As the Easter holiday meant missing out on Barbershop Quartet Day (I know, how could we?), it seems only right that we start this shortened week thinking about assorted four-piece groups and ensembles.

Naturally, I’d like to know who makes up your fantasy rock standard consisting of two guitars, a bass and drums. If you’d like to replace one of the guitars with a keyboard or any other instrument, please be my guest, but please don’t state the obvious; most people accept that Pink Floyd were a fairly decent band.

I’d also like to focus on singers. Your dream vocal quartet consists of David and…? What would they sing? Who could cut it with only a casual accompaniment of simple instruments, such as tambourines and maybe the odd harmonica?

Thinking back to the ‘On an Island’ tour, it’s hard not to include David Crosby and Graham Nash in any fantasy line-up when you recall their perfect harmonies on ‘Find the Cost of Freedom’, but remember that we had the additional talents of Mica Paris and David Bowie in there, as well.

Throw in your long-time favourite vocal quartets, too. Here’s one of mine, complete with obligatory (bad) dancing and screaming – The Four Tops.

Please note that tomorrow’s chat has been brought forward by one hour, so doors now open at 12:00 (UK). If you’ve never visited the chatroom before, do call in.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

41 thoughts on “Quartets”

  1. I will argue that one of the greatest quartets of all time were The Who. Obviously I love the Floyd, but The Who simply should not have been. I think it was Noel Gallagher who pointed out the idea of any band with four leads was bonkers. But it worked. I love the background harmonies as well… they’re not your standard harmonies but you didn’t have your standard voices to work with. Yes, I do have the thingy that lets me (more or less) isolate individual tracks on a cut, because I am not at all well. 😉

    The Four Tops were genius and I think vocally anyway among the edgiest of Motown groups. Levi was as close to a blues-shouter type singer as one could get.

    I think I’ll go listen now, but I’ll leave it to others to choose who David Gilmour ought to play with since I always want him (at least once) to just rock out, make us dance and mildly shock people. 🙂

  2. Oh my, this requires some thought!

    David with CSN would be awesome. They could definitely cut it without any instruments.

    I also love The Four Tops. My favourite is “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”.

  3. Dear F.Ed.,

    first of all belated Happy Easter to you, to David Gilmour and family and to all the people involved in this site.

    Congratulations for this topic, it is too nice!!! It’s the first time I’ve heard about this celebration-day in honour of this further expression of the music. I have found out about this matter this definition, that is perfect, I suppose:

    “It isn’t an American invention. It all started in England during Shakespeare’s time when the barbershops were also popular male hangouts. The guys sang along to a lute while waiting their turn for a hair-cut. This idea was picked up in the late 1800s in the American old West. They sang to a banjo instead of a lute, but the harmony was still sweet.”

    I’ve noted, thanks to the web, that there are many Barbershop Harmony Societies around the world, and one of the most famous having as its Motto: “Keep the whole world singing”.

    Thinking about international groups, an inspirational one that began as an all male quartet in 1953 was The Platters. I remember very well “The Great Pretender” and as I like them, I’ve a CD with a best collection of them.

    Keep well,
    bye/ciao Elisabetta 😀

  4. Starting tomorrow morning I’m heading out of town for the rest of the week. This will be a much-needed time of vacationing with my wife and also with family. When teachers get a vacation it is a welcome day indeed.

    Perhaps one of the best bands that fit the pattern F’Ed has described – two guitars, bass and drums – is Lou Reed’s band from the “New York” album. But if I were to assemble a fantasy band with four musicians:

    Rick Wakeman (Yes) on Keyboards;
    Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass and backing vocals;
    Adrian Belew (King Crimson, Talking Heads) on lead guitar and lead vocals;
    Bill Bruford (Yes, Genesis, etc.) on drums.

    1. I saw Adrian Belew when he played with Zappa, and loved him with King Crimson… good choice!

  5. I’m still working on the dream quartet.

    In the meantime I found this one by the Mamas and The Papas, great song and also includes a silly dance and even sillier hat.

  6. Happy Easter FEd, DG, bloggers et al. 🙂

    Dream band, “Masters United”

    David Gilmour, guitar and vocals
    Jimi Hendrix, guitar and vocals
    Bootsy Collins, bass guitar and backing vocals
    Buddy Rich, drums

    Dream band, “Progressive Generations”

    David Gilmour, guitars, pedal steel, vocals
    Steven Wilson, guitars, vocals (Porcupine Tree)
    Les Claypool, bass (Primus)
    Seb Rochford, drums (Polar Bear)

    Dream vocal quartet (today, this could change with the weather!) :

    David Gilmour
    Neil Young
    Kate Bush
    Amy Winehouse

    As for long term favourite vocal quartets, obviously it has to be CSNY… but I do love the Beatles (if you include Ringo… bit dubious).

    Happy Tuesday,

  7. Hello to everyone… a lovely holiday break… and well timed!

    For Today: A vocal quartet and a half decent band!

    David/Timothy Schmidt/Paul Carrack and Don Henley… they might soothe even the most troubled of waters.

    Speaking of which, my thoughts go out to the family and relatives of the Hillsborough tragedy. Justice is long overdue!

    Martin D

  8. There are also female barbershop groups (Sweet Adelines). I was a member of the Red Rose City Chorus for a year or so.

    Anywho, DG and….

    – Susan Boyle (Britain’s Got Talent suprise hit singer)
    – Judith Owen (UK singer/songwriter/piano player)
    – Lauri Smith (asst director of Red Rose City Chorus. She can sing all parts of female barbershop, lead, tenor, baritone, and bass)

    Just thought I’d give the girls a chance.

  9. My dream vocal quartet would consist of: David Gilmour, Greg Lake, John Anderson and Till Lindemann. Maybe, John Anderson could be replaced with Kate Bush.

    A quartet like this could bring to life, resurrect, marvellous pieces.

    Singing, with their vocal capacities, their impeccable pronunciation, their experience and, perhaps, parts of their souls, long forgotten works, composed by Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, Francesco Landini, or, why not, by Haendel, in an enormous Gothic cathedral…

    I’ve gone too far with my imagination!

    Again, please, forgive my mistakes in English. I express myself very rarely in this language. Therefore, I have a lot of problems with double consonants and not only.

    I wish to those of you, who are Christians, Happy Easter! To those, Christians or not, who believe in work and love, I wish a Happy and Beautiful Week!

  10. Barbershop Quartet Day honors four guys with great voices? We had this one (Les Frères Jacques) here many, many, years ago… :))

    So, just to have a laugh, click here. I hope no one will understand the lyrics… oh, don’t try, FEd. 😮


  11. Fantastic foursomes:

    Bowie’s “Spiders” band
    Sex Pistols

    …and Mott the Hoople! The “MOTT” album is a classic!

  12. How about Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham? That was the original fantasy super-group.

    Now, fantasy:

    David Gilmour
    John Paul Jones
    Andy Newmark

    That would be a sick Purple Rain/C-Numb huh? Prince is an amazing guitar player.

    I’ve also always wanted to see Clapton and Gilmour on stage together.

    Blake in Nashville

  13. The ultimate four artist group? Hmm. I think I’ll need more than one singer. Something like this:

    Freddie Mercury (vocals)
    Neil Young (guitar and vocals)
    Michael “Flea” Balzary (bass and backing vocals)
    Olaf Olsen (drums and backing vocals, a Norwegian fantastic drummer, in the band BigBang – you should check them out)

    Four quite different artists, would make a great supergroup..

    I think the best established four-piece bands, aside from mighty Floyd, is The Who and Queen. Also a lot of good individuals from those bands. Roger Taylor is my reserve drummer for the band (and myself as number three. Imagine playing with those people).

  14. Ummm – unless I’m mistaken Led Zeppelin were a dreamy quartet although not conforming to the 2 guitars, bass and drums formula (but then neither do the equally notable Who, Queen and U2).

    To fit the bill properly we have to go with the Beatles of course.

    Paul McCartney put together a good little band for Run Devil Run and I’d like to see the heart of that particular band (Macca, Gilmour, Paice, Green) cut lose from the constraints of 50s rock’n’roll and knock out some substantial rock music.

    Fantasy act… phew, pretty arbitrary but Bonham and Page paired with Gilmour and McCartney will do for now. Now that would be one hell of a “helter skelter”, non?

  15. I’d love to see David perform with Brian Eno. Both their voices have a certain breathy quality (not sure if this is the right word to use) to them. Although their voices are as such quite distinct from each other, this is something they share. They would make a great duo for sure.

    Eno also is quite a decent guitar player, he’d never admit though I suppose, so having them play together, Eno laying chords for David, would be another interesting aspect for a collaboration.

    All the best,

  16. More seriously, I like some songs performed by The Golden Gate Quartet like ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’, ‘Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho’ or ‘Old MacDonald’, very entertaining, no? 😉

    Watch here.

    Your dream vocal quartet consists of David and…?

    ‘Quartet’, I don’t know, but, sure, my dream vocal duet consists of David and Sam Brown. Saw her in Paris at The Olympia with David in 2006… Wow!!!


  17. I think The Drifters would have to be my Favorite Quartet.

    Take care,

  18. Fantasy rock standard:

    D.G. and Jimi – Guitars
    Phil Lynott – Bass (sorry Guy)
    John Bonham – Drums

    Dream vocal quartet, David and:

    Freddie Mercury
    Kate Bush
    Karen Carpenter

    The Four Tops certainly take some beating as the archetypical vocal quartets. The original line-up of the Eagles run them a close second though.

    Commiserations for last night’s result, FEd. The Reds almost pulled it off.

    Sincere condolences to the families of the 96, on the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy.

  19. I would like to add The Temptations as well.

    And for humour, how about Frank and the Four Skins! :))

  20. Hey! My favorite line up of all times will be this one:

    David Gilmour (Guitar and Lead Vocal)
    Robert Fripp (Guitar and Mellotron)
    Tony Levin (Bass & Chapman Stick)
    Bill Bruford (Drums)

  21. Dream quartet:

    David Gilmour
    Brian Wilson
    David Crosby
    Graham Nash

    OFF TOPIC: I remember exactly what I was doing this day 20 years ago as those terrible events unfolded in Sheffield.

    I had gone to games prior to Hillsborough where the pressure of the crowd made it hard to breath and felt myself lifted off the ground, and felt uneasy, but the main thought that stopped me being in a hysterical panic was that it must be safe, it was always like that at big games and they must know what “they” are doing. I guess “they” did not know what they were doing after all. Whatever mistakes were made on that day by the police it took 96 deaths before the football authorities were made to take notice of how decrepit some of our “best” football grounds had become.

    A bit irrellevant but sorry about the result last night Fed.

    1. They had a good go last night, didn’t they? That really was a heart-warming display. It’s a shame it wasn’t quite enough to win the tie, but what an exciting game of football and what a tribute to the 96 who lost their lives supporting their team.

      I’m now looking forward to seeing Barcelona giving Chelsea a good hiding in the semi-final. 😉

  22. Off topic…

    As international news announced, there was an earthquake in our country recently. We are very impressed by this further one and unfortunately I can’t forget what a kind of tragedy is an earthquake: in fact in the last four decades almost every region/area in Italy suffered due to this terrible natural event, including our region Friuli, where it occurred in 1976: at that time I was nearly 14 but memories are so clear, and we cried for 976 deceased people.

    So you can imagine we are very touched and sad, but ready to do our best in many ways in order to help through more bravery and many actions our fellow countrymen there, and we are very grateful for the many examples of help and friendship by all the countries.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    Bye and ciao

  23. Can we consider The Beach Boys as a vocal quartet? I know they’re five, but only four of them sing, if I remember well.

    Anyway, if we can’t, here is my alternative choice.

    As for the fantasy band, I would like to hear David play with Hank Marvin. I read David considers him one of his inspiring guitarists and I can understand why, since his sound is really wonderful.

    Then, Phil Collins (Drums) and John Paul Jones (Bass).

    I’ll come back later for the fantasy vocal quartet. 🙂

  24. Dream vocal quartet:

    David, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Roger Daltrey (The Who) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

    A bit crazy, because they have different voices and very different ways to sing, but it might be an interesting experiment. 😀

  25. My fantasy vocal quartet is:

    Harry Belefonte
    Robert Plant
    Peter Gabriel

    Not sure how this would sound. But, it’s only fantasy anyway right? Just think these guys have nice voices.


  26. Band:

    1st guitar and vocals – Dave
    2nd guitar and vocals – Davy Knowles (Back Door Slam)
    Bass – Dan Lavery (Tonic)
    Drums – Michael Shrieve (Santana)

    Vocals: Dave, Jakob Dylan, Marc Cohn, Timothy Schmidt

    Favorite foursomes: All the old Motown groups, including Four Tops, Temptations, Spinners, O’Jays, etc. More recent ones would be the Arc Angels, the Wallflowers, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.

    1. I had another thought as I was listening to Coldplay: Dave and Chris Martin might be a good vocal match.

  27. Quartet; The Ink Spots

    Drums ~ Ray Cooper
    Marimba~ Ruth Underwood
    Bass ~ Flea
    Guitar ~ Dick Dale

    Singer 1 ~ David Gilmour
    Singer 2 ~ Bob Dylan
    Singer 3 ~ Art Garfunkel
    Singer 4 ~ Woody Guthrie

  28. Quartets:

    Adams, Bould, Winterburn, Dixon?

    Sorry Fed, I’m in a good mood today for some reason.

  29. As a foursome:

    Eric Clapton
    Paul McCartney

    Have to admit I loved watching Stevie on drums and he seemed just as accomplished as many more well known drummers.

    Could one bring in Rick Wakeman on keyboards (who to leave out though?) and have them perform Echoes?

  30. Just catching up so apologies if I repeat someone else.

    But do The Mamas and the Papas qualify as a quartet? Always enjoyed their music.

    Not that it would ever happen but I would like to see David get his head together with either Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) or Bruce Soord (Pineapple Thief) to create some magic.

  31. My dream quartet doesn’t stray far away from a mixture of The Who and Led Zeppelin to be honest. I don’t think that musicians of the 1970s are easily beaten at all:

    John Bonham – Drums
    John Entwistle/John Paul Jones/Mike Mills – Bass/Backing Vocals
    Jimi Hendrix/Jimmy Page – Lead Guitar
    Jeff Buckley (+ guitar)/Roger Daltrey/Jim Morrison – Vocals

    (What is it about the best musicians having a J at the beginning of their name?)

    Concerning a vocal quartet, many come to mind, but again I’d like to stick to around the same genre:

    Jeff Buckley (just a heavenly voice on songs such as Satisfied Mind and Corpus Christi Carol.)
    Dave Davies (backing vocals on Last of the Steam-Powered Trains and Waterloo Sunset are fantastic.)
    Michael Stipe (would add a slightly rougher tone to the overall sound, perhaps taking lead. A voice I’ve always found intriguing.)
    John Entwistle (another great backing singer, just take the intro to A Quick One While He’s Away. Greatly overlooked in rock music I feel.)

  32. I’ve always thought Dave should see what jamming with the Doobie Brothers would be like. Not a quartet, but has great vocal harmonies. Multiple vocals. Multiple guitar players. Rockin’ Down the Highway – The Wildlife Concert (benefit) album is a good representation of their hits especially. And they had a lot of those.

    “Another Park Another Sunday” must be my favorite. Beautiful harmonies. And of course “Listen to the Music,” “Black Water,” “The Doctor,” “Take Me In Your Arms.” Just a great rock band that plays from the heart.

    I wonder what Dave thinks of that?

  33. I’d enjoy Mr. Gilmour with Levon Helm, Richard Manuel (RIP) and Rick Danko (RIP).

    That would be an interesting combination of voices.

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