A Great Day for Freedom

"A Great Day for Freedom" is a song by Pink Floyd from their 1994 album, The Division Bell.[1][2]

"A Great Day for Freedom"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Division Bell
PublishedPink Floyd Music (1989) Ltd
Released28 March 1994 (UK)
5 April 1994 (US)
LabelEMI (UK)
Columbia (US)


The song, originally titled "In Shades of Grey", addresses the great hopes following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappointment that followed. David Gilmour stated:

There was a wonderful moment of optimism when the Wall came down – the release of Eastern Europe from the non-democratic side of the socialist system. But what they have now doesn't seem to be much better. Again, I'm fairly pessimistic about it all. I sort of wish and live in hope, but I tend to think that history moves at a much slower pace than we think it does. I feel that real change takes a long, long time.[3]

Despite Gilmour's statements to the contrary, the lyrics have often been read as a reflection on the bitter and estranged partnership Gilmour had with former bandmate Roger Waters, who was the driving force behind the band's album The Wall. By this interpretation, the "Great Day for Freedom" would be the day Waters left the band, giving the other members freedom to determine the band's future direction. Gilmour commented on this reading: "I'm quite happy for people to interpret The Division Bell any way they like. But maybe a note of caution should be sounded because you can read too much into it. 'A Great Day for Freedom', for example, has got nothing to do with Roger or his 'wall'. It just doesn't. What else can I say?"[4]

According to session player Jon Carin the track was a leftover from the sessions for the band's previous album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.[5]

In 2022, the song was reworked by Gilmour based on the original tapes, adding some new vocals, instruments and backing vocals by Sam Brown, Durga McBroom and Claudia Fontaine taken from the Pulse rehearsals. It was released as the B-side of the "Hey, Hey, Rise Up!" single.


The song was performed by the band on selected dates of The Division Bell tour, and is available on the Pulse (1995) live album, but was omitted from the Pulse VHS and DVD. Gilmour performed it at his solo semi-acoustic concerts in 2002 which can be seen on the David Gilmour in Concert (2002) DVD. The song also made just one appearance during Gilmour's 2006 On an Island Tour, at the final show in Gdańsk, Poland; this performance can be found on the live album/DVD Live in Gdańsk (2008).


The Division BellEdit

Additional musicians:

The Division Bell Tour, 1994Edit

  • David Gilmour – electric guitar, lead vocals
  • Richard Wright – synthesizer
  • Nick Mason – drums


David Gilmour Live in Gdańsk, 2006Edit

  • David Gilmour – electric guitar, lead vocals
  • Richard Wright – synthesizer
  • Guy Pratt – bass
  • Steve DiStanislao – drums
  • Phil Manzanera – acoustic guitar
  • Jon Carin – keyboards, vocals


A Great Day for Freedom 2022Edit

  • David Gilmour – lead vocals and harmony vocals, guitar, bass, piano, Prophet 5 synthesizer, Hammond organ[7]
  • Nick Mason – drums
  • Richard Wright – synthesizer
  • Sam Brown – backing vocals
  • Claudia Fontaine – backing vocals
  • Durga McBroom – backing vocals


  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1178. ISBN 1-84195-551-5.
  2. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X.
  3. ^ "Sounds of Silence" interview Archived 2012-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, Guitar World, September 1994. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  4. ^ David Gilmour interview Archived December 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Pink Floyd & Co., 1994.
  5. ^ "Jon Carin".
  6. ^ "Jon Carin".
  7. ^ "Pink Floyd news :: Brain Damage - Pink Floyd's a Great Day for Freedom 2022 - video".