Readers recommend playlist: songs featuring echoes

This week’s reader has listened – and listened again – to your suggestions to produce a list including Cocteau Twins, Queen and Tom Petty

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

The response to last week’s callout was more muted than usual and seemed to draw lots of suggestions from the same nominators, creating a bit of an echo below the line, if you will. That said, you still managed to nominate nearly 300 songs, comprising more than 20 hours of music. No wonder I don’t seem to have had time to do much else but listen (with one notable exception, which I will get to later).

I will start the A-list with two songs that reference the myth of Echo and Narcissus, from which we get the word echo. First, Cocteau Twins’ Mud and Dark; second, Daniel Land & the Modern Painters’ Echo & Narcissus.

Next, we get to tracks that make use of echo and reverb-like effects in the music. As contributor Pussel put it: “Can’t have this topic without dub”. So, we’ll have Gregory Isaacs’ Public Eyes, which makes plentiful use of such things, as does Neko Case’s Hold On, Hold On, albeit in a different genre. There is also the fabulous use of echo in the introduction to Madness’s One Step Beyond. Wrapping up this section is the incredible use of echo effects by Brian May on Queen’s Brighton Rock.

Listen to the playlist on YouTube.

The next sub-division is songs that made it on to the A-list because they include the word “echo” in the lyrics. Harry Nilsson can “only hear the echoes of my mind” even though Everybody’s Talkin’. David Coverdale, meanwhile, hears “the songs that I have sung echo in the distance” on Deep Purple’s Soldier of Fortune. Three versions of this track were nominated; I went for the original, since it features Coverdale’s soulful vocals and Ritchie Blackmore’s atmospheric guitar playing. Last here are Simon and Garfunkel’s words – “Like silent raindrops fell and echoed in the wells of silence” – in the wonderful The Sound of Silence.

Now we get to songs with “echo” in the title. First up is a Scottish folk song, Echo Mocks the Corncrake, by Songs of Separation. The title refers to the way in which the corncrake cry is reflected back from the stone ends of crofts and how the poor bird tries to have a conversation with itself. Then we get to a couple of pieces of whimsy: the Ink Spots’ We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me) is a melancholy meditation on being single, while the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band tell us of Little Sir Echo. The title of Rush’s song, Test for Echo, refers to a standard location sound test, in this case in the context of increasing media involvement in criminal proceedings.

Several people nominated the next song as a must for this week. I couldn’t agree more, so here is Echo by the late Tom Petty, with the Heartbreakers.Finally, we come to the pachyderm in the pantry. My final choice will be controversial, since it’s zedded. However, I found time to do one thing other than listen to your recommendations this week. That thing was to visit the superb Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A. When told this song was zedded, one nominator replied:

But zedded!

Sure, but fuck that! It's the best and most appropriate song for this topic.

I completely agree. So, featuring the topic in the title, the lyrics and the music, here, with 23 minutes of prog brilliance, we end on Pink Floyd’s Echoes.

New theme: how to join in

The new theme will be announced at 8pm (BST) on Thursday 12 October. You have until 11pm on Monday 16 October to submit nominations.

Here is a reminder of some of the guidelines for readers recommend:


Chaz Cozens

The GuardianTramp

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