It was 20 years ago this year, Pink Floyd began to disappear. But now it seems the classic British band is about to materialize again.
Polly Samson, the wife of the band’s lead singer-guitarist David Gilmour, has announced via Twitter that a Pink Floyd album called “The Endless River” will be released come October. But Samson says it’s “based on 1994 sessions,” which would seem to indicate these will be old tracks goosed with new overdubs. Pink Floyd released what seemed to be its final album, “The Division Bell,” in April 1994 (an album that just received the deluxe reissue treatment).
Samson said the music represents the “swan song” of keyboardist Rick Wright, who died of cancer in 2008 at age 65. But that’s incorrect if by “swan song” one means the last music Wright made, as opposed to the last recording released that featured playing by a given musician.
Wright issued the second of his two solo albums, “Broken China,” in 1996; at the time, in an interview posted on pinkfloydfan.net, he said he started work on it after the “Division Bell” tour ended.
Attempts to get input from Pink Floyd’s most recent label, Sony Music Entertainment, were not immediately successful.
As things stand, there’s very little left of the band to revive. With Wright gone, Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason are the only surviving members of the 1994 lineup. Roger Waters is still kicking, but the acerbic Floyd co-founder and singer-bassist has had mostly bilious relations with his former mates since 1983, when “The Final Cut” album signaled the end of Pink Floyd’s spectacular post-Syd Barrett era. There were signs of a thaw in 2005, when Waters joined Gilmour, Mason and Wright for a benefit concert that drew strictly from Pink Floyd’s ample stock of elegant art-rock chestnuts.
Gilmour, Mason and Wright had regrouped as Pink Floyd in 1987 -- to Waters’ great displeasure. They put out an album of new material, “Momentary Lapse of Reason” and toured to support it. In 1994, another cycle of touring ensued after “The Division Bell” was released, and that seemed to be it for the group.
Gilmour released a 2006 solo album, “On an Island,” that featured lyrics by Samson, a novelist and short story writer; the Los Angeles Times’ review described it as “a sentimental ode to their family life.” She also had six co-writing credits on “The Division Bell.”
For what it’s worth as a possible indication of the 1994 material said to be arriving this fall, The Times’ review of “The Division Bell” damned the band with partial praise, saying that “Gilmour’s airy singing and economically bluesy guitar leads are perennially lovely, if drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Rick Wright are by now dead weight.”