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|Released||30 October 1971|
Storm Thorgerson's original suggestion for the album cover was a close-up shot of a baboon's anus. The band informed him via an inter-continental telephone call whilst on tour in Japan that they would rather have "an ear underwater" (which was colored slightly different on the US and Canadian issues of the album). This image formed the outside of the original gatefold cover, while superimposed black-and-white photographs of the four band members were used for the interior.
Meddle has six tracks, the last of which occupied a whole side of the original LP:
- "One of These Days" (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright) – 5:57
- "A Pillow of Winds" (Gilmour, Waters) – 5:10
- "Fearless" (Gilmour, Waters) – 6:08
- "San Tropez" (Waters) – 3:43
- "Seamus" (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright) – 2:15
- "Echoes" (Mason, Gilmour, Waters, Wright) – 23:31
- David Gilmour - Guitars, Bass Guitar, Vocals and Tape Effects
- Roger Waters - Bass Guitar, Vocals, Tape Effects and Additional Guitar
- Richard Wright - Keyboards, Tape Effects and Vocals
- Nick Mason - Drums, Percussion, Tape Effects and vocal phrase on One of These Days
- Seamus the dog - Vocals on "Seamus"
Though the tracks have variety of moods, Meddle is generally considered more cohesive than its 1970 predecessor Atom Heart Mother, and is thought by fans to be Pink Floyd's first truly great album. It enjoyed some commercial success in the UK (reaching #3 on album charts), but lackadaisical publicity on the part of Capitol Records led to weak sales in the US. However, Meddle would later be certified Gold by the RIAA in October of 1973 and then double platinum on March 11, 1994 following the added attention garnered by the band's later successes in America.
"One of These Days" (a largely instrumental piece) opens the album with an ostinato bassline and uses a slide guitar lick reminiscent of the theme tune from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It is followed by "A Pillow of Winds", distinguished by being one of the few quiet, acoustic songs in the Pink Floyd catalogue dealing primarily with love. These two songs segue into each other via wind effects, which anticipates the same technique that would later be used in Wish You Were Here.
The country rock song "Fearless" employs field recordings of the Liverpool Kop choir singing "You'll Never Walk Alone", the anthem of Liverpool F.C., which brings the song to a haunting end. "San Tropez", by extreme contrast, is a jazz-inflected pop song with a shuffle tempo, composed by Waters in his increasingly-deployed style of breezy, off-the-cuff writing. Pink Floyd then give a rare glimpse into their sense of humour with "Seamus" (later redone as "Mademoiselle Nobs"), a pseudo-blues number featuring 'vocals' by a dog. It also holds the dubious distinction of being the only song in the film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii that was never performed elsewhere.
The final song on the album, "Echoes", is reputed to synchronize musically and thematically with the climactic section of Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey (entitled "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite"). However, it is more notable for being the lyrical centrepiece of the record and the band's most accomplished recorded work yet. "Echoes" also gave its name to the 2001 compilation album Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd, on which a much-edited version of the title track was included. In the compilation, multiple edits throughout the entire song cut the running length of the piece down by some 7 minutes.
Pink Floyd began production on the album at EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios, where much of their other projects had been recorded and mixed. It was there that they decided to work on new material individually without listening to the other band members' contributions. They had already tried such an approach with limited success for Ummagumma, however, this time the band resolved to work on one collaborative project rather than separate solo efforts. The result of one such experiment, a grand piano sent through a Leslie speaker, provided inspiration for what would later become "Echoes".
Unfortunately, Abbey Road was still only outfitted with 8-channel multitrack tape, which Pink Floyd found insufficient for the increasing technical demands of their project. They transferred the best material, including backing tracks for "Echoes", to 16-track tape at smaller studios in London, namely AIR in the West End and Morgan, and resumed work with the advantage of more flexible recording equipment. Engineers John Leckie and Peter Bown recorded the main Abbey Road and AIR sessions, while for minor work at Morgan studios in West Hampstead Rob Black and Roger Quested handled the engineering duties.
The band spent several days in late September 1971 preparing a quadrophonic mix of the album at Command Studios. Reportedly, this was played at the press premiere. However, it has never been released to the public.
Outtakes from the album sessions are rumoured to include an unreleased song entitled "The Dark Side of the Moon", which later became "Brain Damage", and two demo versions of "One of These Days", both of which have been made available on bootlegs and include cut-up speech samples of Radio DJ Sir Jimmy Young.
"Meddle is amongst my favourites. I mean that, to me, is the start of the path forward for Pink Floyd, really." — David Gilmour, February 1988, on Australian Radio
"Meddle was the first real Pink Floyd album. It set a tempo, a feel and a style that we liked, and it introduced the idea of the theme that can be returned to. It sounds a bit ham-fisted now, but the concept thing... I like." — Nick Mason, 1994