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David Gilmour was the guitarist and singer for the British rock band Pink Floyd. He is also an aviator and philanthropist.
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Born in England in 1946, David Gilmour played in only one band before joining Pink Floyd in 1967. As guitarist and singer for Pink Floyd, he wrote hits like "Comfortably Numb," and produced A Momentary Lapse of Reason. He has also released four solo albums, is an experienced pilot, and is known for his work with charities around the world.
David Jon Gilmour, the first child of Douglas and Sylvia Gilmour, was born on March 6, 1946 in Cambridge, England. He went to school with Syd Barrett and knew Roger Waters, who went to a school nearby. As a teenager, Gilmour learned to play the guitar, and from 1962 to '66, he played in a band called Joker's Wild. After he left the band, he traveled around Europe as a busker for a year. He barely made enough to live, however, and was hospitalized for malnutrition.
Late in 1967, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason asked Gilmour to join the band. Founding guitarist Syd Barrett was floundering because of heavy psychedelic drug use and was often unable to play, and the group hired Gilmour as a second guitarist to cover for him. Barrett left the band in early 1968, leaving Gilmour to become the lead guitarist and main singer.
The band achieved enormous commercial success with songs like "Wish You Were Here" and albums like The Dark Side of the Moon, and Waters began to assert greater authority and control. Waters wrote the bulk of Animals and The Wall without first getting input from his bandmates, and tensions mounted. Gilmour felt that his talents weren't being utilized, so began working on his own projects. In 1978, after recording Animals with Pink Floyd, Gilmour released his first solo album. One of the songs written too late to be included on the album became Pink Floyd's famed song, "Comfortably Numb."
The relationship between Gilmour and Waters continued to deteriorate, and Gilmour produced his second solo album, About Face, in 1984. He later said that recording the album was a way to distance himself from Pink Floyd. When Waters left the group in 1986, Gilmour stepped to the helm and produced A Momentary Lapse of Reason. He and Mason also teamed up to fight Waters, who filed a lawsuit with the intent of preventing the remaining band members from using the name Pink Floyd.
Gilmour has released four solo albums over the course of his career. In addition to the two that he recorded while with Pink Floyd, he released a third album, On an Island, on his 60th birthday in 2006, and a fourth album with The Orb, titled Metallic Spheres, in 2010. He also continued to tour, both to promote his albums and participate in charity concerts.
Gilmour has been married twice. He married Ginger Hasenbein in 1974, and they have four children together before divorcing in 1990. In 1994, Gilmour married novelist Polly Samson, and they had four children of their own. He recently confessed that he had a cocaine problem while he was touring with Pink Floyd, but quit after he met Samson.
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The 1960s were a time of significant cultural and social change in London. The post-World War II era, coined "Swinging London," saw a youth-driven shift in culture, from old to new. Symbolized by famous faces like English supermodels Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy to "British Invasion" rock bands like the Beatles and Cream, the era created a fresh and modern approach to everything from fashion to music to cultural attitudes. Biography.com looks at the inspirational forces behind the "Swinging London" revolution.
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