A Momentary Lapse of Reason is Pink Floyd's 1987 album, the band's first release after the departure of Roger Waters from the band in 1985. The album reached #3 on both the U.S. and UK charts. It was released in the UK and the rest of Europe on EMI and on Columbia Records for the rest of the world.
The recording sessions started in October 1986 as a new David Gilmour project. Gilmour revealed on the Shine On and A Momentary Lapse of Reason episodes of In the Studio with Redbeard that it was almost his third solo album as the material initially sounded too weak to be a Pink Floyd album. He then went on to say that by Christmas of 1986 that he had enough confidence to turn the album into a Pink Floyd project.
The music press responded with mostly negative reviews of the album (though Rolling Stone claimed it portended "a Floyd with a future"), despite its heavy airplay rotation on video and radio music stations. Many fans regard this album a David Gilmour effort, rather than an actual Pink Floyd album. The allmusic review refers to it as a "Gilmour solo album in all but name". Waters himself described it as "a pretty fair forgery or a good copy" of a Pink Floyd record; his most generous appraisal was that the album contained "a few bright moments when I heard something and thought, 'Well, maybe I'd have done something with that'." But Waters also commented that to him, Pink Floyd no longer existed.
Session keyboardist Jon Carin, whom Gilmour met and played with in Bryan Ferry's band at Live Aid, went on to collaborate with both Pink Floyd and Roger Waters on subsequent albums and tours. Pink Floyd's original keyboardist Richard Wright arrived during the sessions, but did not officially rejoin the band due to concerns about his severance contract with Waters (the initial album lists Pink Floyd as consisting of only Gilmour and Mason; however, later re-releases add his name). Wright can be heard playing on a few tracks, notably "Sorrow", which features his background vocals. Most other keyboard parts on the album were played by Carin, Gilmour or Ezrin.
It has been rumoured that some of the songs on A Momentary Lapse of Reason were David Gilmour's rejected contributions to The Final Cut. Early demos to songs like "The Dogs of War," "Round and Around," and the melody to "On the Turning Away" are the only known songs to be rejected.
The recording heard in the middle of "Learning to Fly" is of Mason talking to an air traffic control tower in his private aircraft (both he and Gilmour became enthusiastic pilots after conquering their mutual fear of flying).
A Momentary Lapse of Reason is Pink Floyd's first fully digital recording; however, the acoustic drums and bass guitar tracks were recorded on analogue equipment.
The official Storm Thorgerson website actually covers a version of this story:
700, yes 700, wrought iron hospital beds separately made up and positioned on the beach. Madness to do it at all, but we had in fact to do it twice cos it rained suddenly the first time, dank grey dizzle, and we couldn't see the distant half of the beds.
In the gatefold sleeve was a portrait of David Gilmour and Nick Mason making it the first time that a picture of the members of Pink Floyd appeared in a gatefold sleeve since 1971's Meddle album (not counting a poster of the band members on stage that came with vinyl copies of The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973)
The vinyl copies had two picture labels. Side one depicted a black and white photo of a man rowing his boat. Side two depicted the beds from the front cover on a beach with the dogs of war running whilst a man is sitting on a bed and a female maid is standing up.
It is also the only one of the post-Waters Pink Floyd albums to have a remastered EMI version. The Columbia version is now out of print and will be re-released by Capitol/EMI in the not too distant future.
The Momentary Lapse Tour, according to Tim Renwick, was only supposed to last 11 weeks. Originally the band would play a show at Wembley Stadium, tour the United States Of America, and finish back again at Wembley, much like what Roger Waters was doing on his Radio K.A.O.S tour. The tour began on 9 September 1987 at Lansdowne Park Ottawa, Canada, and finished at BC Place in Vancouver, Canada, on 10 December 1987. The World Tour began with the band's first and only New Zealand performance at Western Springs in Auckland, New Zealand on 23 January 1988 and finished at the Nassau Coliseum, Long Island, on 23 August 1988. In the spring and summer of 1989, the band did another European leg of the tour, dubbing it Another Lapse. During the tour, the band played two consecutive nights in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center, where one of the men who the band was named for, Floyd Council was born.
|1987||UK album chart||3|
|1987||The Billboard 200||3|
|1987||Billboard CD Charts||1|
|1987||Norway's album chart||2|
|1987||"Learning to Fly"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|1987||"Learning to Fly"||The Billboard Hot 100||70|
|1987||"Learning to Fly"||UK Singles Charts||55|
|1987||"On the Turning Away"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|1988||"The Dogs of War"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||10|
|1988||"One Slip"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||5|
|1988||"Sorrow"||Mainstream Rock Tracks||36|
The album debuted at #43 on the Billboard 200 and, like in the UK, rose to No. 3 in the United States as Michael Jackson's Bad and Whitesnake's Whitesnake '87 occupied the top two spots respectively at numbers 1 and 2. The album remained on the US charts for over a year.