Paul McCartney was always a prolific songwriter. He wrote 10 of The Beatles’ No. 1 hits, and his success continued after the Fab Four fractured. Macca penned chart-topping tunes with Wings, as a solo artist, and as a collaborator. The Beatles coexisted with Pink Floyd for a few years, and although the two bands never worked together, Paul leaned on Floyd guitarist David Gilmour on the only hit song from what might be the biggest disaster of Macca’s solo career.
Paul McCartney and The Beatles never worked with Pink Floyd
The Beatles and Pink Floyd didn’t overlap very much. The two bands’ recording careers synced up from 1967 to 1969. The Fab Four were extinct when Floyd found fame in the 1970s. Floyd and The Beatles never collaborated, yet the bands crossed paths in the few years they overlapped.
Saucerful of Secrets author Nicholas Schaffner writes that Paul and John Lennon attended an early Pink Floyd gig in a London club. Floyd recorded their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawnnext door to The Beatles as they made Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at Abbey Road Studios. The respective recording sessions were the scene for Floyd bassist Roger Waters’ regrettable meeting with John.
Floyd tapped Paul for some help on The Dark Side of the Moon. The band didn’t use his contribution, but he didn’t hold a grudge. Paul relied on Floyd guitarist David Gilmour to provide a bright spot on what might be the darkest blotch on his solo career.
David Gilmour played guitar on the only hit song from Paul’s disastrous ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’
Paul and The Beatles existed separately from Pink Floyd, but they weren’t complete strangers. Macca contributed an unused part two Dark Side; he and Gilmour rubbed shoulders at the 1976 Knebworth Festival.
Paul called on Gilmour to play guitar on “No More Lonely Nights.” The first song on the soundtrack to Macca’s movie Give My Regards to Broad Street might be the only bright spot in the whole project. The song lasted 18 weeks on the Billboard singles chart, peaking at No. 6 in late 1984. It reached No. 2 during its 15 weeks on the British charts, per the Official Charts Company.
Aside from “No More Lonely Nights” — a solid power ballad that features Gilmour’s unmistakable guitar tone throughout — Give My Regards to Broad Street was a disaster for Paul. He wrote the screenplay, starred in the movie, and composed the soundtrack. Whether he bit off more than he could chew with the passion project or didn’t commit enough time to each element, the movie didn’t go over well. Paul received a Golden Globe nomination despite heavily critical reviews. Audiences and professional critics dismissed it as one of his worst solo projects.
Regards wasn’t the first or last time Paul and Gilmour hooked up. The Floyd guitarist played on two songs on Wings’ Back to the Egg album, and he lent his talents to “We Got Married” from Macca’s Flowers in the Dirt record.
Macca’s ex-Beatles bandmates weren’t huge fans of ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’
Paul tapped Gilmour for “No More Lonely Nights” at a time when Pink Floyd was in limbo. (The members fought for control of the band’s name in court in the mid-1980s). The guitarist had time to spare, and working with a music legend was a fine way to fill it.
Gilmour wasn’t the only all-star musician to play on the Regards soundtrack. Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones contributed, as did Ringo Starr. The drummer happily teamed up with his former bandmate on the new tunes, but he refused to record Beatles songs that appeared on the record, of which there were several.
He wasn’t involved with the project, but George Harrison questioned why Paul included so many Beatles songs on the soundtrack.
Give My Regards to Broad Street was all-around forgettable, but don’t blame David Gilmour, whose guitar on “No More Lonely Nights” might be the only highlight of Paul McCartney’s disaster of passion project.
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