Pink Floyd aren’t a band necessarily known for their imperious vocal contributions. While Syd Barrett offered a unique voice during the explosion of acid rock in the 1960s, and David Gilmour would take over the mantle in delivering high-class performances to match the musicality at the heart of the group, the Floyd were always a little cut adrift in comparison to their rock and roll contemporaries.
Naturally, The Beatles were the icons of vocal harmony at the time; this crown was then routinely challenged by Roger Daltrey of The Who and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin as each wailed to their heart’s content and promoted a hysteria rarely seen since.
Pink Floyd, however, have always provided memorable, if to gifted, vocal performances, usually favouring a quasi-spoken word performance that allows the music to be given the room and respect it deserves. However, when listening to the isolated vocals on ‘Comfortably Numb’, it is hard not to get chills.
There isn’t much about ‘Comfortably Numb‘, the song which was founded on an argument between Waters and Gilmour, that Floyd fans won’t know. It’s quite simply their Magnus Opus. While on record, it ranks as one of the finest moments of The Wall; dissecting the iconic song and exploring the isolated vocals is enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.
One of the reasons the song is so powerful, both isolated and not, is that it sees Roger Waters exposing his true feelings towards his upbringing with unflinching confidence and brutal vulnerability. One of the moments in The Wall‘s story, which sees our protagonist detach himself further from his audience, the song works as a direct reflection of the isolation Waters was subjecting himself to before then and recorded the album. It’s a piece of work which will likely outlive us all and deserves the top spot.
Though Roger Waters may be famed for taking control of recording sessions and stealing the limelight, it is his collaboration with David Gilmour which has produced his best number. ‘Comfortably Numb’, co-written with Gilmour, is a blistering moment on The Wall and is remarkable because it allows both stars to shine. However, when you hear Water’s isolated vocal below, it’s easy to feel everything Waters intended.
Listen to Roger Waters’ vital isolated vocals for Pink Floyd’s classic song ‘Comfortably Numb’.