Bright Side of the Moon; Forget That Black Outfit-David Gilmour Has Mellowed

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Byline: Lorraine Ali

When the members of Pink Floyd reunited--after 22 years--to play last year's Live 8 benefit concert, the buzz around these rock senior citizens upstaged the appearances by Mariah, Madonna and even the controversial Kanye. "It's a powerful thing, this old Pink Floyd business," says David Gilmour, the band's singer and guitarist. "Look at all the stories that followed Live 8--'Will they get back together? Will they tour together?' It's all so mysterious."

Well, maybe it's mysterious--although Pink Floyd's 1973 "Dark Side of the Moon" does happen to be the second best-selling album ever. (The first is Michael Jackson's "Thriller.") And the band has no plans to get together for a Rolling Stones-like reunion blitz. But on March 7, the day after he turns 60, Gilmour is releasing a rare solo record, called "On an Island." It's only his third, and the last was 22 years ago. His singing voice is still hushed and brooding, such new songs as "The Blue" and "Castellorizon" are still intricate, thoughtful and dreamlike, and Pink Floyd fans will sink into the familiar lush atmosphere. (Skeptics may find it all a bit head-y.) But these days Gilmour's lyrics have lost their old dire heavyosity. In "This Heaven" he sings: "So break the bread and pour the wine/I need no blessings but I'm counting mine/Life is much more than money buys/When I see the faith in my children's eyes."

The change surely has to do with how Gilmour's been spending his time since Pink Floyd's last record, in 1994. He's remarried, he's settled in rural England and he's raising three kids under the age of 10. (He has four others from a previous marriage.) One ancillary benefit of the Live 8 performance was that the young Gilmours got to see their father "up there being a rock star. …