The Great Gig In The Sky is one of rock’s great moments. A highlight of the one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, Dark Side Of The Moon, Richard Wright’s relaxed, hazy piano refrain is complimented by an astonishing freeform vocal from session singer Clare Torry. If you’ve seen Pink Floyd (or David Gilmour) at any point over the last 40 years, that vocal is a live highlight, an emotional tour-de-force and a genuine challenge for anyone brave enough to tackle it.
What Wright probably didn’t have in mind when he and Tolly put the song together was that someone would eventually come along and replace that epic vocal with an equally epic kazoo solo.
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Let that sink in for a moment: One of the most towering individual performances in the history of music, replaced by a someone wailing on a the world’s cheapest, most-mocked musical instrument.
But the weirdest part of it all this is that the end result isn’t terrible. In fact, it’s rather good, capturing at least some of the original’s grand ambition. It’s by Alex McCulloch, a songwriter from Scarborough, Ontario, who is influenced by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and describes herself as “interested in writing songs that can make a room sizzle - stories that get people thinking.” This might not be her own song, but it does sizzle. Sort of.
Alex’s debut album A Strange Sense Of Humour is out now.