Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen

Ian McColloch: I've always said that "The Killing Moon" is the greatest song ever written. I'm sure Paul Simon would say the same about "Bridge Over Troubled Water," but for me "The Killing Moon" is more than just a song. It’s a Psalm, almost hymnal. It's about everything, from birth to death to eternity and God – whatever that is – and the eternal battle between fate and the human will. It contains the answer to the meaning of life. It's my "To be or not to be …"

I love it all the more because I didn't pore over it for days on end. One morning, I just sat bolt upright in bed with this line in my head: "Fate up against your will. Through the thick and thin. He will wait until you give yourself to him." You don’t dream things like that and remember them. That's why I’ve always half credited the lyric to God. It's never happened before or since. I got up and started working the chords out. I played David Bowie's "Space Oddity" backwards, then started messing around with the chords. By the time I'd finished, it sounded nothing like "Space Oddity."

The rest of the lyrics came quickly, almost as if I knew them already. The title and a lot of the astronomical imagery, such as "your sky all hung with jewels," came about because, as a kid, I'd always loved The Sky at Night and Star Trek, and I remembered the moon landing. I was up all night wishing I had a telescope.
The song was recorded in Bath and Liverpool. I wasn't happy with the drums or the way it sounded in Bath, so I refused to sing on it. Plus I'd got a cold after staying out one night with Adam Peters, the cello player. So me and Pete de Freitas, our drummer, went to Amazon studios in Kirkby and finished it with Gil Norton mixing. I got home around 9am, slightly the worse for wear, and Lorraine had a cob on with me for being out all night. I played her the song and said, "That’s what we’ve been doing," and she cried.

No comments:

Post a Comment