The guitarist David Gilmour called “scarily brilliant”

David Gilmour

The technical prowess of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour fills most guitarists with equal parts awe and amazement. However, he is self-aware enough to recognize that certain aspects of his skill set are lacking which one late musician possessed in spades.

Gilmour’s interest in guitar began at a young age, thanks to acts such as Bill Haley and the Everly Brothers. Despite his academic abilities, music was all he ever wanted to do with his life. After graduating from high school, Gilmour, who had already performed in bands, attempted to launch a career in France with two friends.

When he returned to the United Kingdom, David Gilmour joined Pink Floyd. It was the band he’d known for many years. Due to Syd Barrett’s increasingly fragile mental health, they needed an extra member. It provided an opportunity for Gilmour to turn his passion into a career.

Around the same time, Gilmour was introduced to Jeff Beck’s erratic sounds as a member of The Yardbirds. The Pink Floyd guitarist has always been a fan of the blues, and Beck, in his opinion, is the pinnacle.

While Gilmour admired Beck’s vast arsenal, he also admired his forward-thinking approach to his career. Beck always put one foot in front of the other. They embarked on daring projects that broadened his horizons, a personality trait shared by Gilmour.

In a 2015 interview with Guitar World, Gilmour gushed about his colleague. He said, “I’m sort of horribly, pathetically fannish about Jeff.” I’ve admired him and his playing since ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ came out [in 1967] when I was about 20 years old. In many ways, he is simply the best guitarist. 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.”

Jeff’s frighteningly brilliant,” he continued. He walks a tightrope. I’m not. I like to cover all my bases and feel secure with a great band and well-rehearsed music. I just walk out there, and it sounds great even if I don’t play anything. Jeff is unique. He’s out there looking for that seam.”

Thankfully, Gilmour was able to share the stage with his hero before Beck died at the beginning of 2023 from a bacterial meningitis infection. In 2009, the two British icons performed ‘Silver Lining’ and, appropriately, ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining,’ the song that sparked Gilmour’s obsession with Beck, at London’s Royal Albert Hall.


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