Now anyone who knows me knows I am a fan (understatement) of Pink Floyd. If you aren't familiar with the band, Gilmour was not only the guitar player and lead singer (NOT Roger Waters, like idiots think), but he also wrote a good 80% of the music with keyboardist Richard Wright (RIP)... and although Rick is my personal favourite member of Pink Floyd (and it is my opinion that HE brought the true "Floyd sound" over any of the other three, but that's a different topic), I still hold a lot (and I do mean a lot) of love for David.
A lot of people, while aware of his music with Pink Floyd, remain very ignorant of David's solo career... so I am going to briefly write about that, generally ignoring the band's music.
"There's No Way Out of Here"
Gilmour's first solo album (self-titled) was released in 1978. Both he and Rick had been generally left out of the writing process for the next Floyd album (The Wall), which resulted in both releasing solo albums that year. Gilmour's was definitely the strongest of the two and even had some (mildly) hit singles. He brought in a couple friends from a previous band, Joker's Wild, as session musicians, so the "old home" feel probably had a lot to do with the polished feel of the album.
"Short and Sweet"
In 1984 a year after the next Floyd album he had no input on (The Final Cut), his second album, About Face, was released. A step up from his first album, the music was still pure Gilmour. There were also a few rock radio hits off About Face, the whole album being a bit more radio-friendly than his first.
While the production in whole is typical of the 1980's, I personally like this album better than his (relatively solo) Pink Floyd album from 1987, A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Perhaps it was just that he was far more relaxed at being himself than he was at carrying a whole band.
"Near The End"
Then after 22 years, two (Roger Waters-less) Pink Floyd albums, some lawsuits, and a few tours with and without the band, David released what I feel is his crowning achievement, as far as the past 35 years are concerned: On An Island.
"On An Island" (Live)
For this third solo album, he enlisted the help of Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera, very early Floyd member Bob Klose, David Crosby, Graham Nash, and a few other notable people... such as a musically refreshed (yet secretly close to dying) Richard Wright. The result is a fantastic and very mature album that I consider the most "Floydian" thing released since 1975's Wish You Were Here.
The sound of much of the album actually reflects back to the earlier "soundtracking random foreign films" era of Pink Floyd, between the Syd Barrett days and The Dark Side of The Moon. What is noticeable the most to me (as an aforementioned Rick Wright fan), is Rick's influence on many of the songs, both musically and vocally. This is by no means a bad thing, as the two of them together has always made for some of the most wonderful music.
The tour for On An Island resulted in two completely different DVD releases, one with Crosby and Nash and more representative of the tour; the other being a special performance in Gdańsk, Poland, complete with a full orchestra behind them. The shows not only included the new album in its entirety, but also plenty of classic (and not heard in a long time) Pink Floyd songs.
Well, that pretty much sums it up for David Gilmour's solo career as of yet. While I hope he continues to write and record (and perform) music throughout the coming years, the man has already given us plenty to enjoy. His music and style has influenced many younger generations of musicians, and I'm sure it will continue to for many more.
Happy birthday, Dave!