6 of David Gilmour’s Favorite Pink Floyd Songs

According to David Gilmour, many of Pink Floyd’s songs stand the test of time. Some of those songs span five of the band’s albums–from Meddle in 1971 through the 1994 release The Division Bell.

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In a 2006 interview, Gilmour elaborated very little on specific Pink Floyd songs, yet he did call out several tracks he considered his favorites.

“‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ are standout tracks,” said Gilmour. “‘Comfortably Numb’ is another one. ‘High Hopes’ from ‘The Division Bell’ is one of my favorite all-time Pink Floyd tracks. ‘The Great Gig in the Sky,’ ‘Echoes’— there’s a lot of them.”

Though there are more, here’s a chronological look at the six Pink Floyd songs Gilmour mentioned as his favorites.

1. “Echoes” (1971)

The sixth and final track on Pink Floyd’s sixth release Meddle, the solitary saga of “Echoes” runs the entire length of the second side of the album at more than 23 and a half minutes. “Echoes” is fused in varied instrumental themes while the lyrics, written by Roger Waters, address human connectivity and communication.

Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand
The best I can

2. “The Great Gig In The Sky” (1973)
The Dark Side of the Moon

There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark, says a soft-spoken voice in the closing pulses of “Eclipse” on one of Pink Floyd’s biggest albums. Spoken by Gerry O’Driscoll, who was the doorman at Abbey Road Studios, his words of wisdom appear on three other tracks throughout the album.

Exploring greed, mortality, mental health, and the passing of time, Dark Side of the Moon moves into several recurring contemplations through sounds, spoken word, vocals, and full tracks.

Closing side A, “The Great Gig In The Sky” explores the fear of death, and O’Driscoll is heard answering the question “Does death frighten you?”

I am not afraid to die / Any time will do / I don’t mind / Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it / You’ve got to do it sometime.

“The Great Gig In The Sky” was composed by the late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright and Clare Torry, a session vocalist. Torry ended up providing the lyric-less vocals on the track, one that had gone through several iterations with the band before she came in.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I really, really do not know what to do,’” said Torry, who performed the song with the band again at their Knebworth show in 1990 and also appeared on several Roger Waters albums. “And perhaps it would be better if I said, ‘Thank you very much’ and gave up.’ It wasn’t getting anywhere: it was just nothing. That was when I thought, ‘Maybe I should just pretend I’m an instrument.’ So I said, ‘Start the track again.’”

3. “Wish You Were Here” (1975)
Wish You Were Here

Gilmour referenced two songs from Pink Floyd’s ninth album Wish You Were Here, including its title track. Written by himself and Roger Waters, “Wish You Were Here” segues from “Have a Cigar” with the switch of a radio dial.

Though there are several themes tied to the track, including breaking free from withdrawal and living a more fulfilled life, as well as absence, according to Gilmour, “Wish You Were Here” is also linked to the band’s founding member Syd Barrett. Singer, guitarist and early songwriter Barrett left the band in 1968 and struggled with mental health issues until his death in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.

So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from hell?
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

Read the full story behind the song “Wish You Were Here” HERE.

4. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (1975)
Wish You Were Here

Bookending Wish You Were Here, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” written by Gilmour, Waters and Wright, is a nine-part tribute to Barrett. When the band was recording Wish You Were Here at Abbey Road Studios, Barrett visited unannounced and watched them work on the final mix of the track, which was written for him.

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine

5. “Comfortably Numb” (1979)
The Wall

Initially inspired by Waters’ reaction to a muscle relaxant he was administered after contracting hepatitis during Pink Floyd’s In the Flesh Tour, the eerier “Comfortably Numb” is part of the larger concept of the band’s 11th album The Wall, which circled around a broken and alienated rock star called Pink.

Waters later said the song also touched on how he felt as a child with a fever and the near-delirium that ensued. In 2009, Waters said that the line When I was a child I had a fever / My hands felt just like two balloons was autobiographical.

“I remember having the flu or something, an infection with a temperature of 105 and being delirious,” shared Waters. “It wasn’t like the hands looked like balloons, but they looked way too big, frightening. A lot of people think those lines are about masturbation. God knows why.”

Bob Geldof played the alienated character of Pink in the 1982 movie for The Wall, and in 2022, Waters released an even darker version of the song, which he performed on his This Is Not a Drill Tour.

Come on, now
I hear you’re feeling down
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again

I’ll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

Read the full story behind the meaning of “Comfortably Numb” HERE.

6. “High Hopes” (1994)
The Division Bell

Calling it one of his all-time favorite Pink Floyd songs, “High Hopes” closed out the band’s 14th album The Division Bell. The longest track, clocking in at eight and a half minutes, “High Hopes” was the first track written for the album by Gilmour and his wife Polly Samson, and the last one finished.

Since the band’s 15th album, The Endless River, released in 2014, was instrumental, “High Hopes” was the last original recording with lyrics by Pink Floyd before “Hey, Hey, Rise Up!” in 2022.

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun

Along the Long Road and on down the Causeway
Do they still meet there by the Cut

Photo: Roberto Panucci/Corbis via Getty Images

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