Revisiting the lost recording of Pink Floyd jamming with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli on ‘Wish You Were Here’
We’re taking a step back into the Far Out Magazine vault to explore a long-lost recording of jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli jamming with none other than prog-rock kings Pink Floyd.
Grappelli, who was a pioneering French jazz violinist, has been described by many as “the grandfather of jazz violinists” and continued playing live shows around the world to sell-out crowds well into his ’80s.
Grapelli, who formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France in the 1930s, happened to be in the right place in the right time when he was asked to join in with Pink Floyd members Nick Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright.
What ensued was a breakthrough moment, a track being put together that nobody else would expect. However, the recording got lost in transit deep with the archives of label EMI and considered lost forever, it was just another lost moment between the artist and studio.
Fast-forward nearly four decades after that day in the recording studio, the tapes were recovered and a remastered version of Pink Floyd’s 1975 album Wish You Were Here was reissued with Grappelli’s contribution fully audible and credited on the track.
“My understanding was that we’d had to record over it in order to put on other sections,” Pink Floyd drummer Mason once said of the track, describing it as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of their extensive back catalogue of recordings as a band. The group had always been keen to assimilate themselves with every faction of music, and this performance was another mark of their growing esteem.
But in the middle of the recording session, Gilmour and Mason were beginning to fall out as the drummer’s failing marriage was beginning to weigh heavily on proceedings: “It was a very difficult period I have to say. All your childhood dreams had been sort of realised and we had the biggest selling records in the world and all the things you got into it for.
“The girls and the money and the fame and all that stuff it was all… everything had sort of come our way and you had to reassess what you were in it for thereafter, and it was a pretty confusing and sort of empty time for a while.” Nevertheless, the group managed to pull it around and deliver one of their seminal records.
“It still astonishes me that we didn’t use it originally, didn’t realise what a wonderful thing it was,” he added while remembering the session with Grappelli. The performance is another example of the band’s impressive command of music.