Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd (2001)
"His Majesty signed with his own rubber stamp ..."
For fans who dream of the ultimate Floydian reunion — one that would bring together members of Pink Floyd from across the ages — "Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd" might be the closest they'll get.
The 2-CD set is the most inclusive compilation in the band's history. (Who remembers 1992's "Shine On" box set and its odd hopscotching across the group's 30-plus-year history?) On "Echoes," a selection from the Roger Waters-heavy "The Final Cut" (1983) — practically disowned by the band's current line-up — sits alongside 1980s and '90s material Waters once discounted as a Floyd "forgery." Music from both factions of Waters' mid-'80s split with the band rubs shoulders with the early Floyd of Syd Barrett's days. The nonlinear songlist here is a little surprising ... and surprisingly functional.
The album contains nearly two-and-a-half hours of songs — many segued into the next. Longtime Floyd collaborator James Guthrie compiled the album with input from band members Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright.
"It's impossible to represent Pink Floyd on two CDs," Guthrie was quoted in USA Today as saying, "but within this limited framework, it does represent some of the band's favorite songs."
Rarities, alternate mixes
For completists, "Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd" contains a handful of cuts worth the purchase.
First and foremost, this 26-track collection marks the first major release of "When the Tigers Broke Free." The song was included in the 1982 film "Pink Floyd The Wall," though it wasn't part of the 1979 album. Originally released in '82 as a single with "Bring the Boys Back Home," the song was going to be part of a soundtrack album, and, later, featured on "The Final Cut." In the end, the soundtrack never came to fruition, and the song didn't make it to "The Final Cut." Its inclusion on "Echoes" is the song's first release on album, as well as its first commercial digital release. (The song's first appearance on CD was 1990's "The Wall Berlin '90," a six-song promotional-only release from Waters. Though the promotional release and the "Echoes" version differ slightly.)
"Echoes," originally from 1971's "Meddle," has been cut from nearly 24 minutes to 16:30.
"Shine on You Crazy Diamond"is offered here as Parts 1-7, lifting a couple movements that originally appeared on the second side of "Wish You Were Here" (1975) and appending them onto the first five originally on side one.
To avoid "Us and Them" moving right into "Any Colour You Like," as it does on 1973's "Dark Side of the Moon," Guthrie pulls a few studio tricks to give the song a cold ending before seguing into "Learning to Fly."
In anticipation of the album's release, Capitol/EMI embarked on a substantial publicity campaign, the likes of which Floyd hasn't been subject to in decades. From a giant inflatable pig flying above the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, Calif., to the distribution of Floyd digital downloads, coordinated television documentaries and more, the powers that be made every attempt to make this album's release an event.
Indeed, it might go down in history as significant for marking the conclusion of Pink Floyd. During a BBC2 interview shortly before the release of "Echoes," Gilmour suggested the compilation "probably" signals the end of the band. "You never know exactly what the future (holds)," he offered. "I'm not going to slam any doors too firmly, but I don't see myself doing any more of that, and I certainly don't see myself going out on a big Floyd tour again."
Floyd drummer Nick Mason, in an Oct. 30, 2001, story published by Launch.com, sounded more optimistic. "I don't feel I've retired yet," Mason said. "You know, if everyone wanted to, we could certainly still do something. I've spent 30 years waiting for the planets to align. I'm quite used to it."
Nov 5, 2001 (UK)
Nov 6, 2001 (US)
- Astronomy Domine
- See Emily Play
- The Happiest Days of Our Lives
- Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
- Hey You
- The Great Gig in the Sky
- Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
- Keep Talking
- Shine on You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-7)
- The Fletcher Memorial Home
- Comfortably Numb
- When the Tigers Broke Free
- One of These Days
- Us and Them
- Learning to Fly
- Arnold Layne
- Wish You Were Here
- Jugband Blues
- High Hopes