This year marks the 4th anniversary of the tragic untimely death of musical icon, Prince (born Prince Rogers Nelson), who died at the age of 57 from an accidental drug overdose at his Paisley Park recording residence, in his hometown of Minnesota, on April 21, 2016. There have been a plethora of tributes before and since Prince’s passing, but an often overlooked cover took place circa 1992 with a rendition of one of Prince’s beloved hits “Purple Rain,” by Welsh singer extraordinaire Tom Jones and Pink Floyd lead guitarist, David Gilmour.
Jones saw a resurgence in his already illustrious career in the late eighties and early nineties, as previously reported in Rolling Stone, “…as part of his ITV miniseries The Right Time, which ran throughout the summer of 1992. The show found him examining the roots of pop music with episodes dedicated to gospel, soul, country, and rhythm & blues, and he used it as a platform to team with a stunning guest list that included Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, and Joe Cocker, among others. But perhaps the most unexpected collaboration was with Pink Floyd frontman David Gilmour on ‘Purple Rain.'”
Before the eclectic pairing of Jones and Gilmour on the purple one’s arguably greatest hit “Purple Rain,” Jones flexed his silky smooth deep toned vocals in a collaboration with British synth-pop group The Art of Noise for their 1988 The Best of The Art of Noise compilation cut “Kiss” a cover of Prince’s 1986 No. 1 hit. Jones was not the only one to have a musical renaissance of sorts, according to the aforementioned Rolling Stone article, “Pink Floyd were experiencing a massive commercial surge at the time, after their 1987 LP A Momentary Lapse of Reason enabled them to play stadiums throughout the late Eighties, and they were still a few years out from another monster tour in support of 1994’s The Division Bell.” As of late, Gilmour has recently released his first new song in five years titled, “Yes, I Have Ghosts.”
Jones’ The Right Time rendition of “Purple Rain,” along with assisted live backing instrumentation and vocals, and an ardently powerful guitar accompaniment courtesy of Gilmour, make it a cover all of its own. Like a preacher at the pulpit, Jones commands his vocals in a suave yet subtly subdued manner. Faithful to the original lyrics, Jones belts out Prince’s beautiful lyrics with sophisticated soul. Right after Jones ends his sung vocal delivery with a howl, it is truly a remarkable listen when Gilmour plays the equally spellbinding familiar chord progressions. Gilmour’s signature sound plus the faithful rock guitar solo makes Gilmour’s “Purple Rain” rendition stand out as one of “The Beautiful Ones.”
To take a look back, listen to David Gilmour and Tom Jones’ “Purple Rain” cover by streaming below, via YouTube.