Guitarist sounds familiar…

On this day in 1966, Donovan topped the charts in the US with ‘Sunshine Superman’, which narrowly fell short of attaining the same position in the UK.

Did you know that Jimmy Page played guitar on it?

So, today’s topic: Songs you like which feature guitarists that you like even more.

David’s list of credits as hired-hand, of course, is almost as long as my arm, maybe even leg, but a couple spring to mind: Snowy White’s ‘Love, Pain and Sorrow’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘No More Lonely Nights’. Fine guitar-playing, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As I wrote way back, David has generated an A (Arcadia) to Z (Zevon, Warren) of session work credits and some of its contents, I suspect, were belatedly sought after once David’s involvement became known. But did you hear any without realising that you were listening to the Voice and Guitar of Pink Floyd, I wonder?

This even older discussion of David’s session work might help jog your memory.

I’d also enjoy learning your opinions on legendary guitarists making sometimes (but certainly not always) horribly over-done and ill-advised excursions into the charts. Shameless sell-outs looking to make a fast buck, or cutting-edge artistes embracing new styles and demonstrating much broader minds than those of their most loyal, yet bigoted, fan minority? I’m obviously thinking of the commercially-successful collaborations of Jimmy Page (with Puff Daddy) and Carlos Santana (with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas), both of which I rather liked.

Finally, just to let you know, the Blog is likely to be slightly temperamental for a short time on Friday, so please don’t be surprised if you cannot view or comment as usual. Any interruption will be minimal and I apologise in advance for it.

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’.

48 thoughts on “Guitarist sounds familiar…”

  1. Hi Fed,

    Neil Young was always trying some different… the rock n roll album for a start. Gotta love the man for being himself!

    John Lee Hooker released an album with Santana and a few others on it which I thought was very good.

    David’s playing on No More Lonely Nights is just superb… great tone and feel… sounds effortless in places.

    Guy Pratt and Jimmy Nail had that wee hit, which I thought was pretty damn funky. I think Gary Moore and a few others played on an album… did David play on a track???


    1. He did – on 1992’s Growing Up In Public. I think George Harrison is on there somewhere, too.

      David played on the tracks ‘Waiting For the Sunshine’ and ‘Only Love (Can Bring Us Home)’.

      I thought it was a pretty good album.

  2. It’s all subjective isn’t it? I suppose from my own peculiar point of view it depends on whether or not I think the end product is a good one and that’s just my own personal taste.

    Back when Jimmy Page played on a Donovan song he was a “hired gun”, a studio musician as well as a member of whichever band he belonged to at the time. He shows up on a lot of records and I bluntly can’t always tell at first listen if he’s on there. Some of them just didn’t appeal to me enough to give a second listen.

    Carlos’ “Supernatural” album was I think a very good idea and project because he’s not really a prolific music writer. “Smooth” is just a really, really good song and the guitar is choice, tasty and belongs right where it is. Puff Daddy’s “Kashmir” take off is not so much in my opinion, Jimmy’s participation notwithstanding. I can’t believe anyone thought they could improve on the original. But if the original is improved on (not you, Mariah Carey) then I’m happy.

    Run-DMC’s “Walk This Way” with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry… this I love. It’s not pompous, it has a humorous edge and at no additional charge it gave Aerosmith a new lease on life. I love it. It’s not better than the original track, it’s just different and I think very good. Sort of like choosing Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise” over Anthrax’s cover. They’re both really good. I think.

    I guess ultimately I’m about whether the guest appearance was on a good record and if it was necessary.

    1. Jill… well said. It’s all about the music, isn’t it? Carlos is sooo good as a guitarist but needs someone always to put it down over.

      As for Dave Gilmour, it doesn’t matter if you recognise his playing or not, you will always enjoy.

  3. Hmm. Well, while not EXACTLY the subject, it is close enough that I feel it is worth mentioning. Especially since the tweet that was sent out made me think about it.

    Specifically I am thinking about Taylor Swift and Def Leppard’s appearances playing together on the CMT awards and on a CMT Crossroads DVD.

    The CMT Awards performance was better than the Crossroads one, IMHO. I had high hopes for it but outside of two or three songs, I’m really not sure that their styles meshed well together. Pour Some Sugar On Me was good, especially the CMT Awards version, as was Two Steps Behind. Taylor’s songs seemed to go overall over a bit better performed with Def Leppard than their songs did with her. I really wish they would have rocked up her songs a bit harder though. I think all of the songs should have been rearranged to take full advantage of both of their talents to really make it good.

    Still, though, it was obvious that they were all having a bunch of fun, especially Taylor, and they seemed to have a pretty good chemistry together so I hold out hope for a possible (improved) repeat at some point.

  4. FEd,

    I had no idea Jimmy Page played on that famous Donovan song!!!!

    The first question, songs I like which feature guitarists I like even more would have to be Comfortably Numb, PULSE with David. Next to that, what stands out as a guitarist who made the song as much as the frontman, if not more so, is Brian May in “We Will Rock You” at Live Aid. Phenomenal playing, really.

    I think David’s playing with Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water” was about the best I have seen him play with a group other than Pink Floyd. It is smoking hot here.

    For me the guitarist who just really failed out for a quick buck but of his own doing, not with anyone else, was Bon Jovi “Love Lies” here.

    Very overplayed on the radio, and I used to cringe and flip to another station when I heard it.

    I will be called a rude and pushy American but the last comment about Friday can be interpreted as you are going to rehearse with Mark Knopfler for the “Get Lucky” tour 9/9/09 in London. You should have said “no” when I asked you if David was going to be in it if he wasn’t. Otherwise, it seems obvious, ha ha. 😀

    I could be wrong but my mind does wonder at your absences whenever David is about to play, like the Jeff Beck gig.

    Don’t be mad at me. All in good fun.

    Patricia 8)

    1. As good as I used to be on the coconuts, I’m sure there’s a far more respected session musician out there who would no doubt charge a lot more than I would for his, or her, coconut-playing services.

      Maybe even someone from Monty Python’s coconut orchestra.

      That’s assuming that Mark Knopfler has a need for coconuts on this tour, of course. For legal reasons, I must strongly stress that I have no inside knowledge of this and hope I haven’t given anything away.

      I wouldn’t call you “rude and pushy”…

  5. I have a good version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps Eric Clapton playing lead. I also like Clapton’s work on Roger’s Pros and Cons album.

    Loved David’s playing on Mica Paris’ I Put A Spell On You as well on BB King’s Eyesight to the Blind. Both were on Jools Holland I think. I’m an absolute tool when it comes to computer things so can’t link song titles to specific YouTube videos.

    Waiting for the Radiohead blog post… (chuckles mischievously).

    x x x

    1. Waiting for the Radiohead blog post… (chuckles mischievously).

      :)) We will have one, Dom, I promise.

  6. Hello to all!

    Well, you learn something new every day, even at my age. LOL. No, I didn’t know that was Jimmy Page on guitar. I know the song quite well, but never paid attention to who would be playing the guitar.

    As far as David is concerned, I recognized his guitar playing on “No More Lonely Nights”, but wasn’t sure at first.

    I like this topic, and look forward to some of the comments. I guess if it isn’t a David Gilmour or Pink Floyd album, I listen but never really pay attention to who may be playing guitar. Don’t laugh, but for a while I thought it was David playing on “Crimson and Clover”. The song “Stay” by PF has a similar guitar sound in it.

  7. Can I go off at a tangent with: TV programmes that I like featuring guitarists I like even more?

    The Magic Roundabout.

    Happy Birthday Michèle. 🙂

  8. That’s a good song by Donovan. I never knew that Jimmy Page played guitar on it.

    Snowy White’s ‘Love, Pain and Sorrow’ is brilliant. Another favourite from David’s credits list is Berlin’s ‘Pink and Velvet’.

  9. How about this one? Brian May of Queen guest starring with the Foo Fighters on Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” from the Mission Impossible: II soundtrack.

    Happy Birthday Michèle.



  10. Hi,

    I like the session of David on Supertramp’s 1985 album, “Brother, Where You Bound”.

    Impossible not to recognize his sound on this song.

  11. Actually, I quite preferred Jimmy Page’s guitar embellishments to Hurdy Gurdy Man (along with John Paul Jones and John Bonham’s help on the same track).

    Some other works that I’ve enjoyed from guest guitarist spots:

    * Let’s Dance – Stevie Ray Vaughan
    * Amused to Death – Jeff Beck (various songs)
    * 54-46 That’s My Number – Toots Hibbert, helped out by Jeff Beck
    * Neil Young and Pearl Jam’s collaboration on Mirror Ball, and Pearl Jam’s amazing Merkin Ball 2 song CD/ep.

    * and of course, David’s playing on Pete’s White City lLP… particularly Give Blood.


  12. I didn’t know Jimmy Page played on that Donovan song.

    To be honest, when I listened to Elton John’s album “The One” for the first time, I didn’t recognize David playing on “Understanding Women”, even though I liked the song.

    Thinking about that album, I also appreciated Eric Clapton on “Runaway Train”.

    1. “Sunshine Superman” is one of my all-time fave songs and I never knew that Jimmy Page is playing the guitar on it.

      My vote goes to “Understanding Women” too.

  13. David on:

    ‘In A Broken Dream’ (Rod Stewart)
    ‘Brother Where You Bound’ (Supertramp)
    ‘This Feeling’ (Sam Brown)

    Don’t know if this counts, but I also like very much David’s guitar on the documentary ‘Colours Of Infinity’ (about fractals).

    When I listen to Rick’s ‘Broken China’, I always think that David plays guitar on it, but I don’t think he does.

    Oh, he played with Rick a beautiful version of ‘Breakthrough’ in 2001/2002 in London and Paris. Miss you, Rick (and Michael Kamen).

    And how about Jeff Beck playing guitar on ‘It’s A Miracle’ (Roger Waters)? Beautiful song.


  14. It would be great to hear David play some of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac music. Songs like Rattle Snake Shake, Oh Well, Albatross and Black Magic Woman. That would be so cool to hear him play those songs.

    Take Care and have a Good Weekend,

  15. My site started with David Gilmour and all his guitar playing, because there weren’t much sites with all the right info, nowadays there are much better sites about that theme… and my site became too big to handle… so yes, Jimmy Page is there too with his credits to Donovan. 😉

    Mmm, very difficult (Liona Boyd, Chris Jagger, Michael Kamen, Vicki Brown, Alan Parsons?), but not really, this Wednesday I go to see the Pretty Things (with the Dick Taylor who made a big decision in 1962. Fed, do you know the story?).

    So my choice this week is:

    The Pretty Things with “Loves Keep Hanging On”.

    My first hero was Ian Bairnson, Alan Parsons Project/ Pilot. The funny thing is, he did session work for my German friend of RPWL: Chris Postle (Parzvals Eye) with an awesome cover from David Crosby: Chicago.

    To make the story complete; Guy Pratt did a session for Yogi Lang (the L from RPWL)… dunno what the CD or project will be called yet.

    Sorry that I make this shameless promoting, but you know how enthusiastic I can be…

  16. One of my faves, of course, is Clapton’s playing on The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” For years I thought it was Harrison, but I also thought “Sounds like Clapton!” Several years ago someone straightened me out…

    And someone above mentioned Clapton’s work on Roger’s “Pros and Cons” I have always thought it sounds like Clapton playing lines that were obviously written for David. For me, it has always highlighted the fact that it’s not the notes that create a distinct sound. It is the musician. There is no mistaking that it ain’t David’s playing on “Pros and Cons,” even if the music is written to be very Gilmour-esque.

  17. Wonders cease to amaze me, Jimmy playing for Donovan? Good trivia, bravo.

    Dom mentioned Eric on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Check out Jeff Healey’s version with Sir George on that one.

    I know that George isn’t a Sir, but who gives a #@^%? :))

    How about Mark Knopfler’s rendition of “I Think I Love You Too Much” with Jeff as well? What a collaboration.

    Have a great long weekend Canucks and south of the border USA. We’re off to see the air show Saturday. Where David I heard had a free ride with a British Harrier once, is it true?

    The main show this weekend are our fabulous Snowbirds and my fave Blue Angels from the U.S. Marines/ Navy.

    I hope all a safe weekend, everyone!

    1. The weather was clear, 24C. Immaculate. Blue Angels and our Snowbirds, spectacular. Safe flying by all, bless ’em.

      There was an amazing feat performed by the F22 Raptor. It is a larger modelled fighter plane with dual thrust engines and does exactly the same as a Harrier except with extreme vertical lift.

      Imagine a plane such as the Harrier floating horizontal with tilt and the Raptor staying vertical in mid air without moving.

      The Toronto Air Show always brings back great memories. 🙂

  18. Mark Knopfler on Philip Lynott’s Kings Call was fantastic. I can’t imagine that song with any other guitar player.

    Robert Fripp playing on Brian Eno’s Baby’s on Fire. I think that whole song is based around a completely ripping solo.

    Chris Spedding on Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports. Hot River in particular is very good and I think he may have been doing a bit of a Dave impression with the slide guitar.

  19. Tapping into the last topic as well… I like the Edge’s guitar work on Robbie Robertson’s Sweet Fire of Love. I believe Bono sings in the background as well. Robertson has always been good at having guest performers on board like Neil Young, Peter Gabriel and Aaron Neville.

    So, yeah. I said it. I like the Edge on Robbie’s Sweet Fire of Love.

  20. Here are Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan on “License to Kill”, from Dylan’s album “Infidels”.

    They’re two of my favourite musicians, so it’s a pleasure, for me, to hear them playing together. 🙂

    As for the collaborations above, I only knew the first one (Jimmy Page and Puff Daddy) and I liked it enough, even though, in general, that’s not a kind of music I usually appreciate. I listened to it because I was curious to hear Jimmy Page playing something completely different and I have to say that I didn’t even find it so shamelessly commercial, in the end.

    In general (when the aim is not only making money, but experimenting something new) I’m always happy to listen to my favourite artists playing different kinds of music. For example, I really loved to see David with Amadou and Mariam, I think it was just great.

    For me, a musician who can play more than one genre of music should be considered more experienced and clever than others who can’t/don’t want to do it, so I never understand why some fans have to always criticize when their favourite artists try to do something new.

    Of course, everyone has his tastes and they don’t have to buy an album they don’t like, but if I were a musician, I wouldn’t find it fair to be obliged to do always the same things, just to second the will of that part of fans.

    That’s also very boring, I think.

  21. Some of my favourite examples of “songs I like featuring guitarists I like even more”:

    – Morrissey has a track on his new album called “Black Cloud”, which features Jeff Beck on guitar!
    – Crowded House’s latest album has a song called “Even A Child”, which was co-written and features Johnny Marr.
    – Johnny Marr again appears on Modest Mouse’s track “Dashboard” (I really love this song, it’s just so… cool!)
    – Santana + Rob Thomas’s “Smooth” is great, and I also really like Santana’s collaboration with Chad Kroeger on a track called “Why Don’t You And I” (I think it’s called that…)

    Feels like I haven’t posted on here in ages FEd, I’ve just been so busy! I still visit daily though, I think I’m just getting too lazy to type. 😀

  22. Have heard so much about David’s collaboration with Roy Harper and Kate Bush on Once but haven’t been able to find the recording for a listen. Can anyone help out with that? FEd?


    1. I can only point you in the direction of the album, also called Once. A 30-second snippet of each track can be heard at Amazon. (No, I’m not on commission.)

      ‘Berliners’ is another beautiful track from this album. It’s certainly one worth buying, in my opinion.

  23. Happy third anniversary to the Chatroom!

    Three years, is it possible?

    “However, if the fans mess it up by behaving badly, we’ll just take it away”, you said in 2006. We must have always been perfectly well behaved fans… Please, congratulate us. 😉

    Oh, merci et bravo à vous aussi. 🙂


    1. Thank you.

      Almost anything can succeed if you want it to. People just give up far too easily in search for the easy life, I feel.

  24. It is well known that Jimmy Page was Mr Session Guitarist for much of the 1960s, but until recently I didn’t know that he played on Goldfinger, as sung by Dame Shirley.

    James Bond/Jimmy Page/John Barry/Shirley Bassey: Stunning!

  25. The Duane Allman bit on Layla is the most famous, I suppose. When I first heard the song, I thought it was the Allman Brothers.

    I have the video of Paul McCartney Live at the Cavern Club. David was wonderful, though a bit over-qualified for the job.

  26. Hi Fed

    I am quite obviously not with it!! I knew David had done some sessions with high profile people such as Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Bryan Ferry and the like. But I had not realised he had been so prolific with so many people, if that is the correct terminology without getting myself into trouble!

    I am curious. How does it work with someone like David. Obviously career session musicians get paid a fee for their part on a piece of music, but I would have thought that would be a bit vulgar for someone of David’s status? Would he do it out of the kindness of his heart or does he get royalty rights? I am just amazed at how much David has done that is not to do with PF or his solo career.

    This is a genuine question from someone who obviously has no idea how the music industry works. Talk to me about trucks or aeroplanes and I probably know the answer!!

    Impressed and bemused in equal measure!?

  27. Hello FEd,

    Thanks for the tip about the song Once. I ordered it and you’re so correct — the song is fantastic; ethereal, timeless and sounds like an ancient song cycle with of course some of David’s fine work, also.

    Berliners, as you said, is also quite lovely. Roy Harper is a gem.

  28. David did some nice session work back in the very early 80s, for Vincent Crane (Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster), who was recording his solo album “Headline News” at the time.

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