ON THIS DATE (May 25, 1978) David Gilmour: David Gilmour is released.

ON THIS DATE (33 YEARS AGO)
May 25, 1978 – David Gilmour: David Gilmour is released in the UK (June 17, 1978 in the US).

RF Rating 4/5
# Allmusic 2.5/5 stars
# Tentative Reviews 4.5/5 stars

David Gilmour is the first solo album from Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour, released on May 25, 1978 in the UK and on June 17, 1978 in the US. The album reached #17 in the UK and #29 on the Billboard US album charts and was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA. The album was produced by Gilmour himself, and consists mostly of bluesy, guitar oriented rock songs except for the ballad “So Far Away”.

In an interview with Circus Magazine in 1978, Gilmour said this: “This album (David Gilmour) 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.”

The album was recorded at Super Bear Studios in France between December 1977 and early January 1978 with engineer John Etchells. Then the album was mixed at the same studio in March 1978 by Nick Griffiths. The cover was done by Hipgnosis and Gilmour.

There was no credit for playing guitar (which Gilmour did) on the original EMI pressings of the original album LP-cover. Gilmour is credited for contributing “Keyboards, Vocals”. The CBS/Columbia pressings (outside Europe) listed Gilmour for contributing “Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals”.

The album’s only single was “There’s No Way Out of Here” which flopped in Europe but did extremely well on American FM rock radio. The song was originally recorded by the band Unicorn (which Gilmour produced) in 1976 as “No Way Out of Here” for their album Too Many Crooks and was later covered by Monster Magnet on their Monolithic Baby! album.

The album is a Joker’s Wild reunion of sorts, with Rick Wills and Willie Wilson joining Gilmour for the recording of the album.

One of the tunes he wrote at the time, but did not use, evolved into the Pink Floyd classic “Comfortably Numb” from The Wall. However, one song included on this album, “So Far Away”, used a chorus progression not unlike the chorus to “Comfortably Numb”, albeit in a different key.

The instrumental song “Raise My Rent” includes bits that would later be resurrected in the Pink Floyd songs “What Do You Want from Me?”, “Hey You” and “Keep Talking”.

A slightly different version of the song “Short and Sweet” can also be found on collaborator Roy Harper’s 1980 album, The Unknown Soldier. Musically, “Short and Sweet” can be seen as a precursor to “Run Like Hell” (also from The Wall), with its shifting chords over a D pedal point, and a flanged guitar in Drop D tuning.[1]

David Gilmour was re-released by EMI Records in Europe as a digitally remastered CD on August 14, 2006. Legacy Recordings/Columbia Records released the remastered CD in the US and Canada on September 12, 2006.

History
“Mihalis” is Greek for Michael, and was the name of a yacht Gilmour owned at the time.

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 additional female backing singers on “There’s No Way Out of Here” and “So Far Away”. 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. The track “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 the song “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 whilst 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.

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 #29 (which until 2006’s On an Island was Gilmour’s highest charting solo album in the U.S.) and eventually going Gold.

REVIEW by Ned Raggett, allmusic.com
By the time of David Gilmour’s solo debut, he had not only established himself several times over as an underrated, powerful guitarist in Pink Floyd, but as a remarkably emotional singer, his soothing approach perfectly suited to such songs as “Wish You Were Here.” The self-titled album, recorded with journeyman bassist Rick Wills and Sutherland Brothers drummer Willie Wilson, later to be part of the touring Floyd lineup for its Wall dates, isn’t a deathless collection of music in comparison to Gilmour’s group heights, but is a reasonably pleasant listen nonetheless. Certainly it’s much more approachable than Animals, released earlier that year, eschewing epics for relatively shorter, reflective numbers. While Gilmour wrote the vast majority of the songs himself, the most successful number was co-written with Unicorn member Ken Baker: “There’s No Way Out of Here,” an agreeably dreamy, wistful song featuring an attractive acoustic slide guitar/harmonica hook. That it sounds a bit like a Pink Floyd outtake certainly doesn’t hurt, but one figures Roger Waters would have tried for some heavily barbed lyrics to offset the melancholy. Throughout the album Gilmour sounds like he’s having some jamming fun with his compatriots in his own particular blues-meets-the Home Counties style, adding keyboard overdubs here and there (his efforts are passable, but it’s understandable why he’s known for his guitar work first and foremost). Numbers of note include “Cry From the Street,” with its fully rocked-out conclusion, the sweetly sad “So Far Away,” one of his best vocal showcases, and the concluding “I Can’t Breathe Anymore,” capturing the recurrent Pink Floyd theme of isolation quite well. While one would be hard-pressed to hum a memorable melody outside of “There’s No Way Out of Here,” it’s still a good enough experience for those who enjoy his work.

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