Unearthed: Pink Floyd's secret track with Yehudi Menuhin's partner

Predictably, there has been a vast amount of press coverage for Pink Floyd’s remastered edition of The Dark Side of the Moon amid all the usual celebrity hype. Wish You Were Here is now getting the same treatment.

sharp-eared reporter who actually listened to the album has spotted an alternative version of the title track, with a haunting violin solo.

The player is none other than the jazz violinist Stéphane Grapelli, who happened to be in Abbey Road that day in May 1975. I happen to remember that he was making Strictly for the Birds with Yehudi Menuhin and must have wandered into the Pink Floyd session – as one does at Abbey Road.

Stéphane was a master of improvisation. In my history of classical recording,

I describe how he wrote some of the Birds tracks in the taxi on his way to Abbey Road, trying to get his name as author onto the album to extract an extra royalty. Late in life, he was still poor as a churchmouse.

I can’t wait to hear his Pink Floyd solo.

 

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  • “But it has taken six weeks for a sharp-eared reporter to spot an alternative version…” ? The 2CD version which has the Grappelli track on CD2 was released in the UK on 7 November, just 3 days ago. (8 November here in the US).

  • This was hardly a ‘secret’ even before the CD reissue was announced some months ago. Mark Blake writes in his book on Pink Floyd (p.230) “When it was discovered that the classical violinists [sic] Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grapelli were recording a duet at Abbey Road, Gilmour suggested Grapelli come in and play a final violin coda to the song ‘Wish You Were Here’. Grapelli haggled over his fee but finally settled at £300. In the end, his playing is virtually inaudible in the final mix. ‘It was terrific fun though’ recalled Gilmour. ‘Avoiding his wandering hands’.”

  • Doesn’t Grappelli deserve his own name in the headline? I’d have thought he was celebrated enough even among classical geeks not to need to be just Menuhin’s sidekick…

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