David Gilmour was born in Cambridge, England (UK) on 6 March 1946. His parents encouraged him to pursue his interest in music. After hearing early rock ‘n roll hits like ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, he became interested in playing the guitar.
In school he met later band mates Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. In December 1967, he was asked by drummer Nick Mason to join Pink Floyd. Initially he was attracted to cover for Syd Barrett, but pretty soon Barrett merely contributed to the band as a songwriter, with Gilmour playing guitar. After Barrett’s departure, Gilmour did most of the vocals as well. During the 1970’s, Pink Floyd became one of the biggest band of the rock scene, with legendary albums like Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals and The Wall. Meanwhile, Gilmour was also working on his own, releasing his debut solo album David Gilmour in 1978.
Internally, Pink Floyd was dealing with internal conflicts. Keyboardist Richard Wright was fired during sessions for The Wall and Roger Waters became increasingly individualistic. He created the album The Final Cut (1983) almost entirely on his own. Gilmour released About Face in 1984, with songs about the death of John Lennon and his relationship with Roger Waters. Gilmour played guitar with a range of artists, and also produced the Dream Academy, who had a US top ten hit with ‘Life In A Northern Town’ in 1986.
Roger Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985, and Waters took complete control, releasing the albums A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), with contributions from Mason and Wright. In 1986, Gilmour purchased the houseboat Astoria, moored it on the River Thames near Hampton Court and transformed it into a recording studio. The majority of the two Pink Floyd albums released about this time, as well as Gilmour’s 2006 solo release On An Island, were recorded there.
On 2 July 2005, Pink Floyd played their last concert during the Live 8 spectacle, with the line-up consisting of Gilmour, Waters, Wright and Mason. They were offered £150 million to tour the US, but the band turned down the offer. After the death of Wright in September 2008, a reunion of Pink Floyd was ruled out. In November 2014, the album The Endless River was released, consisting of material recorded before Wright’s death.
Gilmour was responsible for bringing Kate Bush to public attention. While she was still at school, her family produced a demo tape with over 50 of her compositions, which was turned down by record labels. Gilmour received a copy of the demo from Ricky Hopper, a mutual friend of Gilmour and the Bush family. Impressed with what he heard, Gilmour helped the sixteen-year-old Bush get a more professional-sounding demo tape recorded that would be more saleable to the record companies.
Three tracks in total were recorded and paid for by Gilmour. The tape was produced by Gilmour’s friend Andrew Powell (who would go on to produce Bush’s first two albums) and sound engineer Geoff Emerick. Gilmour then arranged for EMI executive Terry Slater to hear the tape. Slater was impressed by the tape and signed her.
Gilmour is credited as executive producer on two tracks on her debut album The Kick Inside. He performs backing vocals on Pull Out the Pin and plays guitar on Love and Anger and Rocket’s Tail. In March 1987, Kate sang Running Up That Hill at The Secret Policeman’s Third Ball with Gilmour on guitar. In 2002, she performed Comfortably Numb, singing the part of the doctor, at Gilmour’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. In September 2014, he attended one of the Before The Dawn concerts.