The Major Influence on David Gilmour’s Legendary Guitar Journey

David Gilmour, the renowned guitarist and singer of Pink Floyd, is a name synonymous with excellence in the world of rock music. His contributions to Progressive Rock have left an indelible mark, propelling Pink Floyd to the status of one of the best-selling bands of all time.

With over 250 million records sold worldwide, Gilmour’s influence on younger generations of guitarists is undeniable. But every artist has their own muses and mentors, and for Gilmour, one guitarist stood out as a “major influence.”

Gilmour’s journey with Pink Floyd began in 1967, a time when the rock and roll landscape was undergoing significant transformations. As the band evolved, so did their sound. Syd Barrett’s departure due to mental health issues marked a turning point, leading Pink Floyd on a path towards their iconic album, “The Dark Side of The Moon” (1973).

In a revealing interview with French Guitarist and Bass magazine in 2009, David Gilmour opened up about his musical influences, pinpointing Jimi Hendrix as his major source of inspiration. It’s fascinating to note that Pink Floyd had once served as Hendrix’s opening act during a modest tour across England, shortly before Gilmour joined the band.

Gilmour expressed, “He’s a major influence on me in terms of playing. But it’s harder to pinpoint how the people you admire influence you when you start composing. It’s the whole story of the music you hear in your head compared to what comes out when you play. The music in my head came first from Leadbelly, then the Beatles, then Eric Clapton and Hendrix. What happened next is another story.”

Recalling a pivotal moment in his musical journey, Gilmour shared his experience of watching Jimi Hendrix perform live to a small audience in 1966. Hendrix’s unconventional approach to playing the guitar, even turning it upside down, left a lasting impact on Gilmour and the entire audience.

“I went to a club in south Kensington in 1966. This kid got on stage with Brian Auger and the Trinity. (He started to play) the guitar with the other way around (upside down) and started playing. Myself and the whole place was with their jaws hanging open,” reminisced Gilmour.

It was during this time that Gilmour’s fascination with Hendrix’s music began, leading him to seek out Hendrix’s recordings, despite the initial confusion at record shops.

In a twist of fate, David Gilmour found himself not only witnessing Hendrix’s live performance but also contributing to the mixing of his sound at the Isle Of Wight festival in 1970. Gilmour’s recollections of this event shed light on his admiration for the American guitar virtuoso.

When asked about his interaction with Hendrix that day, Gilmour told Prog Magazine in 2019: “Not then. I had met him previous to that, once. I didn’t know him.”

In the world of rock music, the legacy of Jimi Hendrix continues to reverberate through the melodies and memories of legendary musicians like David Gilmour. The impact of Hendrix’s innovative guitar prowess on Gilmour’s own journey is undeniable, as it helped shape the sound that Pink Floyd fans cherish to this day. Hendrix’s music, forever etched in the hearts of artists, serves as a timeless testament to the power of inspiration in the world of music.

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