Pink Floyd – Echoes (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)


There is little doubt that Pink Floyd is one of the greatest rock bands to have blessed this land. However, their 1971 track “Echoes” sparked some controversy, and all for good reason too. The original recording lasted 23 minutes and 31 seconds, which was, even by Rock standards, extremely long. The song contains only 3 verses and 3 refrains, but is extended in playing time by a monumental instrumental piece in 4 parts from 4 minutes 56 seconds to 19 minutes 11 seconds. And so was born a legendary song.

“Echoes” was released on October 30, 1971 from Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle’ album in 1971. This is the 6th and last track of the album, and occupied the entire second side of recordings and vinyl records. Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters once spoke about the creation of the song and how it paved the way for many of their music going forward;

(“Echoes”) was a 20 minute play. A was a “construction” and B was the beginning of all writing about others. It was the start of empathy, if you will. There is a kind of common thread that has run through everything for me since.

Roger waters

The clip below is from Pink Floyd’s documentary “Live at Pompeii” about the band. The group performed the song at the ancient Roman city amphitheabe at an empty stage.

Listen to the full version of “Echoes” from Pink Floyd Live from Pompeii

Buy the single “Echoes” on iTunes and Amazon

Lyrics review and meaning of the song “Echoes”

The title of the song “Echoes” reflects human connection. Just as the crashing waves of the ocean affect the deepest coral caves, humans are interconnected. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rogers explained that the lyrics were an attempt to describe “the potential that human beings have to recognize and respond to each other’s humanity, with empathy rather than antipathy.”

Verse 1

The first verse of “Echos” seems to speak of the beauty of nature. Lead singers Richard Wright and David Gilmour use several examples; albatrosses, coral caves in the depths of the ocean and sandy beaches bathed in sunshine, to highlight the beauty of nature. There is a calming serenity in these lyrics and the voices of the artists. At first, everything was “green and underwater”. And then come the humans!

Choir 1

In these lyrics, the singers focus on the seemingly endless life cycle of humans on earth. They’re probably scoffing at the theory that humans evolved from single-celled organisms transforming from sea creatures to inhabitants of the earth when they say “And no one showed us the land.” Do they support creationism?

Humans seem pretty lost, given life’s big questions such as “what is the purpose of humans in this universe?” Or “what is the ultimate truth?” Or “Is there a God?” are still unanswered and probably never will be. But in difficult times, we always look to the sky for guidance and strength. Is it just a coincidence or years and years of practice steeped in our genes?

Verse 2

Pink Floyd tries to assess human relationships in these lyrics to “Echoes”. “Love” is a difficult concept to grasp and experience. Two strangers looking at each other is all it takes to make or break a person. Volcanic eruptions of emotions, just from a light touch, look or kiss, are the human nature we are doomed to experience.

Pink Floyd explains that we are all equal no matter what. There might be different races, languages, colors, boundaries, abilities and disabilities, but we are united by a common group called “humans”. Through another human being, you should be able to see yourself. This is called “empathy”. The world would be better than the heavens if everyone felt empathy for each other.

Choir 2

These words of “Echoes” perfectly sum up the fall of humanity. There is no one to lead mankind to a better place, all the rulers are crooks. There is no one to help others, to give them a hand to stand up, and no one to speak on behalf of the voiceless. These lines could also allude to the destructive nature of human evolution – destroying and injuring each other and the planet.

The last line on “flying around the sun” could be a reference to the infamous fall of Icarus, who disobeyed his father and tried to fly too close to the Sun, causing his wax wings and Icarus to melt. fell on his passing. This could be a clue to how human evolution and development, equivalent to flying high, is just the flip side of creating our own destruction and death.

The instrumental part that appears next can be divided into 4 parts according to Genius;

4:56 – 7:02 – False ending
7:02 am – 11:20 am – Optimistic improvisation
11:20 am – 2:35 pm – Experimental sound effects
2:35 p.m. – 7:11 p.m. – Resurgence (Nothing part 14)

Watch Pink Floyd perform “Echoes” live in Gdansk in 2014

Verse 3

The third verse of “Echoes” draws a beautiful image of an early morning sunrise where humans wake up with the motive of being a better person. The sunlight welcomes the person into the world, in the new day like a million ambassadors. Humans are doomed to fall every day, but there are still ways to get up for anyone looking for them. You just need to have an open mind and free will.

Choir 3

The song’s final chorus describes how humans are connected to a higher power. Often these lines are interpreted as a notion of love. Either way, these lyrics are about human connections. There is another being, whether human or divine, who is there to bring the best in us. Be open-minded (“open the windows wide”), experience life and live and let live are the take-home messages from this masterpiece.

“Echoes” is without a doubt one of the best songs and musical works of Pink Floyd of their entire career. This song is a hallmark of their career because it paved the way at one of the most notable albums of the group ‘The Dark Side of The Moon’ (1973) which reside deep in human nature.

Let us know what you think of “Echoes” and what it means to you. What’s the best part about this song? Leave a comment below and share this article with your friends.

Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” full lyrics

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