Pink Floyd - The Great Gig In The Sky

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Pink Floyd - The Great Gig In The Sky

Copyright - 1973 Capitol Records

"The Great Gig in the Sky" is the fifth track from English progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. It features soaring voice instrumental music by Clare Torry. The song was called either "The Religion Song"or "The Mortality Sequence" during recording.

In an interview, Torry mentioned that she was trying to emulate an instrument. So it was, from all published accounts, an improvisation with Torry apparently using her songwriting skills to give it form and function.

In fact, she mentions in her interview that she was never clearly told that the song was about death. In a different interview on the DVD "The Dark Side of the Moon" (Eagle Vision EV 30042-9 US NTSC version), Richard Wright mentions that she began singing words and they knew they didn't want that. Published interviews mention that she recorded the takes very quickly - on the DVD, the track sheet shows two tracks (four takes) used for her vocals.

In her interview, she mentions that an accountant at Abbey Road called her; other interviews with band members mentioned that Alan Parsons suggested her.

Chris Thomas, who was brought in to assist Alan Parsons in mixing the album mentions that they were actually in mixdown at the time. On the DVD, various members mention that they had this song and weren't quite sure what to do with it. Wright further mentions that when she finished, she was apologetic about her performance even though those present were amazed at her improvisation.

In Torry's interview she mentions that she left thinking that it wouldn't be included on the final cut. In fact, she states that the only way she knew it was used was when she saw it at a local record store, saw her name in the credits and purchased it.

During live performances by Pink Floyd, up to three singers were used, each taking different parts of the song. For example, Durga McBroom performed on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell tours, as well as at Knebworth and on Gilmour's solo tours.

Aside from the soaring vocals there are two spoken parts, an introduction at 0:38 spoken by Gerry O'Driscoll (an Irish Abbey Road Studios doorman at the time), and Puddie Watts' (wife of roadie Peter Watts) voice at 3:33.

In 2004, Torry sued Pink Floyd and EMI for songwriting royalties, on the basis that her contribution to "Great Gig in the Sky" constituted co-authorship with Rick Wright; originally, she was paid the standard Sunday flat studio rate of £30. In 2005, a settlement was reached in High Court in Torry's favour, although terms were not disclosed. In the P*U*L*S*E DVD booklet, "The Great Gig in the Sky" is credited to Wright and "vocal composition by Clare Torry".

Most of the song is a slightly altered arrangement of the beat and bassline from the song "Breathe". The beat and bassline were very much part of Pink Floyd's playing style as far back as Atom Heart Mother. However, due to the altered beat and bassline, it is not directly related to "Breathe", unlike the last part of "Time" (sometimes listed in songbooks as "Breathe (Reprise)"), and "Any Colour You Like" (sometimes nicknamed "Breathe (2nd Reprise)").

When the Dark Side of the Moon suite was performed in 1972 (before the album was released), the song was completely different and went under the title "The Mortality Sequence". Then, it was simply an organ and samples of people speaking about death being played during the performance.

Lyrics:
"And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I
don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying?
There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."

"I never said I was frightened of dying."

"I never said I was frightened of dying."

(Instrumental)

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=D, DE, Pink Floyd, Teamzo, UN, Music & Dance
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