Echoes (Pink Floyd song)

Echoes (Pink Floyd song)

Infobox Song
Name = Echoes

Artist = Pink Floyd
Album = Meddle
Released = October 30, 1971 (US)
November 5, 1971 (UK)
track_no = 6
Recorded = January 1971
Abbey Road, London
March, April 1971
AIR Studios, London
May 1971
Morgan Studios, London
June, July 1971
Morgan Studios, London
AIR Studios, London
August 1971
AIR Studios, London
Genre = Progressive rock, psychedelic rock
Length = 23:30 (album version) 16:30 (edited version)
Writer = Roger Waters
Richard Wright
Nick Mason
David Gilmour
prev = Seamus
prev_no = 5
Misc =Extra tracklisting
Album =
Type = Compilation album
prev_track = "Another Brick in the Wall, Part II"
prev_no = 4
this_track = "Echoes"
track_no = 5
next_track = "Hey You"
next_no = 6

"Echoes" is a song by Pink Floyd, including lengthy instrumental passages, sound effects, and musical improvisation. Written by all four members of the group (Roger Waters, Richard Wright, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason), "Echoes" provides the extended finale to Pink Floyd's album "Meddle". The track has a running time of 23:31 and takes up the entire B-side of the vinyl recording. It is widely considered one of Pink Floyd's most ambitious and musically diverse compositions.

It also appears in shortened form as the fifth track on the compilation album which took its name, "". "Echoes" is the third-longest song in Pink Floyd's catalogue, after "Atom Heart Mother" (23:44) and the combined segments of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" (26:01). Unlike those pieces, it is not explicitly divided into separate parts; however, the composition was originally assembled from separate fragments, and was later split in two parts to serve as both the opening and closing numbers in the band's film "."


Each verse of the song follows a pattern of three strophes.

The composition uses many progressive and unconventional musical effects.The ping sound heard at the beginning of the song was created as the result of an experiment at the very beginning of the "Meddle" sessions. It was produced through amplifying a grand piano and sending the signal through a Leslie rotating speaker. Gilmour used the slide for certain sound effects on the studio recording, and for the introduction in live performances from 1971 to 1975). A throbbing wind-like sound is created by Waters vibrating the strings of his bass guitar with a steel slide and feeding the signal through a Binson Echorec. The high pitched electronic 'screams', resembling a distorted whale song, were discovered by Gilmour when he accidentally reversed the cables to his wah pedal [] . Harmonic "whistles" can be heard produced by Wright pulling certain drawbars in and out on the Hammond organ. Rooks were added to the music from a tape archive recording (as had been done for some of the band's earlier songs, including "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"). The 2nd half of the song where Gilmour plays muted notes on the guitar over Richard's slowly-building organ solo was inspired by the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations" [ [ Pink Floyd news :: Brain Damage - April 7th - SONY STUDIO Z, NEW YORK, USA ] ] . The song concludes with a rising Shepard-Risset glissando.

Early versions

The piece had its genesis in a collection of musical experiments written separately by each band member, referred to as "Nothing, Parts 1-24". Subsequent tapes of work in progress were labelled "The Son of Nothing" and "The Return of the Son of Nothing"; the latter title was eventually used to introduce the as-yet unreleased work during its first live performances in early 1971cite web|url =| title = Echoes FAQ| accessmonthday = August 29 | accessyear = 2006] .

During this stage of its development, the song's first verse had yet to be finalized. It originally referred to the meeting of two celestial bodies, but perhaps because of Waters' increasing concerns that Pink Floyd was being pigeonholed as a space rock band, the lyrics were rewritten to use underwater imagery instead.

The title "Echoes" was also subjected to significant revisions before and after the release of "Meddle": Waters, a devoted football fan, proposed that the band call its new piece "We Won the Double" in celebration of Arsenal's 1971 victory, and during a 1972 tour of Germany he jovially introduced it on two consecutive nights as "Looking Through the Knothole in Granny's Wooden Leg" (a reference to The Goon Show; the phrase appeared in an episode titled "The £50 Cure") [ [ The Goon Show Site - Script - The 50 Pound Cure (Series 9, Episode 17)] ] and "The March of the Dam Busters", respectively.

Live performances

The song, then entitled "The Return of the Son of Nothing", was first performed in public on April 22, 1971 at the Lads Club in Norwich, England, with the unrevised 'planetary' lyrics. These remained in place until September of that year, when they were replaced by the more familiar 'albatross' lyrics. The song was first introduced as "Echoes" on the sixth of August, 1971, at a performance in Japan. It was a staple of Pink Floyd's live performances from then until 1975 and was also played eleven times in 1987, near the beginning of the "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" tour. Most recently, David Gilmour has performed the song on his 2006 solo tour.

Unlike the "Atom Heart Mother" suite, it was relatively easy for Pink Floyd to reproduce "Echoes" onstage (as can be seen in the "Live at Pompeii" film) without requiring additional musicians, though the swapping of keyboard sounds during the piece sometimes proved problematic in live performances. Originally, Wright would start the song by playing his grand piano through a Leslie speaker, then switch to the Hammond organ just before the first verse, switch again to the Farfisa organ for the re-entry after the 'seagull' middle section, back to the Hammond again for the last verse, and finally to piano for the outro. This required Roger Waters to provide the piano 'pings' at their re-entry after the middle section. The Farfisa was later dropped from the band's live keyboard setup and all its parts were played on the Hammond instead. The 1987 performances had synthesizers replacing the Farfisa. Unlike "Pompeii", regular live performances played the song as a whole - the bridge between "Part 1" and "Part 2" was simply done by Waters stopping the bass riff of the jam section in the former and starting to play the wind sounds of the latter. The rest of the band would just play quieter and quieter until silent. Live performances featured Roger playing his bass for the intro, rather than Gilmour's guitar.

Starting in 1974, the musical arrangement was augmented by backing vocals from Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams and saxophone solos by Dick Parry added directly after the second verse and at the song's finale. All three of these additional artists joined Pink Floyd's touring party to take the latter "Dark Side of the Moon" performances, and added their own parts to the remainder of the concert (largely because the former artist was reluctant to leave and re-enter the stage throughout the show). cite web
title=An Interview with Venetta Fields
publisher=A Fleeting Glimpse

] The last time the song was played by all four members of Pink Floyd was at the concert in Knebworth closing their 1975 world tour. During performances given by the 'three-man' Pink Floyd in 1987, "Echoes" was played in a much shorter form than usual (with Gilmour singing the higher harmonies instead of Wright and Wright singing Gilmour's original harmonies). It was ultimately dropped from the set (and replaced with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)") because Gilmour did not feel 'right' about singing the lyrics at the time, and his backing artists played its music without the touches of improvisation that make "Echoes" a powerfully affecting piece.

On Gilmour's 2006 tour in support of "On An Island", Wright plays a key part in the touring band, performing the vocals and keyboard parts on "Echoes" (he sang in the same pitch as Gilmour originally did (this time melding with Gilmour) and Jon Carin singing the higher harmonies that Rick originally sang in 1970s performances). This new arrangement of the song is close to full-length (Often clocking at 22 minutes at the beginning of the tour, later performances even outlengthed the studio version by sometimes three minutes.) It also saw the return of Rick's Farfisa organ, which was pulled out of storage and brought on tour specifically for "Echoes." There is a full performance of Echoes on Gilmour's DVD Remember That Night, taken from the Royal Albert Hall. This performance clocks in at 22:18.

Echoes and the "2001: A Space Odyssey" synchronization rumours

Similar to the the Dark Side of the Rainbow effect, it is rumoured [ Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite | Synchronicity Arkive ] ] that "Echoes" synchronizes with Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film when played concurrently with the final segment (entitled "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite").

"Echoes" was released 3 years after the film and is 23 minutes and 31 seconds in length, similar to the "Infinite" segment. Sounds in the middle part of the song suggest to some listeners the feeling of travelling through an alien world. The drone vocalizations heard in the final scenes of "2001" seem to match with the discordant bass vibrations in the middle of "Echoes" as well the choral glissandos of its finale. Some argue that there are moments when the song and film soundtrack are nearly indistinguishable. Another notable link occurs during a change in scene at precisely the moment when guitar and keyboards crescendo as the lyrics re-enter for the final verse. Almost as a bonus, the early lyrics contain references to planets, which seems entirely suitable for the film's depiction of Jupiter and its moons. Adrian Maben re-created this marriage of music and image in his director's cut of using CGI.

Although no member of the band has ever declared the synchronization intentional and the technology to play back film in a recording studio circa 1971 would have been expensive and difficult for the band to acquire, Roger Waters is sometimes quoted as saying that the band's failure to contribute music on 2001's official score was his "greatest regret".

The 1973 George Greenough film "Crystal Voyager" concludes with a 23 minute segment in which the full length of "Echoes" accompanies a montage of images shot by Greenough from a camera mounted on his back while surfing on his kneeboard.

Alleged plagiarism

In interviews promoting "Amused to Death", Waters asserted that Andrew Lloyd Webber had plagiarized themes from "Echoes" for sections of the musical "The Phantom of the Opera"; nevertheless, he decided not to file a lawsuit regarding the matter.

Yeah, the beginning of that bloody Phantom song is from Echoes. *DAAAA-da-da-da-da-da* [sic] . I couldn't believe it when I heard it. It's the same time signature - it's 12/8 - and it's the same structure and it's the same notes and it's the same everything. Bastard. It probably is actionable. It really is! But I think that life's too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber. [ [ Who the hell does Roger Waters think he is? ] ]

Waters did, however, respond by adding an insulting reference to Webber in the song "It's a Miracle" on the "Amused to Death" album.


The Beastie Boys' "Gratitude" music video reflects and tributes "Echoes" from "Live at Pompeii". "Pink Floyd London" is painted on the back of the amp when the camera rotates behind the band. There are also shots of Leslie rotating speakers.


* Richard Wright - keyboards, sound effects, vocals
* David Gilmour - vocals, guitars, sound effects
* Roger Waters - bass guitar, sound effects
* Nick Mason - drums, percussion


External links

* [ Did Pink Floyd Meddle with 2001?]

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