Under blue moon I saw you :: VOTD

The Killing Moon :: Echo & The Bunnymen
from the album, Ocean Rain

The Killing Moon, by Echo & The Bunnymen, was released on their 1984 album, Ocean Rain. It is one of the band’s highest-charting hits, reaching # 9 in the UK Singles Chart, and often cited as the band’s greatest song. Writing credits are listed as Ian McCulloch, Pete de Freitas, Les Pattinson and Will Sergeant.

Ian McCulluch has stated, “When I sing ‘The Killing Moon’ I know there isn’t a band in the world who’s got a song anywhere near that.”

Ian McCulloch later told Uncut magazine( issue # 138): “You don’t need to read The Bible, you can listen to ‘The Killing Moon’ and get as much out of it. It’s the greatest song ever written.”

Within the liner notes of Echo and the Bunnymen’s box set, Crystal Days, Ian McCulloch remembers waking up in the middle of the night having to urinate. He had no choice but to get out of bed and go, and that is when he had the phrase “fate up against your will” in mind.

Editor’s note: inspiration comes at the most unexpected times and places. My bathroom writing inspirations usually hit in the shower, though.

The song was recorded in Paris because front-man Ian McCulloch said he could sing better there. Ironically, the band ran out of time and the vocal was recorded back in Liverpool.

The Killing Moon has been used in many films, most memorably in the opening  of the film Donnie Darko, when Donnie Wakes up on the ground and makes his way home. The song was in fact a last minute substitution by the film’s director, Richard Kelly, when he could not obtain the rights to use INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart, which was later used in the director’s cut. In the director’s cut The Killing Moon is played as originally intended during the Halloween party towards the end of the film.

Stewart Mason, of Allmusic, wrote about the song, crediting “The smart use of strings amplifies the elegance of the tune, bringing both a musical richness and a sense of quiet dignity to the tune.”

Editor’s note: A past lover of mine was a huge Echo & The Bunnymen fan, and especially idolized guitarist Will Sergeant. Prior to us meeting he had played bass guitar in a band who credited Echo & The Bunnymen as one of their top inspirations, and he would often play songs of theirs on his acoustic guitar, singing them to me in the middle of the night as we lie awake in our first apartment we shared together. He would most often play The Cutter and The Killing Moon. There have been other associations, both cinematic and personal, that have followed that are affixed to The Killing Moon, but it is those late night serenades that I recall most often when I hear this song played.


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