Entertainment & Arts

Violinist Grappelli found on 'lost' Pink Floyd track

Stephane Grappelli
Image caption Grappelli was a French swing violinist who formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France in the 1930s.

A long-lost recording of virtuoso jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli jamming with rock superstars Pink Floyd is finally set for release.

It has been buried deep in the EMI vaults for 36 years. Now, a long-lost recording of virtuoso jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli jamming with rock superstars Pink Floyd is finally set for release.

Grappelli takes an extended soaring solo on a version of the title song of the classic 1975 album Wish You Were Here.

Floyd drummer Nick Mason describes the track as the "jewel in the crown" of the band's archives. The master tape was presumed to have been wiped.

"My understanding was that we'd had to record over it in order to put on other sections," says Mason, referring to the multi-layering of tracks that the band pioneered in Abbey Road's state-of-the-art 24-track studios.

"It still astonishes me that we didn't use it originally, didn't realise what a wonderful thing it was," he says of the legendary Grappelli session.

The track will appear on a special edition of Wish You Were Here to be released on 7 November.

Image caption The famous flying pig from Floyd's album Animals was re-created

No-one - not even the bootleg-collecting Floyd fanatics - has ever heard Grappelli improvising alongside Mason, David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Rick Wright.

Mason reveals that Pink Floyd were nearly joined by another new member that day - Yehudi Menuhin.

"We were recording in studio three and Yehudi and Stephane were recording in two. They were invited in to hear what we were working on," Mason says.

Both men were asked to add their violins to the mix but Menuhin - regarded as one of the greatest classical musicians of all time - politely declined.

"He was not comfortable improvising, he was nervous," recalls Mason.

But Grappelli jumped at the chance.

"It was meat and drink for him," says Mason.

Not airworthy

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Media captionDrummer Nick Mason tells Radio 4's Front Row how Stephane Grappelli happened to jam with Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd's label, EMI, are re-releasing the band's 14 studio albums on Monday.

To mark the event, a large inflatable pig flew above London's Battersea Power Station on Monday.

A similar flying pig was used for the iconic Animals album cover 35 years ago.

EMI had planned to use the same inflatable which had been kept at a workshop since the original shoot, but it was found not to be airworthy and a replica was produced.

Hear Nick Mason discuss Stephane Grappelli's contribution to Wish You Were Here - plus extracts from the 'lost' Pink Floyd recording on Front Row, BBC Radio 4, 19.15, Monday 26 September 2011.

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