David Gilmour

On this date in 1946, singer-songwriter David Jon Gilmour was born in Cambridge, England. His father lectured in zoology at Cambridge University and his mother worked as a teacher. Gilmour and Roger “Syd” Barrett played guitar together at the Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology. Gilmour formed several bands and in 1967 joined Barrett’s band Pink Floyd. Gilmour’s unique guitar and vocal talents were featured in the third-most successful studio album of all time, “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973).

Gilmour led Pink Floyd after Roger Waters left in 1985. Under his direction, Pink Floyd recorded the albums “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” (1985), “The Division Bell” (1994) and “P.U.L.S.E.” (1995). Pink Floyd won a Grammy for the instrumental “Marooned,” composed by Gilmour and Richard Wright for “The Division Bell.” It’s the only track by the band to ever win a Grammy. In 1996 the band was inducted into the U.S. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received the same honor in the United Kingdom in 2005. Their last album, “The Endless River,” was in 2014. Wright died in 2008. 

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), went multi-platinum. 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.

In a Chicago Tribune story (March 31, 2006), Gilmour said: “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. 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.”

Gilmour’s most recent albums as of this writing are “Rattle That Lock” (2015) and “Live at Pompeii” (2017). Gilmour in 2022 blocked all sales of his digital recordings and much of the Pink Floyd catalog in Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine, and reunited with Pink Floyd to record “Hey, Hey Rise Up” featuring singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox.

Gilmour married American-born model and artist Virginia “Ginger” Hasenbein in 1975. They have four children and divorced in 1990. In 1994 he married writer and lyricist Polly Samson, with whom he has four more children.

He raised $21.5 million in 2019 from a Christie’s sale of over 120 of his instruments and artifacts. He donated the proceeds to ClientEarth, a charity which fights legal battles to preserve a sustainable global climate and environment.

PHOTO: Gilmour in 2005; Andy MacLarty photo. CC 2.0

Freedom From Religion Foundation