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4.1 out of 5 stars
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd
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176 of 185 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Floyd have issued earlier compilation albums, but not on a double CD. A single LP was never going to do adequate justice to the band, even though they attempted it with the COLLECTION OF GREAT DANCE SONGS. But no collection could sincerely claim to be the best of the Floyd without including, say, all 23 minutes of 'Echoes', and that blows half an LP right away.
This album contains almost all of 'Echoes', together with almost all of almost every other Floyd that one would expect to hear on a 'Best of' collection. I say almost all, because the tracks have been judiciously segued into each other, in most cases just before the fade-out on the original. To some, it may seem sacrilege to interleave DARK SIDE tracks such as 'The Great Gig in the Sky', 'Money', 'Time' and 'Us and Them' with other Floyd classics, but believe me, it works. The only classic which I'm disappointed not to see here is the opening track from OBSCURED BY CLOUDS.
There can be few Floyds fans who don't have the classic sequence of four albums from the 70s -- MEDDLE, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, WISH YOU WERE HERE and ANIMALS. But there may be many who, like me, have never bought a Pink Floyd album on which Syd Barrett played. The early stuff -- for instance, 'See Emily Play', 'Arnold Layne' and the glorious 'Bike' -- has been ingeniously blended into the meld, despite the production standards of the period appearing primaeval compared to Alan Parsons' engineering work on DARK SIDE.
It's a wonderful, wonderful collection. I re-purchased my Floyd albums on CD too early -- i.e. before they were re-mastered. The tracks chosen here are from the re-mastered CDs, and it's frankly a relief that I cannot tell the difference in sound quality between these remastered versions and my acoustic memory of my CDs. That's a small fortune saved!
The CD inlay booklet is up to the usual Floyd standard, with a cover reminiscent of UMMAGUMMA. We get the lyrics to every song -- I don't believe that all the original LPs disclosed these -- and we get the info on who-played-what. Floyd have even taken away that second notch on the transparent CD case which makes the inlay booklet so difficult to remove. This is the early Xmas present you need to give yourself.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Not even a double CD can come close to getting the complete "best" of Pink Floyd, and for a band whose music translates so well as complete albums (Dark Side, Animals, The Wall), some purists will bristle at this collection of singles. Also, while fans will be pleased to see so many albums represented, the selection of songs is sometimes curious. But beyond that, ECHOES is a welcome collection of 26 tunes with a real unique arrangement that hops around from 1967 to 1994 almost at random... and yet really well. Check out, for example, the psychedelic (yet relatively innocent) chords of See Emily Play as they fade into the trademark helicopter sounds of Happiest Days... or the back-to-back instrumentals of Marooned (obscure even for a Division Bell inclusion, but neat) right into the classic Great Gig... ECHOES has a great ability to showcase the three periods of Pink Floyd: pre-Dark Side, the "fab four" of Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Wall, and then the two excellent Roger-less albums, Momentary Lapse and Division Bell. Even the normally-ignored The Final Cut gets a nod with Fletcher Memorial (why that song, and not the more digestible The Gunner's Dream or Not Now John?). The inclusion of When the Tigers Broke Free, alone, (from the movie The Wall), makes Echoes an absolute MUST have for fans, even if the set does force feed us Barrett/pre-Dark Side era songs apparently at random like Jugband Blues (why two songs from Saucerful of Secrets??) and Bike (available on the extra CD in the 1992 Sine On boxed set). Still, it is such a treat to pop Echoes in and just hear what comes next as the songs jump from the 60s to the 90s to the 70s to the 80s. The album does a good job of getting plenty of must-haves in, like Comfortably Numb, Money, One of These Days, Wish You Wer Here, and Another Brick 2... though putting these Floyd 101 tunes on the same album as Astronomy Domine (great open) and Sorrow (great close to CD 1) is a real enjoyable culture shock varying from overplayed to rarely-heard tunes. Everyone will have their list of "What about?" songs missing from the set (my list includes Take it Back, One Slip, Welcome to the Machine, Green is the Color, and Run Like Hell). The amazing Animals set is once again represented by the time-efficient Sheep, (as on A Collection of Great Dance Songs) but Dogs is better! Still, after 7 years without a studio release from these guys (and nearly 10 years without a new Waters album), it was great to something Floyd on the shelves, and nice to even HAVE a new set list to debate. With a band like Floyd and their large arsenal of great music, not even a double CD will please everyone perfectly. Yet this is all timeless music, and therefore, even the scattered arrangement gets my highest rating.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I'll admit I was a little hesitant about this so-called "Best of" compilation...given the fact that nearly all of Pink Floyd's albums rely on the interweaving of songs to create an album long song-piece. To take these songs out of context (and out of time) for a compilation seems like an exceedingly bad idea, one created in the back rooms of a record studio looking to further cash-in on one of the best selling bands in history.
However, this album does come together on several different levels, and is about as perfect as a two-disc anthology of Pink Floyd could possibly be. It isn't really a "Greatest Hits" since numerous radio standards have been left off, including Breathe, Brain Damage/Eclipse, Welcome to the Machine, Have a Cigar, Mother, Young Lust, Run Like Hell, and On the Turning Away. And it isn't necessarily a "Best of" either, with the inclusion of the instrumental Marooned and The Fletcher Memorial Home and the seldom heard When the Tigers Broke Free instead of numerous other choices.
A more appropriate album title would have been The Pink Floyd Story, because what Echoes really attempts to do is document the various and distinct periods of the band, from early Syd Barret material, through the band's 1970s creative peaks, and then when the band was essentially a solo vehicle for Waters and then Gilmour. But the underlying theme through all the music is Barrett, and the inclusion of five tracks off of Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets is much more than giving his tunes equal time as a tribute, it shows how much his legacy affected and was ultimately responsible for the greatness Pink Floyd achieved. And so it is extremely appropriate that as Disc 2 winds down, we are returned to one of Pink Floyd's ealiest tunes, Arnold Lane. Wish You Were Here follows as the band's tribute to Syd, but then Jugband Blues appears with Syd singing the bittersweet lines "It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here." Pink Floyd would have never existed if it wasn't for Syd, and he serves as the inspiration for most of the band's great works, so it is quite appropriate that he is represented so strongly on this set.
So in short, if you're looking for a comfortable, greatest hits package, this isn't it. But if you really want to know what Pink Floyd was all about, this is the place to start.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Most "best of" collections for most groups seem to lack something. My expectations for "Echoes" were low. I was wrong about "Echoes." I have many "greatest hits" and many "best of," and this one, for one of the greatest progressive rock groups, is an absolute gem. While this album can never capture the greatness of Pink Floyd, it can intrigue you enough to go buy their albums.

I am least familiar with Syd Barrett's work in early Pink Floyd. The songs "Astronomy Domine," "See Emily Play," "Arnold Layne," "Jugband Blues," and "Bike," all written and sang by Syd Barrett, urged me to obtain Pink Floyd's early albums "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and "A Saucerful of Secrets." This music is psychedelic and imaginative, and now I know why there is a "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-7)."

I think it is a nearly bizarre truth that there is almost no such thing as bad Pink Floyd music. There is weak Pink Floyd music, and Pink Floyd music that is difficult to appreciate. However, Pink Floyd at their worst is still musically a force. When I listen to this music I remember the promise and potential of progressive rock through what many consider to be the glory years of progressive rock. Music from "Dark Side of the Moon," which set all sorts of longevity records on the charts, is represented, of course. However, Pink Floyd in the post-Barrett years has always been more than one album. There was the wonderful "Wish You Were Here," the epic "The Wall," and the bizarre and complex "Animals." Then there is the sonically pleasing "The Division Bell," and the often derided "A Momentary Lapse of Reason." There are also the albums "The Final Cut" and "Meddle." This album also includes one song from the movie "The Wall."

Note that this CD is listed as a "Special Edition." Pardon my cynicism, but, big whoop. The only thing "special" about this edition over the previous version of "Echoes" is the biodegradable plastic cover. If you have the original "Echoes" and tossed the plastic wrapper into the trash, I think you can rest assured that it is too late to get that plastic back into a barrel of oil. Buying another copy may help someone's bottom line, but not yours. There are three reasons to buy this album.

(1) You have to have every album released by Floyd (the definition of Floyd fanatic).

(2) You are just getting into the group and you want an overview of their career to see if you should buy more.

(3) You absolutely have to have the song "When the Tigers Broke Free" from the movie "The Wall," which does not appear on the CD "The Wall."

Listening to these songs in the order on the CD is almost surreal as the album cuts back and forth between decades and band lineups. As I listen to this music I remember all that I love about rock, particularly progressive rock, and what I love about life and Pink Floyd, and then I wonder how we got here, and why David Gilmour thought Pink Floyd had run its course when it really had not. There is still time. We can only hope that one day the members of Pink Floyd realize that they were always greater than the sum of their parts. Until that time, cherish all the music from Pink Floyd you can get, because Pink Floyd is one of the few groups that managed to find the middle ground between art and entertainment. These songs and instrumentals will always be diamonds in my collection, and they will carry me forward and backward in time, until there is no time left.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I can't speak to the hardcore Floyd-fans, here. I mean, I thought I was a devoted follower, but some people here lament the trimming down of songs (specifically the title track) and argue that this disc set is a waste of time and money. I suppose, if you are a die-hard enthusiast for this group, what you have here isn't altogether new. And what IS new (namely, the manner in which the songs have been mixed and blended) may, in fact, be a nuisance to you.

Speaking as one who loves the group (but isn't IN love with the group), I found this collection to be remarkable. It is a rare thing for me to feel compelled to simply sit and listen to a CD straight through without doing anything else (ah, we, the generation of the multi-taskers), but this album hooked me as soon as the first song slid gracefully and seamlessly into the second. They have taken Floyd's typically powerful music, it's sub-sonic lyrical genius, and remastered it into what almost sounds like one long (and moving) song.

The operatic quality of this product is in no way heavy-handed or ponderous, and it's amazing to me how the set manages to stir together polar sounds (the puppy-dog-playfulness of See Emily Play wades seamlessly into The Happiest Days of Our Lives, with its satisfying frustrations -- I love it when Floyd gets angry). This mix and match approach to the band's oeuvre is not disillusioning, nor is it disorienting. On the contrary, it highlights the brilliance of the music.

Like I said, given the tone of the rest of these reviewers, nit pickers might want to step aside -- the songs have undergone some tinkering, and purists might not be pleased. But for those of you looking for some great, time-tested songs (and even a few surprises) that'll give you a good excuse to sit still for two hours, this is your album.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 6, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Pink Floyd has released several hits compilations, but Echoes is the first to span the entire Floyd catalog. From the Syd Barrett led days to the more recent Roger Waters less incarnation, all their eras are representing including a previously unreleased song, "When The Tigers Broke Free" which is from The Wall movie. What makes the album extremely interesting, especially for Floyd fans who have these songs already, is the sequencing of the music. Not following the traditional greatest hits album track listing in chronological order, songs are sequenced to seamlessly flow into one another creating the effect of one long song suite per disk. All four band members were heavily involved in the song selection and sequencing, but unfortunately they never got into the studio together. Echoes is a great way for Floyd neophytes to be introduced to the band and for long time fans to get a new track and hear the music in a new and different way.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I gave this collection 5 stars because it obviously contains some incredible music. Theres one thing that needs to be understood though. Pink Floyd has never been a band that is about songs, or hits, or anything like that. Floyd is THE definitive album band. Each one of the songs on this collection loses much of its effect when taken out of the context of the album that it was originally featured on, with the exception of some of the Barrett tunes. This collection is NOT good as an introduction to the band. Newcomers should begin with Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here. Otherwise, you are missing the point of what Pink Floyd has always stood for and tried to accomplish. What this collection IS good for is Hardcore Fans of the band, and here is why:
1. "When the Tigers Broke Free" - Undoubtedly the holy-grail of Floyd songs (at least to us Floyd-heads). This incredible song is featured in The Wall (the film), but this is the first time it has been released on disc. Worth the price of the disc alone for the hardcore fan.
2. The remixes of the longer songs - A good chunk of "Echoes"has been cut out, mostly from the creepy wind blowing middle section. Good to listen to if you don't have 22 minutes to kill, but need your fix. Also, the two bookend parts of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" have been pasted together (much like on "A Collection of Great Dance Songs"). Its dissapointing that they cut out so much for time, but the main themes of the song are still intact, making for a pretty good abbreviated version.
Now on to the complaints:
1.) I don't know why they even bothered putting the shortened version of "Marooned" on this compilation. It is one of David Gilmour's finest moments as a guitarist and they omit almost 3/4 of the song. So what was the point?
2.) Of the 5 tracks they could have taken from Animals, why do they always feel the need to choose "Sheep" (as they did on the "Dance Song" collection). "Dogs" or "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" are both better songs and better examples of Animals as an album.
3.) I don't think it was really neccesary to include 3 songs each from "A Momentary Lapse of Reason" and "The Division Bell" and not include anything from "More", "Atom Heart Mother" or "Obscured By Clouds".
4.) Why not include "What Shall We Do Now" from The Wall film, especially if they dug up "Tigers"?
5.) How can you omit "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" from a Pink Floyd collection? Can anyone argue with the fact that it really was the only correct way to close out disc 2?
To summarize, if you are new to Pink Floyd, skip this for now and get Dark Side or WYWH. For the hardcore fans, this isn't perfect, but its good enough to be worth the cash.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Good:
The sound quality. It doesn't get any better than this. Best sound on the '67 material I've heard.
The Mixed:
The running order and the cross-fades. First, not all the songs are cross-faded, which is good -
I was really wondering how some of the songs would work that way! The cross-fades on Disc 2 work better overall than the cross-fades on Disc 1. While most of the ideas are OK, they have a tendency to make the fade a little too abrupt - they could be more gradual in spots, like the transition from "Keep Talking" to "Sheep". A couple of the transitions are awkward, like from "See Emily Play" to "Happiest Days" - while technically OK, it really just doesn't fit musically. Similarly, going from "Wish You Were Here" to "Jugband Blues", while quite proper thematically, doesn't really work musically; and the fade from "Jugband Blues" into "High Hopes", while aurally satisfying, is in fact quite inappropriate musically IMHO - I think there has to be a break of silence after "Jugband Blues". I also find it hard to accept "Echoes" in the middle of a set - it has to be either at the beginning or the end. I would have put it at the end of Disc 1. Also, while putting "Bike" last has many connotations which should not be forgotten, it would still be a lot stronger musically to end on "High Hopes" - put "Bike" somewhere else. Oh, and the echo at the of "Us And Them" has to go!!
As far as the selection, this package is definitely aimed (in theory) for the casual fan, not the connoisseur. As one who falls in the latter category, I believe that there are many good choices and many "why this, not that?" choices. My personal number one in the latter category is why "Fletcher Memorial Home" to represent The Final Cut? "Not Now John" or "The Final Cut" (the song) would have been a far stronger choice IMHO - even "The Gunner's Dream" is better than this one! But that can all be argued another day.
The Abominable:
But here is where the adrenaline rises, where the fist of death seeks to be loosened upon the entity that did the final mix. Now, some cuts aren't all that horrible; while I would prefer the entire ending of "High Hopes", the fact that they shortened the long solo at the end by 30 seconds (or cut the first 15 seconds off the opening bird sounds, for that matter) isn't devastating. But...
Marooned. It is cut in half - it is the regular version, but fades out 2 minutes (less than halfway) into the song. and it isn't at any natural place - it is as the piece is building. Now Marooned wouldn't have made my own list, but if you are going to have it, have it! Why this fragment? I don't see the point.
But all this fades compared to what has been done to the two greatest epics in the history of Pink Floyd, Progressive Rock, and music in general (well...). What has been done to Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Echoes is beyond comprehension.
Shine On is bad enough. The second guitar lead of Part 4 (the one just before the vocal) is cut, but that's the way we've been hearing it live for years, so it's not all that disturbing. The transition from Part 5 to Part 6 is OK, though I would have not let the entire Part 5 fade-out occur begin starting to bring in the Part 6 bass and wind. But then a TOTAL BLASPHEMY occurs - THEY CUT GILMOUR'S TWO SLIDE LEAD VERSES TO ONE!!! They take the first half of the first verse, then join it to the second half of the second verse. The result is you miss half of Gilmour's most signature slide leads (along with the end of One Of These Days). I screamed. The song fades out after the last vocal, segueing into "Time". A good segue, but it doesn't matter. 'Tis intercoursed!
BUT ECHOES IS WORSE!!!!!! This is what is cut from Echoes, the song they had the chutzpah to have as the title track for the collection:
- The guitar lead before the first vocal
- The second half of the guitar lead before the funk section
- Part of the organ funk intro (cut from 12 reps to 8 )
- MORE THAN HALF OF THE SEAGULL SECTION
- MORE THAN HALF THE SPACEY WRIGHT-DOMINATED SECTION leading into where the rhythm comes back in
- Cuts the build-up from the return of the rhythm to where the loud guitar riff comes in from 8 repetitions to 5
- CUTS THE LAST TWO GUITAR SOLO VERSES AFTER THE LAST VOCAL
There are no curses that can apply to this abomination.
One other thing - would I recommend it for the casual fan, given what they are more likely to be concerned about and interested in? Truthfully, I don't know. It might be a little too odd for the mass market, while definitely way to K-Tel - like for the true fan. Overall, a messy end to a great band's career.
Jeff
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
They did a great job with this album which appears to blend seamlessly from song to song. No mean feat considering Pink Floyd's going through the Barret, Waters, Gilmour eras. There's the usual hits plus a few gems that one would have to buy the entire album just to get the one song.

Just a note, I'm glad they included "When the Tigers broke free" which was only available on the video or film and not included in the Wall soundtrack.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon November 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
We all know that it is nearly impossible to compile Pink Floyd's work into any sort of "greatest hits" collection. This is because of the conceptual leanings of their lyrics, the long and meandering tracks, and their method of creating full and integrated albums, instead of just individual songs. Of course you should buy the original albums (especially *Meddle* through *The Wall*) to truly explore the intricacies and strengths of Floyd's work. With these challenges in mind however, *Echoes* is actually a pretty enjoyable and believable compilation. This is because of the very creative ways in which the collection was put together. Since songs usually blended into each other on the original albums, they do the same here, leading to unknown connections between seemingly unrelated songs that may just boggle your mind. First, the band was not afraid to cut some time off of "Echoes" (chopping off seven minutes), or "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" (only including seven of the nine parts). True fans will return to the originals for the full story, but they'll also see that these edits strengthen this compilation. And then there's the unusual segues between tracks. A good example is the post-Waters "Learning to Fly" (1987) blending into the pre-Gilmour "Arnold Layne" (1967). You'd be surprised by the connections between these songs that seem to have absolutely nothing in common. Having songs from all different periods of the band's history sitting next to each other in strange ways really brings their history together, revealing common threads that you wouldn't notice by listen to the original albums one at a time.
And finally, at least 75% of the reviewers here on Amazon are whining about the song selection in one way or another. Well get over it. I have some minor disputes with the selections myself, but what can you do about it? You can't please all the people all the time. Instead, enjoy this collection as a career-spanning retrospective, and a collection of great Floyd songs.
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