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When David Gilmour covered Jimi Hendrix with Seal


English songwriter and guitarist David Gilmour is best known for being the virtuoso axeman of the prog-rock band Pink Floyd, and in his years since, he’s gotten up to a variety of interesting projects. From taking over as the band’s driving force in 1985 to his solo work, there’s plenty to dive into for anybody looking to explore Gilmour’s world.

Although it might seem like an odd choice, one of his performances involved teaming up with neo-soul singer Seal to cover Jimi Hendrix in 1991 to perform the song ‘Hey Joe’ together. When you listen to their performance together, there’s both a sombre quality and a uniqueness to the vocalization and the instrumentation, carrying a sense of appreciation for Hendrix, while still putting their own spin on the song.

David Gilmour actually has a history with Hendrix himself, being one of the people to mix his sound at the Isle Of Wight festival. As he recalled in an interview with Prog magazine in 2019: “I helped mix the sound for Hendrix at the Isle of Wight in 1970. Not a lot of people know that. From the side of the stage with WEM Audiomasters with Charlie Watkins.”

In describing how he ended up in that role, Gilmour says, “I went down to go to it and I was camping in a tent, just being a punter. I went backstage where our main roadie guy, Peter Watts, was trying to deal with all the mayhem, with Charlie Watkins of WEM. They were very nervous, they were going to have to mix Hendrix’s sound. I did some mixing stuff in those days and they said ‘Help! Help!’ so I did.”

However, Gilmour has been a fan of Hendrix since before he took on his acclaimed and best-remembered persona. In a conversation with BBC Radio 2 show Tracks Of My Years in 2006, he said, “Jimi Hendrix, fantastic. I went to a club in South Kensington in 1966 and this kid got on stage with Brian Auger and the Trinity and (started to play) the guitar with the other way around (upside down) and started playing. Myself and the whole place was with their jaws hanging open.”

He went on to say, “I went to the next day to record shops and I said ‘You’ve got anything by this guy Jimi Hendrix?’ and they said ‘Well, we’ve got a James Hendrix’. He hadn’t yet done anything. So I became rather an avid fan waiting for his first release. Also, this is one of his beautiful ballads that I really love.” This was regarding one of his favourite Hendrix songs, none other than ‘The Wind Cries Mary’.

Given his connection and admiration to the musician, it’s no wonder why he put so much energy into teaming up and doing this cover justice. If you want to take a listen to the time that David Gilmour and Seal covered Jimi Hendrix, you can find it right here.