The Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour often appears among the first positions of lists from the greatest guitarists of all time. His work with the Progressive Rock is undeniable and his guitar playing was fundamental to take the band’s music one step further in their career, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. The British group had simply sold an estimated amount of more than 250 million records worldwide.
He was a huge inspiration for guitarists from younger generations and continues to be heard by young players. But of course, as every aspiring guitarist, Gilmour himself had to be influenced by an older player and there is one that he mentioned as a “major influence”.
The guitarist that David Gilmour said was a major influence
David Gilmour was invited to join Pink Floyd in 1967, when there were many revolutions in Rock and Roll music happening at the same time. As the music evolved, Pink Floyd also changed. Syd Barrett was fired from the band because of the state of his mental health which prevented him from working with the group. That change made the band’s sound change over the following years until their masterpiece “The Dark Side of The Moon” (1973) was recorded.
In an interview with French Guitarist and Bass magazine back in 2009, the guitar player talked about his influences and revealed that it was Jimi Hendrix, who died only a few years after he joined Pink Floyd, which was his major influence. Curiously, the Progressive Rock band was Hendrix‘s opening act during a small tour across England before Gilmour joined them.
“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,” David Gilmour said.
“The Wind Cries Mary” is one of his favorite Jimi Hendrix’s songs
In an interview with “Tracks Of My Years” in 2006 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Gilmour recalled that he had the chance to see the American guitarist playing live to a small audience before he had a solo career. The Pink Floyd member was lucky enough to have seen Hendrix when he was playing with Brian Auger and The Trinity back in 1966.
He told that story after saying that “The Wind Cries Mary” is one of his favorite Hendrix’s tracks. The song was released as a single in 1967.
“Jimi Hendrix, fantastic. 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.”
David Gilmour continued:
“I went to the next day to record shops. I said ‘You’ve got anything by this guy Jimi Hendrix?’ They said ‘Well, we’ve got a James Hendrix’. He hadn’t yet done anything. So I became rather an avid fan waiting for his first release. Also this is one of his beautiful ballads that I really love,” David Gilmour said.
A few years later, in 1970, Gilmour curiously had the chance to not only see Hendrix playing live. He also to help to mix his sound at the Isle Of Wight festival. The British player was hanging around when a friend asked for help because he was going to mix Hendrix’s show. When asked if he had to chance to see the American player that day, he told Prog Magazine in 2019: “Not then. I had met him previous to that, once. I didn’t know him.”