Watch David Gilmour wring every ounce of emotion from the guitar solo on Prince's Purple Rain – with Tom Jones

David Gilmour on The Right Time
(Image credit: ITV)

Back in 1992, British broadcaster ITV gave Tom Jones his own TV show. The Welsh star had been there before, with This Is Tom Jones running from 1969 to 1971 on US network ABC, but Jones' stock had fallen in the years since. A cover of Prince's classic Kiss confirmed an early 1990s resurgence, and Tom Jones: The Right Time was his reward: a 30-minute, prime-time Saturday night exploration of popular music. 

Over the course of six episodes, Jones explored pop, gospel, soul, country, Celtic music and rhythm and blues, with guests like Stevie Wonder, Daryl Hall, Al Jarreau, Joe Cocker and EMF on hand to enliven proceedings. 

The highlight of the series may have arrived on June 13, 1992, during the episode devoted to gospel, when Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour joined Jones onstage for a version of Prince's epochal Purple Rain. Floyd weren't busy – The Division Bell was two years away, so Gilmour wasn't on the show to promote his latest product – but the relaxed confidence in his performance is apparent. 

Gilmour makes the solo his own while retaining the spirit of Prince's original, replacing the diminutive Minneapolitan explosive work with something no less grand in scale but perhaps more refined. More English. More Floydian. And while Jones's mighty bellow lacks Prince's soul, the end result is definitely worth watching.    

More than 20 years later, Gilmour played the solo again, this time in tribute. Less than a week after Prince's death, during a Teenage Cancer Trust show at London's Royal Albert Hall, Gilmour and his band took a sudden detour during the traditional showstopper Comfortably Numb, and smoothly blended Purple Rain into the performance as the stage was bathed in purple light.

David Gilmour's new solo album, Luck And Strange, is released in September.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.