Song: The Killing Moon Artist: Echo and The Bunnymen Year: 1984
Often described by Ian McCulloch as “the greatest song ever written,” the Echo and the Bunnymen singer’s praise for ‘The Killing Moon’ reached sacred proportions in 2008 when he declared “You don’t need to read the Bible, you can listen to ‘The Killing Moon’ and get as much out of it.” Whether you regard McCulloch’s bluster as tongue-in-cheek egotism, out right self-aggrandisement or a sacrilegious comment on the limitations of acquiring enlightenment through fantastical allegories in a book, there is no doubting the song’s brilliance.
The track’s creation was inspired by the reversing of the opening chords to ‘Space Oddity’ along with a nocturnal, Land of Nod delivery of the lyric when McCulloch awoke one morning with a curious phrase in his head: “Fate up against your will”. Musically speaking, the song’s Eastern-tinged instrumentation can be attributed to the balalaikas played by a cabaret band heard by guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson while holidaying in Russia.
Appearing on their 1984 album Ocean Rain, ‘The Killing Moon’ with its ominous, foreboding atmosphere, was also a perfect soundtrack choice for the off-kilter eeriness of 2001 cult film ‘Donnie Darko’.