David Gilmour’s eight biggest music influences that changed his life

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Gilmour made name for himself both as a guitarist and a singer. He has one of the best-selling albums in the history of British Progressive Rock. While he was only taken in as a temporary member, he became the man when Barrett became uncertain about his mental health problem.

David is an extraordinary guitarist and he solely learned by ear. He picked up the fundamental guitar skill through a Pete Seeger guitar tutoring book. He could emulate any type of tone. And it was all his virtuosity that led him to what he really is today.

David was the man and with his assistance, Pink Floyd developed their psychedelic rock sound and became an icon. Their style was strongly rooted in folk and blues, which helped them reach the milestone. David himself was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Despite Gilmour himself being an inspiration to so many people. Here are his own inspirations. Collected through many interviews here are the most influential artists that changed his life.

Artists that Inspired David Gilmour

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys is one famous American bands in history. And in 2006, The Beach Boys were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame and it was done by Gilmour himself. He loved their classic album ‘Pet Sounds’. In an interview with BBC Radio 2 in 2006, he said, “I love the Beach Boys. My early band in Cambridge when I was a teenager, we did a lot of Beach Boys songs.” He also added,

“But I didn’t wanna play one of the too-surfy ones. I just love the place that Brian Wilson got to, (when he came out) of all that Surf Music. Some of these moments are just sublime. ‘God Only Knows is one of the best things. It’s so beautifully constructed. So meaningful as well.”

His speech during the Hall of Fame induction of The Beach Boys was, “The first band I actually formed when I was a young lad was with some like-minded souls from my hometown. We wanted to sing harmony. So the harmony we wanted to sing was The Beach Boys harmony. Also that love of singing harmony remains with me today. The man who is the main inspiration for that love is the man we are honoring here tonight is Brian Wilson.”

He also discussed his older days and said, “Even in those very early days of The Beach Boys, songs like ‘In My Room’ and ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ were giving indications that Brian Wilson painted with a much more colorful palette than was offered by the Surf Music that he was so adept at.”

Lead Belly

This is the name many of us may not know and this may be the very first time we’ve heard of such a musician. But the musician was born in Mooringsport, Louisiana, United States back in 1888. The singer is known for his vocals and guitar skills.

He is known for his folk musical standards and Gilmour took him as his Folk inspiration. Back in 2006 in an interview with BBC Radio 2, “The Rock Island Line” was one of his absolute favorites. “Leadbelly, I loved him when I was very young, loved his 12-string guitar playing. I always enjoyed the 12-string. His story, he was in prison, he got released from prison on a murder charge because he was such a great singer.” He also added,

“But for me, ‘Rock Island Line’ was one of the first things I’ve learned. Also is one of the things that you can actually learn one chord, get your fingers on that guitar in one position and not move from there, you can do the whole song and sing this old song to yourself. So it’s a great thing, part of my childhood.”

Hank Marvin

Hank is the guitarist of the instrumental British band The Shadows. Hank was an inspiration to Gilmour and in 2006 in an interview with Music Radar, he recalled. “The way I play melodies is connected to things like Hank Marvin and The Shadows. That style of guitar playing where people can recognize a melody with some beef to it.”

Also, he was mentioned even before that too. In 1981 Gilmour listed his early influences and he was one of them. He said, “He was the first major electric sort of guitar hero for us Brits.”

Bob Dylan


Without a doubt, Bob Dylan is one of the most influential musicians in the rock and roll world. And he has totally inspired many of the musicians in today’s world. In an interview with The Guardian back in 2006 he revealed, “To me, I was never one of the people who thought Dylan was a monster for going electric. I liked the change. But I must say the power of the young Dylan as the acoustic-playing protest singer- which he’s always denied.”

“But sorry Bob, you were a protest singer. Just to get his guitar and play to a crowd of people and it’s like an arrow. His words come out and the music. But people underestimate his actual musical abilities. The melodies and the words just shoot out like an arrow. I think he was unbelievable. And is”.

Also in 2015 he recalled the present his parents gave him on his 16th birthday. He remembered, “I got Bob Dylan’s first record for my 16th birthday, which they send me from Greenwich Village (New York). Before that they send me the Peter Seeger’s guitar tutor record, which is my only actual instruction (To play guitar) was with Peter Seeger’s guitar tutor record.”

Eric Clapton

Eric has been on the radar of every major guitarist and singer. He is known for his deep guitar riffs. Back in 2015 in an interview with Relix magazine, he revealed, “All of those guys were incredible and I spent time trying to learn how to play their licks perfectly.”

“I would suggest any young player should try to sit down and do that. You will wind up knowing how to play their stuff quite well but eventually, you will find your own style from that. It forces its way out of the copying.”

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi hendrix and Foxey Lady

Gilmour has always remembered his first encounter with Jimi in a lot of interviews. Jimi was also an inspiration for him. During his appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Tracks Of My Years, he revealed, “Jimi Hendrix, fantastic. I went to a club in South Kensington in 1966, and this kid got on stage with Brian Auger and the Trinity and [held] the guitar the other way around and started playing. Myself and the whole place were with their jaws hanging open.” He also continued,

“I went the next day to the record shops, and I said ‘You’ve got anything by this guy Jimi Hendrix?’ and they said ‘Well, we’ve got a James Hendrix’. He hadn’t yet done anything. So I became rather an avid fan waiting for his first release. Also, this is one of his beautiful ballads that I really love”.

Gilmour even played around with Jimi back in the late 70s. He said he was one of many to be responsible to mix the sound of Jimi at the Isle Of Wight festival. He recalled, “I helped mix the sound for Hendrix at the Isle of Wight in 1970. Not a lot of people know that. From the side of the stage with WEM Audiomasters with Charlie Watkins.”

“I went down to go to it and I was camping in a tent, just being a punter. I went backstage where our main roadie guy, Peter Watts, was trying to deal with all the mayhem, with Charlie Watkins of WEM. They were very nervous, they were going to have to mix Hendrix’s sound. I did some mixing stuff in those days and they said ‘Help! Help!’ so I did.”

B.B King

The blues era of the 50s gave rise to the rock and roll music scene in the following decades. During the 50s, B.B. King was prolific and prominent in the scene. That’s the reason he was influenced by B.B. King.

Back in 2006, with The Guardian, he talked about it. He said, “He’s a lovely chap.” He continued, “His early stuff was stupendous, and he’s just kept going. I first met him in New York. He came up to me and said, ‘Hey, boy, are you sure you weren’t born in Mississippi?’ I’ve played with him a couple of times since, on a Later With Jools Holland session and on one of his albums. When he’s in the dressing room, he spends all his time writing lyrics. There are some guitar players who are instantly recognizable, and then there are all the rest.”

The Beatles

the beatles uk

The Beatles has been the epitome of rock and pop. Like every other Rock musician, David was also inspired by The Beatles. He shared his love for the group and even played with Paul on many occasions.

Back in 2006 again during an interview with the BBC Radio 2 show “Tracks Of My Years” he recalled, “I was an absolute mad Beatles fan. ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ is, I think, John Lennon’s first moment of being influenced by Bob Dylan. It’s very much in the Bob Dylan vein. So it’s just one example of hundreds of things I could choose. Anything by The Beatles, really. Fantastic song.”

Again in 2015, Gilmour also revealed his fantasy of wanting to be in The Beatles. He recalled, “I really wish I had been in the Beatles; [They] taught me how to play guitar; I learnt everything. The bass parts, the lead, the rhythm, everything. They were fantastic.”

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