Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour joins Tom Jones for a cover of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ back in 1992
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 Pink Floyd and Tom Jones. The band were prog-rock legends, while Jones had his own iconography. Lead guitarist in the band, David Gilmour joined Jones in 1992 for a rare joint performance of Prince’s classic ‘Purple Rain’.
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 showThe Right Time, it makes for one of the more bizarre concoctions of musical icons you will find.
Jones and Gilmour’s performance of ‘Purple Rain’ wasn’t the first time the 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 singer’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. Pink Floyd were also enjoying the fruits of a late-career surge. 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.
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.