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Classic Guitar Albums of 1979: Pink Floyd, 'The Wall'

(Image credit: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images)

RELEASED: NOVEMBER 30
STANDOUT TRACK: “COMFORTABLY NUMB”

Recorded over a period of approximately 11 months, and the band’s best-selling album (topping the Billboard charts for 15 weeks) after 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall has become a dominant work in the band’s canon since its release. It was toured in its entirety by the band in 1981-’82 (and later by Roger Waters) and was adapted into a successful film in 1982. That prog-rock staple, the “concept” album, has never been employed to better effect than here. After years as the ultimate albums band, Pink Floyd took a surprising left turn into the pop charts with “Another Brick in the Wall,” a song that pretty much everyone knows. This expansive double album features numerous examples of David Gilmour’s sublime guitar playing — the epic vibrato, huge overbends and signature tone he’s well renowned for — including “Mother,” the iconic solo on “Brick” and “Comfortably Numb.”

Several years ago, Gilmour discussed his approach to this legendary solo: “I banged out five or six solos. From there I just followed my usual procedure, which is to listen back to each solo and make a chart, noting which bits are good. Then, by following the chart, I create one great composite solo by whipping one fader up, then another fader, jumping from phrase to phrase until everything flows together.”

Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.