About 15 years ago a friend of mine bought a copy of Pink Floyd’s Meddle on vinyl. The most astonishing thing about the album to us was the fact that “side b” contained one song, “Echoes.” The song clocks in at 23:31, and is by far my favorite song of all-time.
One of the early reasons that this song became something more to me than a normal song was the 1972 concert film Live at Pompeii. The band plays six songs in an empty (aside from the film crew) ampitheatre. The song is broken into two parts, but just watching Pink Floyd actually perform “Echoes” blew my mind.
Clearly, Pink Floyd was on top of their game here, and it shows. They fucking rock. The in-fighting that starts with Dark Side of the Moon is just on the horizon. The film actually shows the band working on Dark Side, and members of the band have stated that Meddle was the last album made as a cohesive band.
After watching Live at Pompeii, “Echoes” became a song I really liked, but did not love. It is hard to truly love a song that you need to spend 24 minutes with, but then I read something that helped the song reach almost mythical proportions for me.
At the time I was (and still kind of am) a huge Stanley Kubrick fan. I was watching, and reading everything about the man. I don’t remember where I first read it, but I am sure it had to do with the whole Dark Side of Oz phenomenon. Someone had decided that Dark Side of the Moon synchs up with the movie The Wizard of Oz. It never seemed to work for me, but I came across something that said that “Echoes” synchs up with “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” the final section of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I will let you judge for yourself:
There were rumors that Kubrick wanted the band to write music for the film, so the band wrote “Echoes” for 2001, but when Kubrick made his decision to go with classical music they put it on Meddle. The band has always denied these rumors, but there are some eerie similarities with the song and this segment of the movie. I lean towards the “Echoes was written for 2001” side of the rumor. If anything it makes for a really awesome music video directed by one of the greatest directors of all-time.
I was so into “Echoes” that I synched this up just after midnight on January 1st, 2001. When I was staying with my parents in Pinckney this became my soundtrack for late-night drives home from Ann Arbor. Because the stoplights were flashing it always seemed to take me about 25 minutes to get home.
I know what you are thinking, but the weird thing is that drugs have zero involvement with my obsession with this song. None. Zilch. I was just a nerdy teenager with a lot of free time, and this song has so much going on within it, and surrounding it that it became “my song.” Like David Gilmour said in Live at Pompeii, Pink Floyd does not really consider themselves a drug-orientated group.