Grantchester Meadows (song)

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"Grantchester Meadows"
Song by Pink Floyd from the album Ummagumma
Published Lupus Music Ltd.
Released 25 October 1969 (UK)
10 November 1969 (US)
Recorded 2 May 1969
Genre Psychedelic folk, experimental
Length 7:26
Label Harvest Records
Writer Roger Waters
Producer Norman Smith
Ummagumma track listing

"Grantchester Meadows" is the second track from the studio disc of the experimental Pink Floyd album Ummagumma.[1] It was written and performed entirely by Roger Waters. The song features his lyrics accompanied by an acoustic guitar, while a tape loop of a skylark chirps in the background throughout the entire song.[2] At approximately 4:13, the sound of a honking goose is temporarily introduced, followed by the sound of it taking off.[3] This song was one of several to be considered for but ultimately excluded from the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[4]

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics describe a pastoral and dream-like scene at the Grantchester meadows in Cambridgeshire,[5] close to where fellow band member David Gilmour lived at the time.[6] This type of pastoral ballad was typical of Roger Waters' compositional approach in the late sixties and early seventies. It was a style that he was to continue on his first album outside of Pink Floyd – Music from "The Body" (in collaboration with Ron Geesin) and "If" from Atom Heart Mother. It is one of the many Pink Floyd songs that are praises of the British countryside.

Sound[edit]

The song is noted for its use of stereo effects and sound panning to create an illusion of space and depth.[2] This is most noticeable when listening with headphones. The background chirping birds flicker across the channels. The honking goose is first heard in the extreme left channel and the noise of its flight slowly panning to the right. Similarly, considering the song's idyllic setting, a fly can be heard buzzing close to the listener, and around from mid-right to mid-left channel, at the beginning and end of the song, followed by someone's footsteps coming in from far left and slowly panning to the right, as if walking down a flight of stairs and across a room to finally swat and kill the fly with a loud "smack" in the center (an ending that segues into the following song, "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict". Incidentally, a small portion of the sound effects used on that track can be heard in the background at about 4:48 on Grantchester Meadows).

Live[edit]

"Grantchester Meadows" was incorporated into Pink Floyd's The Man and the Journey concert suite as "Daybreak".[2] It was performed live during the 1970 US tour, often opening the show. Live renditions of the song included Gilmour on a second acoustic guitar and providing vocals[7] during the chorus, as well as Richard Wright playing two piano solos—one after the second verse's chorus and one during the coda (these solos were later played on the Farfisa organ).

This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[4]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 161. ISBN 1-84353-575-0. 
  3. ^ Pink Floyd — Grantchester Meadows, LastFM.
  4. ^ a b Guthrie, James. "James Guthrie: Audio: Building A Compilation Album". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Palacios, Julian (1998). Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Boxtree. p. 6. ISBN 0-7522-2328-3. 
  6. ^ Blake, Mark (2013). Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd (Updated and expanded ed.). London: Aurum. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-78131-057-1. 
  7. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 227. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.