David Gilmour Warns of the ‘Spoils of Fame’ and Other Confines on New Single “The Piper’s Call”

A piper’s call is an early expression meaning that the person who pays for someone to do something can decide how it is done. “He he who pays the piper calls the tune.” A metaphor for how fame or other entities can take full control over one’s livelihood, David Gilmour inspects its guises and confines on “The Piper’s Call,” the first single from his fifth solo album, Luck and Strange, out September 6.

Whatever it takes / Steer clear of the snakes / The road to hell is paved with gold, they’ll tell you / All the things that you don’t need, they’ll sell you sings Gilmour on the pensive ballad, a heed of warning to not give into the charms and become owned by fame—or addiction, or government: The piper’s call, contagious / A fixеr who will numb your pain, and strangeness / Your conscience uncontrolled / And beauty to behold / The promise of eternal youth / The spoils of fame, a carpe diem attitude.

“The Piper’s Call” starts off in a steady tribal stream, accented by lapsteel, and picks up around the chorus before swelling around more of Gilmour’s electric guitar.

Recorded over five months in London and Brighton, England, Luck and Strange was co-produced by Gilmour and Charlie Andrew—known for his work with the Marika Hackman and British indie rockers ALT-J—and marks Gilmour’s first release since Rattle That Lock in 2015.

“We invited Charlie [Andrew] to the house, so he came and listened to some demos, and said things like, ‘Well, why does there have to be a guitar solo there?’ and ‘Do they all fade out? Can’t some of them just end?’” shared Gilmour of working with Andrew and how it was refreshing since he wasn’t trying to replicate something he’s done before.

“He has a wonderful lack of knowledge or respect for this past of mine,” added Gilmour. “He’s very direct and not in any way overawed, and I love that. That is just so good for me because the last thing you want is people just deferring to you.”

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A majority of the tracks on Luck and Strange were written by novelist Polly Samson, Gilmour’s wife, co-writer, and collaborator of more than 30 years and were inspired by Gilmours live stream performances with his family during the pandemic lockdown in 2020 and 2021. 

[RELATED: David Gilmour to Release First Solo Album in Nine Years, ‘Luck and Strange,’ Featuring His Family and Late Pink Floyd Bandmate Richard Wright]

“It’s written from the point of view of being older,” said Samson of the themes surfacing within Luck and Strange in a statement. “Mortality is the constant.” Gilmour added, “We spent a load of time during and after lockdown talking about and thinking about those kind of things.”

The album features eight new songs, including a cover of The Montgolfier Brothers’ 1999 song “Between Two Points” and the title track, featuring a recording of late Pink Floyd keyboard player Richard Wright. For “Luck and Strange,” Wright’s parts were originally recorded in 2007 during a jam session inside a barn at Gilmour’s home. 

Luck and Strange is also rounded out by a hand-picked line of musicians, including Roger Eno and Rob Gentry on keyboards, bassists, Tom Herbert and Guy Pratt, and drummers Steve DiStanislao, Steve Gadd, and Adam Betts, along with string and choral arrangements by Will Gardner.

Photographer and director Anton Corbijn composed the visual pieces around Luck and Strange, filling in the album artwork and photography, including the cover image, inspired by a lyric written by son Charlie Gilmour for the closing track “Scattered.”

Gilmour will release the video for “The Piper’s Call” on Thursday, April 26.

Photo: Roberto Panucci/Corbis via Getty Images

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