Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face

Like Lennon and McCartney after the Beatles split and Henley and Frey after the split of the Eagles, I wonder if Roger Waters and David Gilmour were entwined in some music one-upsmanship after the imagined Pink Floyd split following the last album with Waters, “The Final Cut.” Early in the year, we were treated to Roger’s album, “The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” which I’ve already posted about. In the months that followed, Pink Floyd guitarist, David Gilmour, released his solo album, “About Face.”

One thing I will never do is allow myself to be dragged into any debate as to which was the better album between Waters and Gilmour. Don’t even ask because even after thirty-three years, I couldn’t give an answer. I like both of them very much.

Some critic back then stated that “About Face” had a commercial feel that Pink Floyd were never bothered with. I would never call this album commercial, even if in a 2006 interview, Gilmour stated that he thought that it was too 80s. Well, maybe it was for him. In my not so humble opinion, I think that the album doesn’t go too far from the Pink Floyd formula. While I wouldn’t call the opening track typically Floyd, I do think “Until We Sleep” a cool space rock tune. I can easily listen to it while puffing the magic dragon and might have done so. However, the next two tracks are definitely Pink Floyd style tracks. The first of these, “Murder” was written in angry reaction to the senseless murder of John Lennon. On the track, Gilmour really vents that anger with a hair raising guitar solo. “Blue Light” has a funky jazz beat with the horns and this song is probably the farthest song from the traditional Pink Floyd trademark. I like it regardless.

“Out of the Blue” goes back to more familiar territory, nothing wrong with that either, but the track after, “All Lovers are Deranged” is a bit of a rocker. The lyrics were written by Who guitarist Peter Townsend and you can hear a bit of early Who in the song. It had to have been put on the album to give the listener a shock after being absorbed by the mellower track before it. “Don’t Turn You Back” starts out like a Floyd-esque song but there’s some interesting stuff going on in the middle of it with horns. If there was any track on the album that sounded commercial 80s, then it would be “Cruise.” I have always wondered why it never was released as a single. With its more easy listening style, the trendy top forty types might have liked it even if they didn’t know anything about David Gilmour or Pink Floyd. Some good organ work behind a reggae tint makes this song. Another interesting song is the instrumental that is “Let’s Get Metaphysical.” This goes from being spacey type Floyd to jazzy horns to some very good progressive sounds. The thing is that with all of this mixed together, David pulls it off. That must be a tribute to his genius. Then he ends things in what I call typical Pink Floyd fashion with “Near the End.” A long sounded space out track with some great Gilmour guitar licks. It is the best song to end with.

One thing consistent on every song is the guitar work of David Gilmour. He does let himself go more and while I always liked his guitar work with Pink Floyd, he outshines himself on “About Face.” It also helps that he put a great band together as well as some cool guest musicians to play with him.

Track Listing:

  1. Until We Sleep
  2. Murder
  3. Love On the Air
  4. Blue Light
  5. Out of the Blue
  6. All Lovers are Deranged
  7. Don’t Turn Your Back
  8. Cruise
  9. Let’s Get Metaphysical
  10. Near the End

David Gilmour

David Glimour- guitars, lead vocals, bass

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion

Pino Palladino- bass

Ian Kewley- organ

Additional Musicians

Steve Winwood- organ on “Blue Light” and piano on “Love on the Air”

Jon Lord- synthesizer

Anne Dudley- synthesizer

Bob Ezrin- keyboards, orchestral arrangement

The Kick Horns- brass

Luis Jardim, Ray Cooper- percussion

Roy Harper, Sam Brown, Vicki Brown, Mickey Feat- vocals

The National Philharmonic Orchestra

David Gilmour popped out onto the music world of 1984 with a great solo album. Okay, it didn’t have the chart success even if Dave thought it was too 1980s. Many Pink Floyd fans do like it and so do some who weren’t. A great effort from a fine musician.

Next post: The Bangles- All Over the Place

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1499972446&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1984: David Gilmour- About Face”

  1. So, which do you like better…Waters or Gilmour?? Oh sorry…I wasn’t supposed to ask. Seriously though…this album had a great collection of guest musicians.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’ll give this one a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love, love, love Gilmour’s guitar work but the genius behind Floyd had to be Waters and his crazy brain. That said, I wasn’t a fan of Waters’ solo album. It’s like Abott and Costello. They need to be together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you thank you thank you for spotlighting one of my all-time favorite albums. I realize a lot of it will sound dated to someone hearing it for the first time, but in 1984 it sounded fresh to my ears, and the combination of great songs and Gilmour’s inimitable vocals & guitar work made it a stand-out for me that I still love just as much. “Near The End” IS a perfect album closer. The line “will you just turn it over & start again” had me re-playing the album multiple times, and the guitar solo that closes out the song is mesmerizing. It’s a shame that Gilmour doesn’t play songs from this album in concert anymore, at least based on set lists I’ve seen. The same goes for his equally impressive solo debut from six years earlier.

    Great write-up on a great record. I hope some of your readers who’ve never heard it will give it a shot.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reckon I’ll check this out!

    Liked by 1 person

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