Sunday Music – Learning To Fly

Posted on Sun 08/06/2017 by


Today’s music video is Learning To Fly and the song is performed here by the English group Pink Floyd.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by Pink Floyd

Not all that long after I started my large collection of vinyl LPs, I learned not to read too many album reviews from music journalists, because more often than not, even though we were both listening to the same album from the same artist or band, it was almost like we were listening to two entirely different albums, and had I paid close attention to what the reviewer was writing, then I feel sure that a lot of the albums I do have would not be in that collection at all, albums I really do enjoy listening to, even now.

Pink Floyd was, and still is my favourite band, and I have all 15 of their studio albums on vinyl, and that’s no easy thing, considering that their last three albums, released in 1987, 1994, and 2014 were all in the time of the CD.

This song I have featured today, Learning To Fly is from the first mentioned of those last three albums, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason, released in 1987.

This album actually crept up on me without my knowing. I was already a huge fan, and had 10 of their earlier 12 albums before this was released. I had however forgotten that they might actually be releasing any new material, considering that Roger Waters had left the band by now, so I sort of expected that they might fold as a band.

I won’t go through how and where I first heard this album again, as I have previously mentioned it when I made a post in 2009, detailing exactly that, and it’s worth reading so this is the link to that Post.

I mentioned that Roger Waters had left the band, after being one of their founding members back in 1965. In between hearing this album for the first time and getting hold of the CD I did chase up some writing about it, and virtually everything I read was negative. I remembered back to when I was gathering that large collection and ignored those reviews and the writings about the band, now being lead by David Gilmour, and with the other two members Nick Mason and (the late) Rick Wright.

The general gist of virtually every review that this album was a pale copy of earlier music, that the band was only a shadow of its former self without the huge creative talent of Roger Waters, and that there were really no songs on the album that could be recognised as coming from the band which did include Roger Waters.

The band decided to do a tour on the back of the new album, something they had not done since 1977, so the tour was approached with some doubts at first. The tour was originally scheduled for perhaps three Months. It was so popular, the tour eventually extended for a week or so short of two years. They visited a number of Counties on this Worldwide tour, played 197 concerts with an estimated 5.5 million people attending those concerts. The band was the biggest earning act of those two years, 1987 and 1988, and the tour was reprised for a further three Months in 1989. Early on in the tour, Roger Waters was also touring his new album Radio K.A.O.S. While he played to audiences in much smaller venues of around 5,000 to 8,000, and as many as 16,000 people at his biggest gig, which is still a large concert, Pink Floyd were playing Stadiums with audiences regularly between 50,000 and 80,000 with one concert in Canada drawing almost 150,000 people.

Roger Waters was reported to say at the time of the album’s release that it had no music he would consider playing. While David Gilmour was now the driving force behind Pink Floyd, he said that his intent was to get back to the earlier music of the band from the time around Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. Later on in years as Roger Waters opinion mellowed somewhat, he did say that there was some good music on the album.

Despite reports from journalists that the band was a hollow shell without Waters, the crowds at those concerts proved otherwise.

The album itself debuted at Number Three in both the UK and also in the U.S. album charts, and so far has been certified a multi platinum seller in both Countries.

The song I have featured today, Learning To Fly was the Single lifted off the album, and again, this band was more famous for its albums than any Singles they released, so it didn’t chart all that well at all in either Country.

This is the official video clip of the song and it of itself was a hit, garnering an award for original video clip.

The album cover, shown above, was, as usual designed by long time Pink Floyd artwork man Storm Thorgerson. The image is of hundreds of hospital beds arranged on the beach at Staunton Sands in Devon in the UK. It took two weeks to set up, and was photographed by Robert Dowling, and the image won him a Photographers Award.

Storm Thorgerson also directed this video clip, which is the official video for this song. The video was filmed in Canada, near Calgary, and includes footage of a Native American turning into a hawk, hence the title Learning To Fly. The live shots of the band playing the song were taken from one of the venues for that huge tour, and show David Gilmour playing his regular guitar on that tour, the beautiful Candy Apple coloured Fender Stratocaster, the guitar he used mostly after Waters left the band.

While this album often features well down the list when it comes to any music writer’s list of best albums by the band, it is actually Number four on my personal list, and in fact, in my opinion, achieves exactly what David Gilmour set out to do, take the bands music back to the years of those big three albums from the early and mid 1970’s.

Posted in: Music, Videos