The Quintessential Pink Floyd Song

by Curtis Lanclos

One might think the word “quintessential” refers to something the shark hunter in the 1975 movie Jaws considers to be an absolute necessity on his boat; but the dictionary defines the word as “representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.” In the world of music, a song that is quintessential typically defines the performing band.

Sitting in a planetarium at Fernbank Science Center on a Friday night in 1982 or so, I had the pleasure of watching a laser show set to classic rock music with my Pebblebrook High School Science Club group (led by my favorite science teacher, Coach Joe Cheak). A song in the show by the prog rock band Pink Floyd really caught my attention that evening. “One of These Days” is the first song on the 1971 LP Meddle, and it is instrumental (with the exception of the augmented “one of these days I’m going to cut you into little pieces” line in the middle). I had a vague familiarity with Pink Floyd, mainly because just three years earlier, “Another Brick on the Wall part II” was a hit single. Additionally, I had heard Dark Side of the Moon played on my RPG buddy Craig Hanson’s stereo during an all night Dungeons & Dragons campaign at his house. However, after hearing the much more psychedelic side of early Floyd in that laser show, I decided I must find this instrumental song and add it to my collection.

Soon thereafter, I went to Turtle’s Records and Tapes in Mableton, GA and purchased the Meddle LP. I was so pleased to have this song in my repertoire. Although I was repeating the pattern of obtaining an entire studio album for just one song (since there was no iTunes in those days), something very interesting happened when I decided to listen to the entire record and eventually flip it to side 2. I was transported to the ethereal 23:31 experience that is the song Echoes. In my estimation, its deep lyrical passages, both gentle and blistering guitar riffs, sound effects, and brilliant improvisation defines the very essence of Pink Floyd. Not surprisingly, this quickly became my favorite Floyd song, and it remains in the #1 slot to this day.

If you’ve never listened to this gem, I encourage you to check out the studio version here…

Take it a step further and listen to an incredible live version performed by the band in Pompeii…

Finally, David Gilmour and the late Rick Wright performed a largely modernized version (with an incredible guitar solo) on one of the former’s recent solo tours…

 

2 thoughts on “The Quintessential Pink Floyd Song

  1. I loved those trips to the planetarium. There are certain albums that I seem to work better to than others and this is one of them.

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    1. Jeff, did you see the 2016 movie “Everybody Wants Some?” There’s a scene in the movie wherein the song “Fearless” is being played in the background, and one of the character is commenting on it. Very cool.

      Like

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