The guitarist David Gilmour called “scarily brilliant”

David Gilmour, the guitar virtuoso of Pink Floyd, is widely revered for his technical prowess, evoking a sense of awe and admiration among fellow guitarists. However, Gilmour, ever self-aware, acknowledges certain gaps in his skill set, recognizing that one late musician excelled in areas where he might fall short.

Gilmour’s love affair with the guitar blossomed in his early years, influenced by acts like Bill Haley and the Everly Brothers. Despite being academically capable, music held an irresistible allure, and upon finishing school, Gilmour embarked on a journey to forge a career in France with two friends, playing in bands along the way.

Returning to the United Kingdom, Gilmour’s longstanding acquaintance with Pink Floyd presented an opportunity as they sought an additional member due to Syd Barrett’s declining mental health. This marked the turning point for Gilmour, transforming his passion into a full-fledged career.

It was around this time that Gilmour was introduced to the captivating sounds of Jeff Beck, then playing with The Yardbirds. A blues connoisseur, Gilmour holds Beck in the highest regard, not only for his exceptional range but also for his forward-thinking approach to his career. Beck’s willingness to explore new avenues and take on adventurous projects resonated deeply with Gilmour, reflecting a shared mindset.

In a 2015 interview with Guitar World, Gilmour expressed his profound admiration for Beck: “I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff. Ever since ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ came out [in 1967] when I was 20-odd years old, I’ve revered him and his playing. In many ways, he is just the best guitar player. And 40-something years since he came to prominence in the Yardbirds, he is still the only person pushing forward in that way. He’s never retreading old ground; he’s always looking for a new challenge.”

Highlighting the differences in their approaches, Gilmour continued: “Jeff’s scarily brilliant. He’s a tightrope walker. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and make myself secure with a great band, with the music all rehearsed. I just walk out there, and if I didn’t even play anything it would still sound great. Jeff’s different. He’s out there mining that seam.”

Fortunately, Gilmour had the chance to share the stage with his hero before Beck’s untimely passing in 2023 due to bacterial meningitis. The British icons collaborated at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 2009, performing ‘Silver Lining’ and the aptly chosen ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining,’ the very song that ignited Gilmour’s enduring fascination with Beck.

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