David Jon Gilmour was born March 6th, 1946 near the Grantchester Meadows area of Cambridge, England. His father, Douglas Gilmour, was a senior lecturer in zoology at the University of Cambridge and his mother, Sylvia, was a teacher. He is best known for his strong role as a guitarist, singer and songwriter in the world-renowned group, Pink Floyd.
Gilmour attended The Perse School on Hills Road, Cambridge, and met future Pink Floyd bandmate Syd Barrett who attended Cambridgeshire High school for Boys, also situated on Hills Road. They would practice guitar on their lunch breaks but never considered forming a band until much later.
In 1963 David joined the band Joker’s Wild, but left soon after in 1966 to busk (perform publicly) around Spain and France for a while with some friends. Living a hand-to-mouth existence proved to be too much for the group and inevitably took its toll. Gilmour was eventually taken to a hospital to be treated for malnutrition. They finally returned to England having had to resort to stealing gasoline from a building site in France.
In 1967 David was asked to join Pink Floyd to back up then current lead guitarist (Syd Barrett) on stage, briefly making Floyd a five piece set, consisting of Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, Roger Waters, and Syd Barrett. When Syd Barrett “left” the group (the band chose not to pick him up one night for a gig due to his increasingly LSD-induced unresponsive behavior on stage), Gilmour by default assumed the role of the band’s lead-guitarist and shared lead-vocal duties with Roger Waters and Richard Wright in Barrett’s stead.
Gilmour’s guitar playing and song writing became major factors of the Pink Floyd phenomenon during the 1970s. However, after the back-to-back successes of first Dark Side of the Moon, and then Wish You Were Here, Waters took more and more control over the band. He wrote most of Animals and The Wall by himself. (Richard Wright was fired during The Wall sessions based on creative differences with Roger Waters. Wright continued to be involved in the band, regaining full membership in 1994). The relationship between Gilmour and Waters also deteriorated during the making of The Wall film and the 1983 Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.
During Pink Floyd’s quiet spells, David Gilmour has kept busy as a producer and even concert sound engineer, for a wide variety of acts including former bandmate Syd Barrett, Kate Bush, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, Elton John, B.B. King, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Sam Brown, Jools Holland, Bob Dylan, The Who, Supertramp, Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Alan Parsons, and many more, including various charity “super-groups.”
He has also recorded two solo albums which both hit the U.S. Top 40 and went gold, his 1978 self-titled debut and the 1984 About Face. His third released album was On an Island, which was recorded on a houseboat he had converted into a recording studio. On an Island went platinum in Canada and hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts.
David Gilmour’s alluring music style has inspired millions of people all over the world and has helped develop a new more open genre of music. He has been acclaimed #82 in the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine and has helped millions of people worldwide with his philanthropy and generous charitable donations. For example, he recently sold his London house in Little Venice to Earl Spencer and contributed the £3.6 million (US $5.9 million) he made to a housing project for the homeless and mentally ill.
Gilmour played with Pink Floyd — including Roger Waters — at Live 8. The performance caused a temporary 1,343% sales increase of Pink Floyd’s album Echoes; the Best of Pink Floyd. As a result, Gilmour vowed to donate all of his resulting profits to charities that reflect the goals of Live 8 saying:
Though the main objective has been to raise consciousness and put pressure on the G8 leaders, I will not profit from the concert. This is money that should be used to save lives.
He now lives with his girlfriend Polly Samson, a journalist who also contributed to some of The Division Bell‘s lyrics. He enjoys aviation as a second hobby. Among great friends he counted comedy sci-fi author Douglas Adams, who died on May 11, 2001 from a heart attack while working out in a gym in Santa Barbara, California.
I’m an atheist, and I don’t have any belief in an afterlife, you could say that I’m resigned to the fact that this wonderful life that we get here is it. And having hit 60, it’s a good time to get resigned to these things and not be too nervous or upset – and enjoy what great times one can have.