David Gilmour

On this date in 1946, legendary British singer, songwriter and guitarist David Jon Gilmour was born in Cambridge, England. Gilmour’s father lectured in zoology at Cambridge University and his mother worked as a teacher. Gilmour met Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett while growing up in Cambridge and the two played guitar together at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology. Gilmour formed several bands in the 1960s and, in 1967, joined Pink Floyd, a band Barrett had started in 1965, as a singer and guitarist. Gilmour’s unique guitar and vocal talent were featured in the third most successful album of all time, Pink Floyd’s "The Dark Side of the Moon" (1973). Gilmour gained control of Pink Floyd after Roger Waters left the group in 1985. Under his direction, Pink Floyd produced the albums "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" (1985), "The Division Bell" (1994) and "P.U.L.S.E." (1995). Pink Floyd won a Grammy Award for an instrumental called “Marooned,” composed by Gilmour and Richard Wright, on the 1994 album. In 1996, the band was inducted into the US Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received the same honor in the United Kingdom in 2005.

In addition to his success with Pink Floyd, Gilmour had several hit solo albums including a self-titled chart-topper in 1978, and "About Face" in 1984. His third solo album, "On An Island" (2006), soared in the charts and hit multi-platinum status around the world. Gilmour received the prestigious Ivor award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 from the British Association of Composers and Songwriters. He was honored in 2005 with the distinguished CBE title (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to music and his philanthropic work. Notable among his charitable deeds, he sold his London home in 2003 and gave the £3.6 million proceeds to a homeless charity. A Telegraph (U.K.) article remarked about his album "On An Island": “The theme of the new album – those Pink Floyd habits die hard – is mortality. One song, ‘This Heaven,’ reflects Gilmour’s atheism” (“Still on the Dark Side” by Nigel Farndale, May 28, 2006). Gilmour said of the song, “It extols the virtues of living in the moment and accepting your mortality. Perhaps the closest I will get to immortality will be through 'Dark Side of the Moon' ” (Telegraph 2006). “When you get to 60, one of your preoccupations is that the life you have ahead of you is quite a lot shorter than the life you have behind you. You can't help thinking about that,” said Gilmour. “It's something inside all of us, even though I'm not a believer in God or an afterlife. I'm an atheist. I'm sort of resigned to my lot in life, and content in it” (“About those Pink Floyd reunion rumors,” by Greg Kot in The Chicago Tribune, March 31, 2006).

“This earthly heaven is enough for me. . . ”

—David Gilmour lyrics from “This Heaven,” a song from his solo album "On An Island" (2006).

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch; Photo by Northfoto / Shutterstock.com

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