Pink Floyd

The Great Gig in the Sky

Composed by Clare Torry / Richard Wright

Song Review by

The centerpiece track of Dark Side of the Moon and one of the most chilling pieces of music Pink Floyd ever produced, "The Great Gig in the Sky" is at its base a simple piano-based instrumental written by keyboardist Rick Wright. A somber piece with a funereal feel, its working title during the album's gestation was "the religious sequence" and early live versions incorporated tapes of sermons, but it wasn't until very late in the album's six-month recording sessions, as the album was finally being finished, that Roger Waters suggested a vocal part to enliven it. Claire Torry, an EMI staff songwriter and session vocalist suggested by engineer Alan Parsons, was brought in for a single Sunday session and improvised a melody line of wordless vocals that simultaneously evoke sexual ecstasy and the wailing of a banshee. The addition of a David Gilmour slide guitar part echoing Torry's vocals is a more subtle but equally effective final touch.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1972 EMD Int'l
The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Pink Floyd 4:43
No Image 1991 Capitol/EMI Records
Delicate Sound: Live 1991 Sony Music Distribution
Shine On 1992 Columbia 4:44
Live Bell 1994 Kiss the Stone 4:47
Pulse [Video] 1995 Sony Music Distribution
Pulse 1995 Legacy 5:52
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd 2001 Columbia / Legacy / Pink Floyd / Sony Music 4:40
Dark Side of the Moon: Live Boston Gardens 18.6.1975... and More 2005 Face To Face Records 5:45
Oh by the Way 2007 Capitol 4:44
A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd 2011 Pink Floyd / Sony Music 4:36
Dark Side of the Moon: Trance Remix
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