5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Pink Floyd's David Gilmour

David Gilmour etched his name in rock history as the co-lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for Pink Floyd. But there's a lot more to him than the massive hits that he recorded with one of the biggest bands of all time.  To celebrate his 71st birthday today, here are 5 things you might not know about Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

1. Humble Beginnings

Prior to joining Pink Floyd, David GIlmour played in a few groups that went nowhere - on the charts, at least. In 1967, he toured Europe with a band called Bullitt, who had nothing but bad luck. Audiences didn't enjoy their covers of current hits and club owners stiffed them after sets. When the group returned to London, they were so poor that they had to push their van off the ferry because they couldn't afford gas.

2. Pre-Floyd Recordings

We hate to knock a rock legend, but audiences were right about Gilmour's early covers. In the mid 60s, the band Jokers Wild - featuring Gilmour on vocals and guitar - cut an eponymous album featuring their takes on hits by groups like The Four Seasons. The results were underwhelming. Many of the songs sound like the sort of cheap covers you hear in movies that can't afford the rights to the original recordings.

3. Helping A Former Floyd

Gilmour essentially replaced enigmatic singer/songwriter Syd Barrett when he joined Pink Floyd at the end of 1967. But there were no hard feelings between the two musicians. In fact, Gilmour went on to co-produce Barrett's album 'The Madcap Laughs' (1970).

Gilmour's contributions to Syd Barrett's debut included reworking the album's single 'Octopus.'

4. Gilmour's Day Off

Gilmour went on to co-produce a number of other artists, including the folksy pop group The Dream Academy. The English band didn't achieve the sort of success they'd hoped for. But thanks to Gilmour's work, The Dream Academy immortalized themselves in film history by contributing the songs 'Edge of Forever' and their cover of The Smiths' 'Please, Please Please Let Me Get What I Want' to the soundtrack for 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (1986). 

5. Synth Popstar

Gilmour has collaborated with many musicians over the years. And he lent Duran Duran some artistic cred in 1985. After rocketing up the charts in the early 80s, Duran Duran members Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor wanted to take a break from arena pop. So they teamed up with Gilmour and other musicians to record the artsy album 'So Red the Rose' under the band name Arcadia.  

Gilmour played guitar on more than half the tracks on the platinum album that Kelvin Hayes of AllMusic.com called "the best album Duran Duran never made". 

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