Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour has lived an action-packed life, one that has been full of jaw-dropping highs. However, alongside those moments of joy, plentiful excruciating lows have followed, incidents that the musician has been forced to deal with while navigating across his journey of musical exploration.
While he wasn’t an original founding member of Pink Floyd, Gilmour seemingly arrived as their saviour, an artist who answered their cries when the band needed somebody the most as Syd Barrett fell off the deep end. As time trickled on, his role in the group gradually grew in importance, and soon enough, he became indispensable.
Before joining the set-up with Pink Floyd, Gilmour made an obscure name for himself locally in the Cambridgeshire area with Jokers Wild. However, after that band split up, he toured Europe with two other members from the group as a trio, but success evaded him.
During an appearance on the BBC Radio 2 feature ‘Tracks Of My Years’, Gilmour reflected on his early creative exploits, revealing that The Beach Boys hit ‘God Only Knows’ reminds him of that special time in his life. He recalled: “I love The Beach Boys, my early band in Cambridge when I was a teenager did a lot of Beach Boys songs, but I didn’t want to play one of the too surfy ones”.
Gilmour added: “I just love the place that Brian Wilson got to as he got out of all the surfing music, and some of these things are just sublime. ‘God Only Knows’ is one of the best things he ever did”.
Elsewhere, Gilmour also showed love for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a now-iconic outfit who were on the same London circuit as Pink Floyd, and he selected the track ‘The Wind Cries Mary’. Recalling the moment he first graced eyes on Hendrix at The Blazes Club in South Kensington, Gilmour remembered: “Myself and the whole place there had their jaws hanging open at this guy”. The guitarist then remembered walking around record stores the following day trying to find material by Hendrix. However, he was aghast to discover he was yet to officially release any official records.
Continuing the musical journey of his life, it wouldn’t be an appropriate list if there was no material from The Beatles, and Gilmour chose to include ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ by the Fab Four. Explaining his decision, Gilmour said: “I was an absolute mad Beatles fan, and ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away is John Lennon’s first moment of being influenced by Bob Dylan, I think. It’s just one example, and you could choose hundreds of things by The Beatles, couldn’t you.”
Finally, in an attempt to round things off, Gilmour decided to pick Nina Simone and her magnetic version of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ for his conclusive song choice. “Well, Nina Simone is one of the true great originals,” he exclaimed. “That recording of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins is just magic, the brilliant sax solo, I heard it when I was living in Paris in 1966 or 1967, and it’s just magic. She was a wild woman that one.”
Listen to a playlist of Gilmour’s complete selections below.
David Gilmour from Pink Floyd’s favourite songs:
- ‘God Only Knows’ – The Beach Boys
- ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’ – Kate Bush
- ‘The Rock Island Line’ – Leadbelly
- ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ – The Beatles
- ‘Dancing In The Street’ – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
- ‘Waterloo Sunset’ – The Kinks
- ‘Ohio’ – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ – Elvis Presley
- ‘I Put A Spell On You’ – Nina Simone
Stream the playlist in full, below.