On an Island

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On an Island
Studio album by David Gilmour
Released 6 March 2006
Recorded 2001–05
Genre Progressive rock, art rock, blues rock, space rock
Length 51:36
Label EMI (UK)
Columbia Records (US)
Producer David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Chris Thomas
David Gilmour chronology
About Face
On an Island
Live in Gdańsk
Singles from On an Island
  1. "On an Island"
    Released: 15 February 2006
  2. "Smile"
    Released: 13 June 2006
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 67/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[4]
musicOMH 3/5 stars[5]
Mojo 4/5 stars[6]

On an Island is the third solo album by David Gilmour, a vocalist and lead guitarist for Pink Floyd. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour's 60th birthday, and in the United States the following day. It was his first solo album in 22 years, since About Face (1984) and first studio album in 12 years, since Pink Floyd's The Division Bell (1994).


The album features Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, David Crosby, Graham Nash; the late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright; a member of an early incarnation of Pink Floyd, Bob Klose; and Guy Pratt, a Pink Floyd session and touring musician. Chris Thomas and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera assisted with production. The lyrics were principally written by Gilmour's wife, Polly Samson.


Much of the album was recorded in Gilmour's private studio aboard his houseboat Astoria. The track "Smile" was heard briefly in an unmastered form on the BBC2 show Three Men in a Boat which retraced a trip on the River Thames that passed the houseboat.

Orchestrations on the album were arranged by noted Polish film composer Zbigniew Preisner and conducted by Robert Ziegler. The orchestra was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Simon Rhodes.[7]


The album also produced two singles; the title track "On an Island" and "Smile", the latter peaking at number 72 on the UK Singles Chart.[8] "On an Island" also peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[9]

Promo Single edits of "Take a Breath" and "This Heaven" were issued to coincide with the US leg of the tour, while "Smile" was the second single in the UK.

Other releases[edit]

Copies of the album initially purchased from Best Buy in the US contained an exclusive bonus audio CD with the instrumental track "Island Jam" which was subsequently released on the CD single for "Smile" in Europe.

The album was re-released in November 2006 with a bonus DVD of live tracks and other material.

Chart performance[edit]

On an Island entered the UK charts at number 1,[8] giving Gilmour his first ever chart-topping album outside of Pink Floyd. It reached number 1 on the European Chart, and number 2 in Canada, Portugal and Iceland. It has also provided Gilmour with his first US Top 10 album, reaching number 6. The album has achieved platinum status in Canada and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Castellorizon" (Gilmour) – 3:54
  2. "On an Island" (Gilmour/Samson) – 6:47
  3. "The Blue" (Gilmour/Samson) – 5:26
  4. "Take a Breath" (Gilmour/Samson) – 5:46
  5. "Red Sky at Night" (Gilmour) – 2:51
  6. "This Heaven" (Gilmour/Samson) – 4:24
    • Featuring David Gilmour on guitars, vocals, bass guitar, Phil Manzanera on guitars, Andy Newmark on drums, Orchestrations by Zbigniew Preisner and Georgie Fame on Hammond organ.
  7. "Then I Close My Eyes" (Gilmour) – 5:26
    • Featuring David Gilmour on guitars, cümbüş, bass harmonica, BJ Cole on dobro guitar, Robert Wyatt on cornet, percussion, vocals, Phil Manzanera on guitars, Andy Newmark on percussion, Orchestrations by Zbigniew Preisner, Caroline Dale on cello and Alasdair Malloy on glass harmonica.
  8. "Smile" (Gilmour/Samson) – 4:03
    • Featuring David Gilmour on guitars, vocals, percussion, Hammond Organ, bass guitar, Polly Samson on vocals, Willie Wilson on drums and orchestrations by Zbigniew Preisner.
  9. "A Pocketful of Stones" (Gilmour/Samson) – 6:17
    • Featuring David Gilmour on guitars, vocals, Hammond Organ, piano, bass, percussion, Leszek Mozdzer on piano, Lucy Wakeford on harp, Alasdair Malloy on glass harmonica, Chris Thomas on keyboard, Chris Laurence on double bass, Ilan Eshkeri on programming and orchestrations by Zbigniew Preisner.
  10. "Where We Start" (Gilmour) – 6:45
    • Featuring David Gilmour on guitars, vocals, bass guitar, percussion, Hammond organ, Andy Newmark on drums and orchestrations by Zbigniew Preisner.

Bonus DVD[edit]

Live from the AOL Sessions, New York, April 2006.

  1. "On an Island" (Gilmour/Samson)
  2. "This Heaven" (Gilmour/Samson)
  3. "Smile" (Gilmour/Samson)
  4. "Take a Breath" (Gilmour/Samson)
  5. "High Hopes" (Gilmour/Samson)
  6. "Comfortably Numb" (Gilmour/Waters)

Live from Abbey Road television series, London, August 2006

  1. "Astronomy Domine" (Barrett)

Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London, May 2006 (from Remember That Night).

  1. "Take a Breath" (Gilmour/Samson)


Richard Wright, Phil Manzanera and Guy Pratt joined Gilmour on tour to promote the album. The tour also featured Dick Parry, who played saxophone on Pink Floyd songs "Money", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Us and Them" and "Wearing the Inside Out" also he performed solo in "Then I Close My Eyes", and Jon Carin, who in 1980s and 1990s toured with Pink Floyd and helped in studio. Zbigniew Preisner conducted orchestra in concert in Gdansk. Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason joined for an encore of the London show. David Bowie made a guest appearance in London, performing vocals on "Comfortably Numb" and "Arnold Layne", the latter subsequently released as a live single. David Crosby and Graham Nash also appeared on select dates, reprising their studio performance of "On an Island", as well as singing on three other songs.
The tour was documented by the release of a live DVD, Remember That Night recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2006 and a live album, Live in Gdańsk a recording of the final show of the tour at the Gdańsk Shipyard, Poland in August 2006.


Set one:

  1. "Speak to Me" / "Breathe In the Air"
  2. "Time" / "Breathe (Reprise)"
    (At the beginning of the tour the above tracks were played during Set 2)
  3. On an Island (entire album)
    (At the beginning of the tour the On an Island album made up the entire first set. The album was originally played in order, but half way through the American tour "Take a Breath" was moved so it was played after "Smile".)

All above tracks were present at every show.

Set two: The second set featured a selection of these tracks:

  1. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1–2, 4–5)" (Always present in the set. Occasionally performed with David Crosby and Graham Nash. "Part 3" was omitted to make the song's intro more guitar focused.)
  2. "Astronomy Domine" (Added during the second European tour, after the UK tour.)
  3. "Dark Globe" (Performed during July & August, after the death of Syd Barrett.)
  4. "Wot's... Uh the Deal?"
  5. "Wearing the Inside Out"
  6. "Fat Old Sun"
  7. "On the Turning Away" (one-off, unrehearsed performance in Venice, Italy on 12 August 2006)
  8. "Dominoes"
  9. "Arnold Layne" (was added at the end of the U.S. leg with Richard Wright on lead vocals although a performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 May 2006 featured David Bowie on vocals)
  10. "Coming Back to Life"
  11. "High Hopes" (Always present in the set)
  12. "The Great Gig in the Sky" (performed on 30th/31 May 2006 with Mica Paris and during the early European dates, but was dropped until the London dates.)
  13. "Echoes" (Always present in the set, always the show-closer before the encore.)


  1. "Wish You Were Here" (Always present in the set)
  2. "A Great Day for Freedom" (one off performance in Gdansk, Poland on 26 August 2006)
  3. "Find the Cost of Freedom" (only performed with David Crosby and Graham Nash)
  4. "Comfortably Numb" (Always present in the set. Always the final song of the shows. On 29 May 2006 at the Royal Albert Hall David Bowie sang lead vocals on the verses.)

Tour Personnel[edit]


  • David Gilmour – Guitars, vocals, cümbüş on "Then I Close My Eyes", alto saxophone on "Red Sky At Night"
  • Richard Wright – Piano, Organ, Vocals
  • Phil Manzanera – Guitars, vocals, Glass harmonica on "Shine On" (Gdansk show only)
  • Guy Pratt – Bass guitar, double-bass, vocals, guitar on "Then I Close My Eyes", Glass harmonica on "Shine On" (Gdansk show only)
  • Jon Carin – Keyboards, vocals, lap steel guitar
  • Dick Parry – Tenor and baritone saxophones, Keyboards, Glass harmonica on "Shine On" (Gdansk show only)
  • Steve DiStanislao – Drums, percussion, vocals


  • David Crosby - Vocals on "On an Island", "The Blue", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Find the Cost of Freedom" (various dates)
  • Graham Nash - Vocals on "On an Island", "The Blue", "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Find the Cost of Freedom" (various dates)
  • Robert Wyatt - Cornet on "Then I Close My Eyes" (Royal Albert Hall shows)
  • David Bowie - Vocals on "Arnold Layne" and "Comfortably Numb" (Royal Albert Hall, 29th May 2006)
  • Mica Paris - Vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky"
  • Nick Mason - Drums on "Comfortably Numb" (Royal Albert Hall, 30th & 31st May 2006)
  • Igor Sklyarov - Glass harmonica on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (Venice, 12th August 2006)
  • Leszek Możdżer - Piano (Gdansk, 26th August 2006)
  • Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra (Gdansk, 26th August 2006)


Album – Based on stock pushed to shops, not actual sales in North America

Year Chart Position
2006 Billboard 200 6
2006 Canadian Albums Chart 2
2006 UK Albums Chart 1
2006 Norwegian Albums Chart 1


The song "Castellorizon" received a Grammy Award nomination for best rock instrumental.

The album has achieved platinum status in Canada for shipping 100,000 units.[10]


  1. ^ On an Island at Metacritic
  2. ^ On an Island at AllMusic
  3. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/9449331/review/9777389/on_an_island[dead link]
  4. ^ John L Walters (24 February 2006). "CD: David Gilmour, On an Island | Music". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Hubbard, Michael. "David Gilmour – On An Island". musicomh.com/. 
  6. ^ Blake, Mark (2008–10), Raves from Dave, Mojo, p. 48  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ http://www.davidgilmour.com/music_island.htm
  8. ^ a b "David Gilmour | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  9. ^ On an Island at AllMusic
  10. ^ "Canadian certifications – On an Island". Music Canada. 
Preceded by
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae
UK number one album
12 March 2006 – 18 March 2006
Succeeded by
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae