Sunday Music – On The Turning Away

Posted on Sun 11/22/2009 by


Today’s music video is ‘On The Turning Away’ from Pink Floyd.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by DavidGilmourHD

I hope you’ll grant me this small indulgence of playing one of my absolute favoutite songs from my favourite band, Pink Floyd.

This highlights another example of how each generation thinks that they are the ones who invented music.

When I first heard the song, I was still in the Air Force. I was at the Royal Australian Air Force’s  Trades Training School in Wagga Wagga, teaching the Electrical trade to new guys, and in this case, it was a class of 15 young Apprentices, all aged around 17 or 18.

It was December of 1987, and getting close to that time of year when the young guys were preparing for their Christmas leave break away from training. It was a Practical based subject, with no desk bound theoretical component, so I used to allow the guys to play music while they were doing their Practical work. I came back after morning tea and the guys were already into their work. This exact song was playing and I stood almost dumbfounded when I heard the guitar work. One of the guys came up to me and asked if it was too loud. I told him, no, that was how David Gilmour should be played. Now it was his turn to look dumbfounded. The album had only just been released here in Oz, and he asked how I knew it was David Gilmour, you know, me being so old at 36, in the eyes of a 17 year old. He handed me the cassette case. He had taped the album, so it just the handwritten titles of the songs from the album ‘A Momentary Lapse Of Reason’, and he seemed struck dumb that I actually liked Pink Floyd. He told me that he also had their first album, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, as well as the band’s double opus, ‘The Wall’. I just smiled and he asked what seemed so funny, and then I told him that the ‘Dark Side’ album was in fact the band’s eighth album, not including the 5 Compilation albums, all prior to that one. He just shook his head that an ‘old guy’ liked the same sort of music as he did, as well as all the other guys in the room, who also seemed stunned as well, as some of them had gathered round.

That album got played a lot in that last week, and I eventually dropped a successful hint for a Christmas present.

This album was the first studio album after Roger Waters had left the band in 1985. Waters said that Floyd was becoming a spent force, and he struck out on his own. Gilmour now gathered around him a tight group of musicians to join him and Nick Mason (drums), and Rick Wright. (keyboards) This was a distinct move away from the Waters led Floyd sound of so many years, and is credited almost as a Gilmour solo album. There was legal problems over use of the name Pink Floyd, stemming from Waters himself, and the bad feeling between him and the other three. Waters was well into a very strong solo career, and had released a big selling solo album at around the same time as this Floyd album. After the legal impasse was worked out, this was the first time back in the studio as Floyd, and this album is the result from that. It received widespread critical acclaim, mostly because reviewers all assumed Floyd could not actually be Floyd without Waters. Notwithstanding, it sold extremely well, and the album was a huge chart success, even if it did not make Number One that five earlier Floyd albums did, this one topping out at Number 2. It sold enough to make the album four times multi platinum.

The band took the album on tour in 1987. The tour was originally scheduled for 11 weeks. The first part of the tour was in the UK, and also North America, and lasted 18 weeks. The band took a 6 week break over the Christmas of 1987, and then resumed the tour with this time a World tour that lasted a further 7 months, so that original 11 week tour turned into a more than 200 concert tour lasting just under 12 months, and the tour was reprised in 1989 for a further 2 months through Europe. That tour was made into a hugely selling Video and later DVD as well as a double album of songs taken from the tour and released as ‘The Delicate Sound Of Thunder’ album, the last Floyd album to use primarily vinyl as the main release for their albums.

This clip features an extended guitar break from Gilmour, and in my opinion is the best version of this song. As you view the clip, be aware that this tour was in 1987, 88, and 89. The light show behind the band is still as good as some you see these days from the big band tours, so for 12 years ago, this was THE best light show going around. It’s a long clip, and wonderfully shows Gimour’s expressive guitar work that is immediately recognised as his style alone. The Guitar he is using here is his Candy Apple Fender Stratocaster 1957 reissue, this version made in 1984, and the one he used after the Waters split. His most used guitar is a 1969 Fender Strat, modified over the years. The tone from this guitar especially is distinctive of the way Gilmour plays especially here with his use of the phrasing and sustained notes, and his use of the Tremolo arm.

The acrimony between Waters and the rest of the band persisted for some time, and it was only for the Live 8 concert in 2005 that all 4 members appeared on the same stage again, after a hiatus of 25 years since the last live performance.

When asked what he thought of this first Pink Floyd album without him, Waters said that it was a pretty fair forgery. Later his opinion mellowed, and he said that there was some music from it that he could have worked with.

Sadly original founding member Syd Barrett died in 2006. He left after Floyd’s second album replaced by his good friend David Gimour.

Two years later Richard Wright also passed away, and here’s the link to that post.

The name of the band itself is something always discussed. The name is a compilation of two men who Syd Barrett had in his vast record collection, the legendary Blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council from the 50’s and early 60’s. Originally the band name selected was ‘The Pink Floyd Sound’, soon just to become just Pink Floyd.

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