only the album titles and the artists behind them, so there is a bit of inference on our part in discerning why he picked them. However, one thing is undoubtedly clear, if David Gilmour is suggesting that these five albums are essential listening for any budding guitarist, then you best get them together and onto a playlist as soon as humanly possible. Luckily, we’ve already done that for you, and it can be found below.

It’s fair to say, that on every record suggested by Gilmour, there exists at least one iconic guitarist in the studio. First up is the iconic Hank Marvin of The Shadows and their set of Greatest Hits. Another member of the ‘foundational players’ list, Marvin, is often cited by Keith Richards as a favourite too, particularly resonating with the British public through The Shadows, who were as big as The Beatles in many parts of the country. Marvin’s unique guitar style would influence countless bands of the 1960s and can still be a formative experience for any player to this day.

“I copied – don’t be afraid to copy – and eventually something that I suppose that I would call my own appeared.” this was the famous quote from Gilmour when asked about his signature style. Some obvious candidates for such copying can be found in our list below. Jeff Beck of the Yardbirds would show a young Gilmour that guitar sound didn’t have to be restrictive and later, as Gilmour found his own fame, that he shouldn’t be afraid to try new paths to reach his end goal. Using one’s instrument, you could create new sonic landscapes, something Beck did effortlessly on Blow by Blow, from 1975.

Another hero of Gilmour’s was the empirical Eric Clapton, who also enjoyed spells in most of Britain’s formative blues groups. Here, he joins John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, who also included Mick Taylor and Peter Green at one point in time, to provide one of 1966’s best albums. Speaking with Relix in 2015, Gilmour noted of the band: “All of those guys were incredible. I spent time trying to learn how to play their licks perfectly. I would suggest any young player should try to sit down and do that. You will wind up knowing how to play their stuff quite well. But eventually, you will find your own style from that. It forces its way out of the copying.”

Selecting Dire Straits’ hugely popular self-titled album may confuse some people; however, Mark Knopfler’s guitar sound is regarded as one of rock and roll’s pivotal turning points. Gilmour said of the guitarist in 1985: “Mark Knopfler has a lovely, refreshing guitar style. He brought back something that seemed to have gone astray in guitar playing. These days I don’t listen to other people with the objective of trying to steal their licks. Although I’ve got no objections to stealing them if that seems like a good idea. I’m sure that I’m still influenced by Mark Knopfler and Eddie Van Halen as well.”

Last and certainly not least, is the magnanimous Jimi Hendrix and his wondrous second album Electric Ladyland. Gilmour once famously mixed Hendrix’s iconic Isle of Wight performance and would later refer to him as the greatest guitarist of all time. Speaking to the BBC in 2006, Gilmour said: “Jimi Hendrix, fantastic. I went to a club in South Kensington in 1966. This kid got on stage with Brian Auger and the Trinity. (He started to play) the guitar with the other way around (upside down). Myself, and the whole place, were with their jaws hanging open.”

“I went to the next day to record shops and I said, ‘You’ve got anything by this guy Jimi Hendrix?’ So they said, ‘Well, we’ve got a James Hendrix’. He hadn’t yet done anything. So I became rather an avid fan waiting for his first release.” Gilmour was certainly ready when Hendrix’s secondary effort hit the shops. With such a wide range of influences and a heap of great music, below, we bring you David Gilmour’s five favourite albums of all time.

David Gilmour’s five favourite albums:

  • Greatest Hits – The Shadows
  • Blow by Blow – Jeff Beck
  • Dire Straits – Dire Straits
  • John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton – John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
  • Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix

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