Ian McCulloch, singer-songwriter. I’ve always said that The Killing Moon is the greatest song ever written. I’m sure Paul Simon would be entitled say the same about Bridge Over Troubled Water, but for me The Killing Moon is more than just a song. It’s a psalm, almost hymnal. It’s about everything, from birth to death to eternity and God – whatever that is – and the eternal battle between fate and the human will. It contains the answer to the meaning of life. It’s my “To be or not to be …”
I love it all the more because I didn’t pore over it for days on end. One morning, I just sat bolt upright in bed with this line in my head: “Fate up against your will. Through the thick and thin. He will wait until you give yourself to him.” You don’t dream things like that and remember them. That’s why I’ve always half credited the lyric to God. It’s never happened before or since. I got up and started working the chords out. I played David Bowie’s Space Oddity backwards, then started messing around with the chords. By the time I’d finished, it sounded nothing like Space Oddity.
The rest of the lyrics came quickly, almost as if I knew them already. The title and a lot of the astronomical imagery, such as “your sky all hung with jewels”, came about because, as a kid, I’d always loved The Sky at Night and Star Trek, and I remembered the moon landing. I was up all night wishing I had a telescope.
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon