The Pink Floyd Song David Gilmour Never Wanted To Write

It was born out of "desperation..."

Pink Floyd’s story reads like one of rock’s core myths. A turbulent but genius founder – Syd Barrett – who steered himself too close to the heart of the sun, and burnt out as a result. The band left behind, who reconfigured themselves, and won global acclaim from an unexpected source.

Guitarist David Gilmour lived through it all, and now spins the tales. Having worked on countless classic records – ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘The Wall’ and beyond – he’s earned that right, and sometimes he can be a little harsh on his own work.

At times, he even has reservations about undoubted classics. Take his verdict on 1973 opus ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, once informing Guitar Player that Roger Waters’ lyrical brilliance took precedence over the actual music.

He said: “My problem with ‘Dark Side’ – and I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again – was that I thought that Roger’s emergence on that album as a great lyric writer was such that he came to overshadow the music in places.”

1969 album ‘Ummagumma’ found Pink Floyd in a dark place. Syd Barrett had left more than 12 months before, and the band’s constant touring left little time for inspiration to strike. David Gilmour’s contribution to the album – a side-long suite called ‘The Normal Way’ – was written and recorded on his own, and it finds someone whose batteries are seemingly flat.

Reflecting on the piece, David Gilmour was savage in his dismissal. Speaking to Sounds Guitar Heroes magazine in 1983, he said it was only written out of “desperation”.

He said: “Well, we’d decided to make the damn album, and each of us to do a piece of music on our own… it was just desperation really, trying to think of something to do, to write by myself. I’d never written anything before, I just went into a studio and started waffling about, tacking bits and pieces together. I haven’t heard it in years. I’ve no idea what it’s like.”

It’s an attitude that hasn’t softened over the years. Speaking to the German publication Der Spiegel in 1995, he reflected: “I think both are pretty horrible. Well, the live disc of ‘Ummagumma’ might be all right, but even that isn’t recorded well.”

Related: So You’ve Decided To Get Into Pink Floyd

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.