DAVID GILMOUR’S “ALL GOLD” LES PAUL, USED TO RECORD THE PINK FLOYD HIT ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2)
From first inception in 1952 until 1957, the standard Les Paul Model would be finished in a rich gold color on the top, with the back, sides and neck in a natural mahogany finish. By special order an “All Gold” finish was possible encompassing gold finish on the whole guitar except on the faceplate of the headstock. These “All Gold” variants are very rare among the 862 “Goldtop” Les Paul models produced in 1955. In 1958 the standard model Les Paul would change to a book matched maple top with a sunburst finish and a cherry-red finish on the back, sides and neck.
David Gilmour purchased this 1955 “All Gold” Les Paul from Dave DeForrest at Guitar Trader, Red Bank, New Jersey in 1978. Upon delivery, a note inscribed on a gum wrapper was found in the control cavity reading David, I have been your greatest fan since Saucerful. I set up this guitar, Wayne “Wolf” Larsen, 43, Oceanport Ave. West Long Branch N.J. 07764, I’d love to hear from you, I own 35 Pink Floyd Albums, I’d love to meet you if your [sic] in the US.
Despite being primarily associated with Fender, Gilmour has played some of his most classic solos on this Les Paul. Discussing his preference for the Stratocaster in an interview with Guitar Player in January 2009, Gilmour admitted that: …it’s very nice to play something else occasionally, like my gold top Les Paul with those old singlecoil P-90s… I suppose you could say that they are a little raunchier than Fenders. Most notably, Gilmour used the guitar for the famous guitar solo on Pink Floyd’s hit single Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2) from their 1979 album The Wall.
Based on a narrative concept by Roger Waters, The Wall was recorded at Super Bear Studios in the South of France from April to July 1979 and Producer's Workshop in Los Angeles from September to November 1979. An attack on the British education system and on the establishment in general, Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) would be the fifth track on the double album and the band’s first number one single in both the UK and US. Entirely unlike any other Pink Floyd song (largely due to the influence of co-producer Bob Ezrin), the track had a disco beat and a school choir on the second verse. In an interview with Guitar World magazine in 2009, Gilmour remembered: It wasn’t my idea to do disco music, it was Bob’s. He said to me, ‘Go to a couple of clubs and listen to what’s happening with disco music,’ so I forced myself out and listened to loud, four-to-the-bar bass drums and stuff and thought, Gawd, awful!’ Nevertheless, Gilmour set down a funky rhythm on his white Fender Stratocaster 0001 (lot 20), followed by a masterfully rhythmic and fluid solo on his recently acquired gold Les Paul, recorded directly into the mixing console in one take. The recording was subsequently fed back through an amplifier and recorded on a new track for a more ambient sound. The Les Paul also contributed to the recording of Another Brick In The Wall (Part 3).
The subsequent live shows in support of the album were the most spectacular to date, with a giant wall spanning the width of the auditorium. As the concept of The Wall had initially sprung from Waters’ hatred of the stadium experience, the exclusive arena tour consisted of only 31 dates in four cities - Los Angeles, New York, London and Dortmund in Germany - from February 1980 to June 1981. Gilmour played the Les Paul for performances of One of My Turns, Don't Leave Me Now, the medley The Last Few Bricks, and would sometimes swap out his Black Strat during the last chorus of Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) to play the solo on the gold Les Paul, as seen in footage and photographs from the shows at London’s Earl’s Court in 1980. The London performances were recorded and released in 2000 on the live album Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live 1980–81. Gilmour later used the Les Paul during recording of the song Round and Around on Pink Floyd’s 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason and for his solos on Poles Apart and A Great Day For Freedom on 1994’s The Division Bell, the latter solo clocking in at almost two minutes long.
The guitar next appeared on stage at an evening of Beatles music at Cowdray Park in West Sussex on 21st June 2002 in aid of the White Lotus School, Ladakh and the Tibet House Fund. Gilmour played the first of his two sets on the Goldtop alongside Genesis’ Mike Rutherford on bass and Bob Geldof on lead vocals for a medley of early Beatles numbers including I Wanna Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Please Please Me, and Love Me Do. Back in the studio, Gilmour used the 1955 Les Paul during the early recording sessions for what would become his 2006 solo album On An Island, until it was replaced by a newly acquired 1956 Goldtop with Bigsby tremolo unit, delivered part way through recording. Gilmour was last seen playing the 1955 Les Paul for a performance of Island Jam, the B-side to the single Smile, filmed in Studio Two at London’s Abbey Road Studios and released on his website as a teaser on 23rd December 2005 to promote the release of On An Island.