Two artists that had a lasting impact on the pop culture of Britain during the sixties and seventies, though on different ends of the spectrum, were prog-rock legends Pink Floyd and the Welsh crooner, Tom Jones. The band were quickly becoming rock and roll legends, while Jones had his own iconography, capturing the hearts and knickers of women all over the country for a brief period. Lead guitarist in the band, David Gilmour joined Jones in 1992 for a rare joint performance of Prince’s classic ‘Purple Rain’ and it is just as strange as you might think.
There’s no doubt that the song choice feels a little bit strange for the artists at hand. The duo actually share a strange affinity with the Purple One’s songs, still, it feels unusual to see Gilmour and Jones take on this sultry classic. Recorded as part of Jones’ TV show The Right Time, it makes for one of the more bizarre concoctions of musical icons you will find.
Jones and Gilmour’s version of ‘Purple Rain’ wasn’t the first time the famed Welsh crooner had come across his Royal Badness’ work. The singer had a smash hit with a sleek hyper-80s re-imagining of Prince’s song ‘Kiss’ which saw the crooner’s popularity rise again after his career had begun to wane. It’s part of what secured him his own TV show in the early nineties.
The ITV miniseries ran through the summer of ’92 and saw Jones exploring the foundations of pop music, investigating the long-running roots in other genres like soul, country, rhythm & blues and gospel. With such a wide scope, Jones took full advantage and added a series of guest performers to make anybody jealous including Stevie Wonder, Joe Cocker, Erasure and Cyndi Lauper.
Even with such an eclectic bunch, the inclusion of Pink Floyd’s guitar maestro David Gilmour still felt peculiar among the reem of stars. Pink Floyd were also enjoying the fruits of a late-career surge which nobody had really expected. Their album A Momentary Lapse of Reason had seen them filling stadium tours across the globe once more. It’s a notable moment in Gilmour’s performance of the Prince classic.
Naturally, Jones takes on the iconic vocal, allowing Gilmour to wail on guitar and, while avoiding any cheap imitation, does well to match Prince’s own guitar solo. While it may well be an odd mix of talent on show, it sure is a pleasing one to watch as two masters of the craft showcase exactly why they’re so revered.
Largely because, above all else, it is entirely unique. As well as Gilmour’s unique take on the solo, Jones does his very best impression of himself on this performance. Everything feels decidedly Tom Jones—smooth, chunky and a little too much sugar.
Watch David Gilmour and Tom Jones cover Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ back in 1992.
Source: Rolling Stone