About Face is the second solo studio album by the English musician David Gilmour. It was released in March 1984 by Harvest in the UK and Columbia in the United States. Co-produced by Bob Ezrin and Gilmour, the album was recorded in 1983 at Pathé Marconi Studio, in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. The lyrics of two tracks, “All Lovers Are Deranged” and “Love on the Air,” were written by Pete Townshend of the Who.
The album received positive reviews and peaked at #21 on UK Albums Chart and #32 on the US Billboard 200. Two singles were released: “Blue Light” peaked at #62 in the United States, while “Love on the Air” failed to chart. The album was certified gold by the RIAA. A remastered reissue was released in 2006 on EMI.
The album was recorded with engineer Andy Jackson at a time when Pink Floyd’s future was uncertain. It was mixed by James Guthrie at Mayfair Studios in London, England.
Gilmour said he wanted to take his time and make “a really good album” and “get the best musicians in the world that I could get hold of to play with me.” Musicians on the album include drummer Jeff Porcaro, bass guitarist Pino Palladino, Deep Purple keyboardist Jon Lord, backing vocalists Roy Harper, and Sam Brown, orchestral arranger Michael Kamen (who had also worked on The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and The Wall), and keyboardist Steve Winwood.
I think Pete feels some restrictions on what he would like to do with the Who, as I guess we all feel restrictions within everything we attempt [to do], just because of the types of personalities and role you’ve created for yourself. I know he’s felt uncomfortable about certain things— things he could express in solo stuff. For me, the restriction was the scale of what Pink Floyd had become more than anything. It’s nice to get out and do something on a slightly different scale; go out and do theatres, which is not really a possibility with Pink Floyd until we get a lot less popular. (David Gilmour)
When Roger Waters began production of the Pink Floyd album, The Final Cut, Gilmour claims, he requested Waters wait another month for Gilmour to develop some musical ideas himself, but Waters felt he was “on a roll” and already had plenty of material to complete the album, a very personal project about his father’s death in World War II, and the further victimization of those who survived it. Waters, seeing Gilmour and Mason’s lack of interest in the concept, offered to make The Final Cut as a solo album, but Gilmour and Mason still wanted a Pink Floyd album, of any kind, to sell. “[T]hey know [that] songs don’t grow on trees,” Waters told David Fricke of Rolling Stone magazine. “They wanted it to be a Floyd record.”
Gilmour was later interviewed by Texas-based DJ Redbeard, on the radio program, In the Studio during which the focus was his 2006 third album On an Island. He commented on About Face saying that, “looking back on it, it has some great moments on there but the whole flavor of it is too ’80s for my current tastes.”
“Murder” was an outcry by Gilmour about the senseless killing of John Lennon, a longtime musical peer and inspiration to him. Gilmour embellished the song with a solo fretless bassline (played by Pino Palladino), adding an edgy funk groove to the acoustic beginning of the song, leading to an instrumental bridge, where the song picks up in the speed of the beat with more electric instruments. Gilmour collaborated with Townshend on the songs “Love on the Air” and “All Lovers Are Deranged,” as Gilmour recalled: “I sent him three songs and he sent back three sets of lyrics. Two of them suited me well. One didn’t. He did the two on About Face and he did the other one [‘White City Fighting’] on his White City album.” The lyrics for “Love on the Air” were written in a day, after Gilmour had asked for Townshend’s help. “You Know I’m Right” was written in a similar vein to Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” and was a dig towards to Waters.”Cruise” was about Ronald Reagan having cruise missiles stationed in Britain at the time.
The cover of the LP is a little wider than usual, approaching 12 1/2 inches. The inner sleeve bears lyrics and photographs of Gilmour, and exists in at least two variations. A sleeve for the UK Harvest edition has rounded corners and opens to the side; one for the USA Columbia edition has square corners and opens to the top, relative to the lyric text. Like the cover, the latter sleeve is wider than it is tall, and may not fit into the outer sleeve if turned 90 degrees. In one corner of both versions are printed the words “Fleudian slip,” a play on the words “Freudian slip” and “Pink Floyd.” (by wikipedia)
David Gilmour released his second solo venture in 1984, following the apparent dissolution of Pink Floyd. He had released a record on his own in 1978, but About Face is much more accessible. Gilmour has a stellar band backing him, including Jeff Porcaro (drums), Pino Palladino (bass), and Anne Dudley (synthesizer). The songs on About Face show a pop sensibility that Pink Floyd rarely was concerned with achieving. Although the album didn’t attract the attention of a Floyd release, several cuts did manage to get airplay. “Until We Sleep” is rife with shimmering synthesizers and cavernous drums, and “Blue Light” was a minor pop hit, with Gilmour’s trademark delay-drenched guitar giving way to a driving, horn-laced rocker. Pete Townshend wrote two of the tracks: “Love on the Air” and the propulsive “All Lovers Are Deranged.” Of course, there’s more than enough of Gilmour’s fluid guitar playing to satisfy, including the gorgeous “Murder,” a gentle acoustic track that explodes with some fiery organ by Steve Winwood and concludes with a fierce coda. About Face is well-honed rock album that is riveting from beginning to end. (by Tom Demalon)
David Gilmour (vocals, guitar, bass)
Ian Kewley (keyboards)
Pino Palladino (bass)
Jeff Porcaro (drums, percussion)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Anne Dudley (synthesiser)
Bob Ezrin (keyboards)
Luís Jardim (percussion)
Jon Lord (synthesiser)
Steve Rance (Fairlight CMI programming)
Steve Winwood (organ on 04., piano on 03.)
The Kick Horns (brass)
Roy Harper – Sam Brown – Vicki Brown – Mickey Feat
The National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted Michael Kamen
01. Until We Sleep (Gilmour) 5.18
02. Murder (Gilmour) 5.01
03. Love On The Air (Gilmour/Townshend) 4.21
04. Blue Light (Gilmour) 4.38
05. Out Of The Blue (Gilmour) 3.38
06. All Lovers Are Deranged (Gilmour/Townshend) 3.17
07. You Know I’m Right (Gilmour) 5.08
08. Cruise (Gilmour) 4.42
09. Let’s Get Metaphysical (Gilmour) 4.12
10. Near The End (Gilmour) 5.36