Hear Lost Recording of Pink Floyd Playing with Jazz Violinist Stéphane Grappelli on “Wish You Were Here”

Those of you deeply into both jazz violin and progressive rock no doubt jumped right on the play button above. Quite a few more will listen — so experience has taught me — purely out of interest in anything and everything Pink Floyd has done. But on the level of music history, the track above, a version of the cerebral English rock band’s Pink Floyd’s well-known 1975 song “With You Were Here” prominently featuring a solo from the French “Grandfather of Jazz Violinists” Stéphane Grappelli, should fascinate just about anyone. It speaks to the particular kind of high-profile musical experimentalism that thrived in that era, at least in some quarters — or, rather, in some studios. In this case, the Grappelli and the Floyd boys found themselves recording in adjacent ones. Why would the latter invite the former, already an elder statesman of jazz and a collaborator with the likes of Django Reinhardt, to sit in on a session? (Watch Django and Grappelli play together in the 1938 film, Jazz Hot here.) Well… why not? They needed something impressive to follow Dark Side of the Moon, after all.

Still, for all the richness of the result you hear here and all the fan-hours spent listening to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album in the 35 years after it came out, the public never got to hear Grappelli’s playing foregrounded until Immersion reissued it three years ago. This long-lost but rediscovered mix of the title track marks, to the mind of Pink Floyd founding member Nick Mason, a marked improvement over the version on the original album. “I think that was the jewel in that particular crown,” he said to Sonic Reality. “It was something that I assumed had been lost forever. I thought we’d recorded over it. [ … ] I can’t imagine why we didn’t use it at the time.” In the one they did use at the time, what remains of Grappelli’s playing came out so inaudible that the album’s credits didn’t even name the violinist. I’d like to chalk up another point for the cultural revision made possible by our technological age, but alas, I doubt any sort of rediscovery will break true Floyd acolytes of their adherence to the canon.

via Something Else Reviews

Related Content:

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Watch Documentaries on the Making of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here

Dark Side of the Rainbow: Pink Floyd Meets The Wizard of Oz in One of the Earliest Mash-Ups

Watch Pink Floyd Play Live in the Ruins of Pompeii (1972)

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Legend Django Reinhardt

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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by | Permalink | Comments (7) |

  • Howard Siegel

    Thank you…most enjoyable. My first taste of Pink Floyd in decades has re-awakened my joy for their art.

  • Streo Field

    You can hear the engineer bring the right channel into the master recording a few seconds into the intro. What an incredibly unique recording. Great find! Cheers.

  • John S. Wilkins

    I recall seeing an interview about this session, where Grappelli was asked about how he found it. His reply, as I recall it, was “They are very nice boys, but always the same three chords!” in that lovely high pitched voice of his.

  • john

    It’s nice to hear this version, but I think the folks who cut the album as it was released made the right call. Less is more. Maybe even Grappelli would agree that this version spends a whole lot of time on just three chords. :)

  • Shaun

    Just perfect… My favourite song, thank you.

  • pedrostephano

    I’ve never heard a violin being played with notes so bent, so purposefully.


  • Shibani Ghosh

    Love your stuff