David Gilmour is in total awe of Ray Davies’ songwriting and has nothing but superlatives to say about the Londoner. However, he accidentally took his appreciation too far on a Pink Floyd song which he admits “ripped off” The Kinks.
On several occasions, Gilmour has given props to The Kinks, and he has a particularly soft place in his heart for ‘Waterloo Sunset’. If London was to have its own anthem, it would be this song, and it’s a track the Pink Floyd singer said he wishes he’d written.
In 2003, Gilmour appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs. While on the show, he explained what ‘Waterloo Sunset’ meant to him, and named it one of his favourite songs of all time. He said the perfect time to listen to the track would be while “on a lovely warm beach, to listen to this in ‘somewhere else’ sunset, and missing London would be a wonderful moment”.
‘Waterloo Sunset’ evokes intense memories of the place he’s called home for the majority of his life, and even if he’s on a beach on the other side of the world, if Gilmour closes his eyes, he’s back on the Thames. Additionally, during the premiere of his concert film, Remember That Night – Live At The Royal Albert Hall, Gilmour said: “For me, the perfect pop song is ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by the Kinks. I would have loved to have written that.”
In an interview with Uncut in 2015, Gilmour was reflecting upon his back catalogue and spoke about the influence The Kinks have had upon his songwriting. He highlighted ‘Fat Old Sun’ from Pink Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother and admitted to subconsciously channelling his inner Ray Davies on the track.
“It’s one of those songs where the whole thing fell together very easily,” Gilmour explained. “I remember thinking at the time, ‘What have I ripped this off? I’m sure it’s by the Kinks or someone…’ But since whenever it was – 1968, ’69 – no one has ever yet said, ‘It’s exactly like this.’ it’s a nice lyric, I’m very happy with that.”
It’s a track Gilmour has a strong affinity for, even though his Pink Floyd bandmates don’t feel the same. In an interview with BBC Radio 2 in 2002, he described the track as “fantastically overlooked”. In the same interview, Gilmour revealed he “tried very hard” to convince his bandmates to put it on their greatest hits album, Echoes, but they “weren’t having it”.
Watch Gilmour perform ‘Fat Old Sun’ at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall below.