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The astonishing session musician connection article Print E-mail

As a follow up to Random Notes in BD Magazine issue 39 regarding David Gilmour’s performance at Hyde Park with The Who, and the amazing number of session musicians who also played at the show and their connections to the Floyd, Carsten Doig examines the astonishing connections!

As correctly stated, David did play and sing on "The Dirty Jobs" but he also played on the final song, "Love Reign o’er Me". (Just in case anyone was worried David’s weight had finally reached extreme proportions, the braces were for the character he was playing in Quadrophenia, not to keep his trousers up!) That aside, swallow this...

Jon Carin played keyboards for The Who alongside John 'Rabbit' Bundrick, who played on Roger’s "Three Wishes". The lead guitarist for The Who’s extended band, Geoff Whitehorn, also played on "Amused to Death". Amongst The Who’s horn section was Steve Sidwell who played cornet on "Late Home Tonight, Part II".

Even amongst the other performers there were Floydian connections. Following The Who on stage was Eric Clapton, who, as you well know, has also worked with Roger. In Clapton's band was none other than Katie Kissoon and Andy Fairweather-Low, somewhat famed for their session work for Waters. (With all these connections to Roger, I wonder if they were exchanging their favourite stories backstage!)

In the process of thinking about these connections, several others came to mind. Some people may argue (and understandably so) "they are session musicians, what do you expect?". Well, we at BD think it's amazing, so there! I have checked for other connections and have uncovered five additional artists with strong ties to Pink Floyd, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly by way of what I term 'musical circles'.

Expanding on The Who, one finds that Steve Bolton, who played limited guitar on Rick’s "Broken China" album was the second guitar player on The Who’s 1989 tour. Pino Palladino, the bass player on "Broken China", played on David’s "About Face" album. Also featured on Rick’s album were Manu Katche and Sinead O’Connor. Now we all know that baldy sang at The Wall in Berlin, so isn’t it interesting that both Rick and Roger have worked with her? No? Try this one: Katche is famous as Peter Gabriel’s drummer and O’Connor also contributed to Gabriel’s US album as a backing vocalist. (Start laying more tracks, I'm just getting warmed up...) [Editors note: Peter Gabriel lives next door to Nick Mason!]

It is interesting to note that in a recent interview in Brit-rag Q about his top ten favourite albums, Wright says, "I feel very close to this music (Gabriel’s Passion album). I think in many ways Peter hears music the way that I hear it, so I’d have to say he’s a kindred spirit." Rick also lists The Band as one of his favorites, members of which played in Berlin with Roger, and Jeff Beck who worked on "The Ballad of Bill Hubbard" amongst other tracks. Despite personal problems that drove them apart, it becomes obvious upon revealing these connections that Rick and Roger do have similar tastes in music.

Rick also lists "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" by Brian Eno and David Byrne as one of his favourites, which brings us to the Roxy Music connection. Phil Manzanera co-wrote "One Slip"; David played with Bryan Ferry at Live Aid; and another Roxy Music connection is Brian Eno's work on Icehouse’s "No Promises" album, whose bass player was Guy Pratt. Fans of Pratt’s sound should listen to this album, especially "No Promises", which has a bass line similar in sound to Sorrow (the notes are approximately a semi-tone apart).

Pratt also played on Madonna’s "Like a Prayer" album, produced by Patrick Leonard. Of even greater interest is that the other bass player was Randy Jackson, who also played on "Amused to Death". Drummer for "It’s a Miracle" was the now-late Jeff Porcaro who also played on the Madonna album as well as "About Face". Luis Conte did percussion on both albums and Lynn Fidmont did backing vocals on both. Such links reveal how much input Patrick Leonard had on "Amused to Death", although thankfully Roger didn’t end up sounding like (or dressing like!) Madonna! Madonna’s "Immaculate Collection" was also one of the first albums mixed in Q sound, which has since been used by David, Rick and Roger on more recent albums.

As stated earlier, Katie Kissoon has worked with Roger. She has also toured with and handled session work for the Pet Shop Boys. Carol Kenyon sang backing vocals on "The Division Bell" and "Very" by the Pet Shop Boys. Those who think there just cannot be any further connections between the Floyd and the Pet Shop Boys will be interested to know that on Dusty Springfield’s "Reputation" album, Gary Wallis plays percussion on a track written by and produced by the Pet Shop Boys. Voila! On the other side, on a track without Pet Shop Boys involvement, backing vocals are provided by Claudia Fontaine of "Division Bell" Tour fame.

Durga McBroom is well known for her Blue Pearl project with producer Youth. Of added interest is that Youth’s old school friend, Guy Pratt, also contributed to this project - for which David and Rick have also done session work.

Sam Brown, the final backing vocalist from The Division Bell Tour, is currently touring with Jools Holland, formerly of Squeeze. Another former Squeeze member is Paul Carrack, who not only worked with Roger, but has also been a member of Mike and the Mechanics - who tour with none other than Tim Renwick and Gary Wallis as extra musicians. Carrack has also used Renwick and Kissoon for his recent solo album "Blue Views".

A clique is defined as a clannish group of people. Indeed they are.

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