The Division Bell Discography
The Division Bell is the most recent studio album released to date by Pink Floyd, released in 1994 (March 30 in the United Kingdom and April 5 in the United States), and the second album without original bassist Roger Waters. It was recorded at a number of studios, including guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour’s houseboat studio called The Astoria. It went to #1 in the UK and debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200 album charts in April of 1994, spending four weeks as the top album in the country. By contrast, Pink Floyd’s previous album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, had peaked at #3. The Division Bell was certified Gold, Platinum, and Double Platinum in the U.S. in June of 1994 and Triple Platinum in January of 1999. Its release was accompanied by an extremely successful tour documented in the Pā€¢Uā€¢Lā€¢Sā€¢E album released the following year.
Before the Roger Waters-led period, David Gilmour stated that the music and lyrics were in balance, and the importance of the music was understood. The Division Bell’s atmosphere is spacier, sounding more like Meddle or Obscured by Clouds than the grittier and harsher tones of Animals or The Wall. David Gilmour and Richard Wright stated on “In the Studio with Redbeard”, which spotlighted The Division Bell (including interviews which were recorded for The Division Bell’s world premiere special aired one week before its U.S. release) that the album was the band’s best since their 1975 release Wish You Were Here.
This release marks the first time Richard Wright had sung lead vocals on a Pink Floyd album since 1973’s The Dark Side of the Moon, although he did provide backing vocals for Wish You Were Here, Animals and A Momentary Lapse of Reason. It also marks his first songwriting credit on a Pink Floyd album since Wish You Were Here.
The track “Marooned” was awarded a Grammy in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the Grammy Awards of 1994. This has been Pink Floyd’s only Grammy to date.
EMI concocted an Internet-based “puzzle” known as the Publius Enigma in connection with the album’s release. Officially, it was never solved.
Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series, chose the name of the album, being a friend of David Gilmour. This came about because the three band members could not agree on an album title (with both “Pow Wow” and “Down to Earth” being suggested). When Gilmour told Adams about the problem, Adams quickly responded that he had a title, but that he would only tell Gilmour if he would donate Ā£25,000 to the Save the Rhino foundation. Gilmour agreed and the name, taken from a line in the final track, “High Hopes”, was suggested. The phrase itself derives from the division bell, which is rung in the British House of Commons, and some other legislatures, to signal the commencement of a division (vote) to Members of Parliament.
Despite no specific over-arching concept, there is a musical connection between the songs in the form of a linking theme of communication and the lack of it. Tracks such as “What Do You Want from Me”, “A Great Day for Freedom” and “Take It Back” seem chiefly concerned with communication problems within relationships, while “Keep Talking” is more generally about the importance of maintaining a dialogue and the dangers of allowing oneself to become insular. Samples of Professor Stephen Hawking from a telephone company advertisement provide the spoken word portions of “Keep Talking”.
While some songs can be interpreted as references to the then ongoing relationship problems between Pink Floyd members, especially the long-standing estrangement between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, Gilmour denies that the album is an allegory for the split and acknowledges only “a couple of hinted mentions that could or could not have something to do with him [Waters]”.
At the end of the album, Gilmour’s stepson, Charlie, can be heard hanging up the telephone on Pink Floyd manager Steve O’Rourke, who had pleaded to be allowed to appear on a Pink Floyd album.
The cover artwork, by long-time Pink Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson, shows two metal head sculptures sculpted by John Robertson, each over three metres tall and weighing 1500 kilograms. They were placed in a field in Cambridgeshire (shown at the above coordinates) and photographed under all weather and lighting conditions over a two-week period, sometimes with visual effects such as lights between them. Ely Cathedral is visible in the background, as are lights (actually car headlights on poles), shown through the sculptures’ mouths. Rumours circulated at the time of the photography that they were in excess of 20 metres high; this was not true. The sculptures are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
The cover photograph is slightly different on each format, and between the United States Columbia and British EMI releases. The Braille writing on the EMI CD jewel case spells Pink Floyd.
Two additional 7.5 metres tall stone head sculptures were made by Aden Hynes and photographed in the same manner; although they do not appear in the CD artwork, they appeared on the cassette cover, and can be seen in the tour brochure and elsewhere.
The artwork inside the lyric booklet revolves around a similar theme, except the heads are made up of various other objects, such as newspapers (“A Great Day for Freedom”), coloured glass (“Poles Apart”), and boxing gloves (“Lost for Words”). Pages two and three portray a picture from La Silla observatory.
ā€? We started off by going into Nick’s studio, Brittania Row studio in London, in January 1993 with myself, Nick [Mason], and Rick [Wright], and Guy [Pratt], the bass player from our last tour. And we just jammed away at anything for two weeks, just playing anything that we had in our heads or that we made up on the spot. And then we took all that over to Astoria and started listening to all the tapes and working stuff out. We found that we had 65 pieces of music, which we worked on all of to a certain extent, and then we started adding these things. We had a couple of sessions which we called ‘The Big Listen’ where we listened to all these 65, and all the people involved with it voted on each track, on each piece of music as to how popular it was with them. And so we then arranged these 65 pieces of music in order of popularity amongst the band, and then we dumped 40 of them, and worked on the top 25, which in fact became the top 27 because a couple more got added in. And so the process went on from there with us working away on all these pieces of music and gradually either merging pieces together or scrapping them until we finally were down to about twelve to fifteen things that we all kind of liked. And in the end one or two of them went by the way, and we were left with eleven on the album, I think. ā€¯
-David Gilmour, Questions and Answers with David Gilmour.
The album was received mostly poorly by professional critics despite its strong sales. Jerry McCully of Amazon.com said of the album in his editorial review that “The Division Bell is not a great Pink Floyd album, but an all-too-fallible simulation”. Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly echoed McCully’s sentiment, giving the album a grade of “D” and saying that “avarice is the only conceivable explanation for this glib, vacuous cipher of an album, which is notable primarily for its stomach-turning merger of progressive-rock pomposity and New Age noodling”. Tom Graves of Rolling Stone criticized lead guitarist David Gilmour’s performance on the album, stating that his guitar solos “were once the band’s centerpieces, as articulate, melodic and well-defined as any in rock, [but] he now has settled into rambling, indistinct asides that are as forgettable as they used to be indelible”, adding that “only on ‘What Do You Want from Me’ does Gilmour sound like he cares”. However, the album enjoys a strong positive reputation with Pink Floyd’s fanbase. Customer reviewer Alan Caylow gave it four stars out of a possible five on Amazon.com with praise for the band members’ individual accomplishments, saying that “Gilmour’s lead-guitar work still rocks, Wright’s keyboard-playing is terrific, and Mason, though drumming a bit slower this time out, still keeps the beat strong & steady”. Mark Henderson of the Pink Floyd fansite Pink Floyd.net called the album “quite possibly one of the most amazing albums of all time”, adding to fellow Pink Floyd.net reviewer Tim Shelton’s comment that The Division Bell “encompasses the best aspects of the band”. The album also has an average user rating of four out of five stars on both Amazon.com and Rolling Stone’s website as of June 2008.
All lead vocals performed by David Gilmour unless stated otherwise.
“Cluster One” (David Gilmour, Richard Wright) ā€“ 5:58
“What Do You Want from Me?” (Gilmour, Wright, Polly Samson) ā€“ 4:21
“Poles Apart” (Gilmour, Wright, Samson, Nick Laird-Clowes) ā€“ 7:04
“Marooned” (Gilmour, Wright) ā€“ 5:29
“A Great Day for Freedom” (Gilmour, Samson) ā€“ 4:17
“Wearing the Inside Out” (Wright, Anthony Moore) ā€“ 6:49
Lead vocals: Richard Wright
“Take It Back” (Gilmour, Samson, Laird-Clowes, Bob Ezrin) ā€“ 6:12
“Coming Back to Life” (Gilmour) ā€“ 6:19
“Keep Talking” (Gilmour, Wright, Samson) ā€“ 6:11
“Lost for Words” (Gilmour, Samson) ā€“ 5:14
“High Hopes” (Gilmour, Samson) ā€“ 8:32
The vinyl version was largely released on a single disc with edited versions of “Poles Apart”, “Marooned”, “Coming Back To Life”, “‘A Great Day for Freedom”, “Wearing the Inside Out” and “High Hopes”. Russian and South Korean versions are on two discs and do not contain any edits. Some issues contain the sound of a heartbeat in the locked groove at the end of each side.
“Take It Back” / “Astronomy Domine (live)” / “Take It Back” (edit) – Columbia 38-77493; released 31 May 1994
“High Hopes (radio edit)” / “Keep Talking (radio edit)” / “One of These Days (live)”; released 10 October 1994
David Gilmour ā€“ vocals, guitars, bass guitar, Keyboards, production, mixing and programming
Richard Wright ā€“ keyboards, piano, vocals
Nick Mason ā€“ drums, percussion and programming
Jon Carin ā€“ additional keyboards
Guy Pratt ā€“ bass guitar
Gary Wallis ā€“ percussion
Tim Renwick ā€“ guitars
Dick Parry ā€“ saxophone and trumpet
Carol Kenyon ā€“ backing vocals, vocals on “Keep Talking”
Sam Brown ā€“ backing vocals
Bob Ezrin ā€“ drums, production and composing in “Take It Back”
Anthony Moore – lyrics in “Wearing The Inside Out”
Michael Kamen ā€“ orchestral arrangements
Professor Stephen Hawking ā€“ digital voice on “Keep Talking”
Chris Thomas – mixing
Year – Chart – Position
1994 – UK Albums Chart – 1
1994 – U.S. Billboard 200 – 1
1994 – Norway’s albums Chart – 1
1994 – Australian Albums Chart – 1
Year – Single – Chart – Position
1994 – “Keep Talking” – U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks – 1
1994 – “Take It Back” – UK Singles Chart – 23
1994 – “Take It Back” – U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks – 4
1994 – “Take It Back” – U.S. Billboard Hot 100 – 73
1994 – “High Hopes” – UK Singles Chart – 26
1994 – “High Hopes” – U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks – 7
1994 – “Lost for Words” – U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks – 21
1994 – “What Do You Want from Me” – U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks – 16
The above article is courtesy of Wikipedia.
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