On an Island

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On an Island
David Gilmour On An Island.jpg
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 Pink Floyd member David Gilmour. It was released in the UK on 6 March 2006, Gilmour's 60th birthday, and in the US the following day. It was his first solo album in twenty two years since 1984's About Face and twelve years since 1994's Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.


The album features Robert Wyatt, Jools Holland, Georgie Fame, David Crosby, Graham Nash, late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright, early Pink Floyd member Bob Klose and Pink Floyd session and touring musician Guy Pratt. 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 #72 on the UK Singles Chart.[8] "On an Island" also peaked at #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 #1,[8] giving Gilmour his first ever chart-topping album outside of Pink Floyd. It reached #1 on the European Chart, and #2 in Canada, Portugal and Iceland. It has also provided Gilmour with his first US Top 10 album, reaching #6. The album has achieved platinum status in Canada and has sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide.

Track listing[edit]

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

Live from Abbey Road television series, London, August 2006

  1. "Astronomy Domine" (Syd Barrett)

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

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


Main Article: On an Island tour


Chart (2006) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Norwegian Albums Chart 1
UK Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 6


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
12–18 March 2006
Succeeded by
Corinne Bailey Rae by Corinne Bailey Rae