That Solo in Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” is David Gilmour’s First Take

Sometimes, you get it right the first time

Pink Floyd, 1980
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd performs on stage at Earls Court Arena on 'The Wall' tour, on August 7th, 1980 in London, England.
Pete Still/Redferns

For decades now, fans of Pink Floyd have savored David Gilmour’s stunning guitar solo at the end of the song “Comfortably Numb.” The Wall is an album that’s mercurial in its emotions, featuring the band both at its most epic and at its most jarring. Gilmour’s solo is one of the few (intentionally) transcendent moments on the album, a selection of full-on guitar heroics that lands with a considerable impact.

And apparently, he recorded it in a single take.

A new article in Total Guitar (via Ultimate Classic Rock) that revisited the making of that solo offers plenty of insights into how it all came together. Total Guitar spoke with The Wall producer Bob Ezrin, who provided firsthand insights into the process. “The second solo in Comfortably Numb, which may be the best solo of all time, is actually a first take,” Ezrin told Total Guitar.

“It was so powerful when I heard it and saw him play it, it literally brought tears to my eyes – and it has many times since then,” he added. He also told Total Guitar that, while Gilmour’s solo was his first take to be recorded, there were other attempts recorded — but none of them quite clicked the way the initial one did.

The history of musical stardom abounds with stories of high-profile musicians, producers and engineers working on projects for significant amounts of time. As Ezrin’s recollections point out, though, sometimes the first attempt is the one that works the best.

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