David Gilmour is the debut solo studio album by Pink Floyd guitarist and co-lead vocalist David Gilmour. The album was released in May and June 1978 in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively. The album reached number 17 in the UK and number 29 on the Billboard US album charts; it was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. The album was produced by Gilmour, and consists mostly of blues, guitar oriented rock songs except for the piano-dominated ballad “So Far Away”.
The tracks used for the album were recorded between February and March 1978 with engineer John Etchells at Super Bear Studios in France. They were then mixed at the same studio by Nick Griffiths. Session musicians included bass guitarist Rick Wills and drummer Willie Wilson, both of whom (with Gilmour) used to be part of Jokers Wild.Album’s cover artwork.
The album cover used for the first EMI pressings of the album LP was done by Hipgnosis and Gilmour; Gilmour was credited on the cover for contributing “Keyboards, Vocals” although he played guitar. The CBS/Columbia pressings (outside Europe) listed Gilmour as contributing “Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals”. Among those depicted on the sleeve was Gilmour’s then-wife, Ginger.
The album’s only single was “There’s No Way Out of Here.” The single flopped in Europe, but became popular on Album-oriented rock radio stations in the US. The song was originally recorded by the band Unicorn (as “No Way Out of Here”) for their 1976 album Too Many Crooks (Harvest Records, US title Unicorn 2), which Gilmour produced. It was also recorded later by New Jersey stoner rock band Monster Magnet on their Monolithic Baby! album.
One unused tune he wrote and demoed at the time would evolve, via collaboration with Roger Waters, into Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” from The Wall. However, a song included on this album, the piano ballad “So Far Away”, uses a chorus progression not unlike the chorus to “Comfortably Numb”, albeit in a different key.
Likewise, the song “Short and Sweet” can be seen as a musical precursor to “Run Like Hell” (also from The Wall), with its shifting chords over a D pedal point, using a flanged guitar in Drop D tuning. “Short and Sweet” was written in collaboration with Roy Harper, who recorded his own version for his 1980 album The Unknown Soldier.
A five-song promotional film was made to promote the album. The band comprised Gilmour himself on guitars and vocals plus the two musicians on the album (bass player Rick Wills and drummer Willie Wilson) plus David Gilmour’s brother Mark on rhythm guitar and Ian McLagan on keyboards and performed “Mihalis”, “There’s No Way Out of Here”, “So Far Away”, “No Way”, and “I Can’t Breathe Anymore”. There were two female backing singers on “There’s No Way Out of Here” and “So Far Away”. It was recorded live at the The Roxy, London.
Also, Gilmour promoted the album with his first ever interviews with North American media and FM rock radio stations. The promotion paid off as the album made a respectable showing on the Billboard album charts peaking at number 29, which – until 2006’s On an Island – was Gilmour’s highest charting solo album in the US, eventually going Gold.Song variations.
The performances of the tracks in the promotional film differed to the album versions. “Mihalis” had an extended ending guitar solo. “There’s No Way Out of Here” was slightly shorter as one of the verses was deleted but the ending guitar solo was different from that on the album and had a clean ending instead of fading out like on album version. “So Far Away” had an extended ending guitar solo on this performance and ended in a faster tempo than the album version.
The performance of “No Way” had Gilmour playing regular lead guitar solos at the end of the track on his Fender Esquire (with distortion) instead of the lap steel guitar solos (with distortion) that had appeared on the album version and had a clean ending instead of fading out like on the album (the remastered CD version of the album had Gilmour’s lap steel solo extended this time to feature a duel between himself playing high notes on his lap steel and lower notes on his trademark Stratocaster during the fadeout on the remaster). The middle part of the album version, for where the first of two lap steel guitar solos were on the album version, was deleted.
“I Can’t Breathe Anymore” had Gilmour playing a regular guitar solo at the end of this song’s performance while on the album version (and on the remastered CD in an extended coda), a distorted lap steel guitar countered the ending guitar solo. The ending of the promo performance of “I Can’t Breathe Anymore” was longer than on the album.
In an interview with Circus in 1978, Gilmour said: “This album was important to me in terms of self-respect. At first I didn’t think my name was big enough to carry it. Being in a group for so long can be a bit claustrophobic, and I needed to step out from behind Pink Floyd’s shadow.” (by wikipedia)
David Gilmour (vocals, guitar; keyboards, lap steel guitar on 07. + 09., piano on 04. harmonica on 02.)
Willie Wilson (drums, percussion)
Rick Wills (bass, background vocals)
Mick Weaver (piano on 04.)
background vocals on 02. + 04.:
Carlena Williams – Debbie Doss – Shirley Roden
01. Mihalis (Gilmour) 5.47
02. There’s No Way Out Of Here (Gilmour/Baker) 5.23
03. Cry From The Street (Gilmour/Stuart) 5.14
04. So Far Away (Gilmour) 6.05
05. Short And Sweet (Gilmour/Harper) 5.31
06. Raise My Rent (Gilmour) 5.52
07. No Way (Gilmour) 5.32
08. It’s Deafinitely (Gilmout) 4.28
09. I Can’t Breathe Anymore (Gilmour) 3.41