David Gilmour will release his first new song in five years via an unusual format, the audiobook.
The track, “Yes, I Have Ghosts,” will be available initially only on the audio edition of A Theatre for Dreamers, the latest novel by Gilmour’s wife and long-time collaborator, Polly Samson. The recording also features music Gilmour wrote for the story to accompany Samson’s narration. The audiobook will come out on June 25th, and the wide release of “Yes, I Have Ghosts,” will be a week later.
“Polly’s vivid and poetic writing, coupled with her very natural narration voice, made joining forces to produce the audio version of A Theatre for Dreamers a fantastic and fulfilling experience,” Gilmour said in a statement. He based the song off of one of the book’s characters. “The audiobook format has so much untapped potential, and I am surprised more musicians have not creatively collaborated with authors, narrators and audiobook producers in this way before. The two worlds seem to seamlessly link, and music can really help to bring audiobooks to life in unexpected new ways. We were also lucky to have our daughter Romany in lockdown with us to contribute harp and additional vocals. I am really pleased and proud of how Polly’s words and my music have entwined in this audio version of A Theatre for Dreamers.”
“We didn’t set out to work together on the audiobook, but lockdown meant I had to narrate and I’m grateful to David Gilmour for stepping into the producer’s chair,” Samson said. “We wanted to explore the creative possibilities of the format and produce something new, refreshing and innovative. Collaborating with David — as I have done many times over the last 30 years, writing songs for both Pink Floyd and his solo albums — we were able to bring together the worlds of literature and music to enhance the listening experience and connect with audiences in a way which I don’t think has been done before. I hope the audiobook, which was recorded in our home studio, is received with the same levels of warmth and positivity as the printed version and that listeners enjoy the fruits of our creative collaboration.”
In the past few weeks, Gilmour had been teasing the song and using it as the intro for his family’s weekly A Theatre for Dreamers Live webcasts. These were to be in-person, promotional spots for the book, but the pandemic forced them to film them from home, and the clan dubbed itself the “Von Trapped Family.” In addition to “Yes, I Have Ghosts,” the broadcasts also found Gilmour digging deep into the catalogue of Leonard Cohen — who features heavily in Samson’s book, which is set in Hydra in 1960, when Cohen arrived on the island — as well as a few even more surprising choices. The Cohen selections included “Bird on a Wire,” “So Long, Marianne,” “Fingertips,” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” He also tackled two solo songs he produced for his Pink Floyd bandmate Syd Barrett, “Octopus” and “Dominoes.”
Gilmour, who retired Pink Floyd with the release of 2014’s The Endless River, issued his most recent solo album, Rattle That Lock, in 2015. He went on to tour the world for two years, including a powerhouse performance in the Pompeii Amphitheater where Pink Floyd filmed their famous crowdless concert in the Seventies. He shocked fans last year by selling some 120 guitars at auction, including his signature instrument, the Black Strat. But he even while doing so, he said that people should not necessarily interpret the sale, for which the proceeds went to fight climate change, as a step toward retirement.
“Retiring is not a hard and fast thing for me in my life,” he told Rolling Stone. “I don’t really have to retire. I don’t have to say those words. I don’t have to state that have retired or anything like that. If I retire, it will be a quiet, unnoticeable process at some point. But I’m not at that moment.”