Echo & the Bunnymen's Ian McCulloch Comes Clean on 'Greatest Song Ever' Claim
On Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 9:45 p.m. PT/12:45 a.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Echo & The Bunnymen's concert from the Showbox venue in Seattle. Tune in HERE to watch!
Back in the '80s, Echo & The Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch was so famous for his arrogance that he earned the nickname "Mac the Mouth." He was sort of the post-punk version of Kanye West before anyone knew 'Ye, making pronouncements like calling the band's 1984 signature hit "the greatest song ever written."
Thirty years later, McCulloch and the Bunnymen are still fighting the good fight, having recently released Meteorites, an album McCulloch says is "a worthy successor" to the band's classic first four albums from the '80s.
While McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant remain the group's only original members, the band manages to maintain the Bunnymen's mystic majesty on Meteorites. In a recent interview to talk about the album and the band's legacy, McCulloch slightly tempered some of his famous claims with disarming humor and honesty.
Since its initial release, "The Killing Moon" has taken on a life of its own. It famously served as the soundtrack to the opening sequence of the 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko and it's been covered over the years with various degrees of success by French new wave tribute combo Nouvelle Vague, former Grant Lee Buffalo frontman Grant-Lee Philllips, duet partners Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, Pavement, the Bunnymen themselves on several live releases, and McCulloch on his 2013 live set Live at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
"I was thinking tonight about possible rivals," McCulloch says of the classic song. "There are loads of greatest songs of all time. When I say that 'it's the greatest song of all time,' it is if you choose not to ever listen to anything else, if it's the only song you've ever heard. My suggestion is that it should be the only song people ever hear."
Once the joking stops, McCulloch offers some of his other favorites. "I love 'American Pie' by Don McLean. I remember thinking, 'That's the best song ever written.' So are some Dylan songs. Lou Reed's 'Pale Blue Eyes' is up there. And you've got to have [Leonard Cohen's] 'Suzanne' in there."
It's hard for McCulloch to talk about "The Killing Moon" without bringing up the Bunnymen's late drummer, Pete de Freitas. It wasn't until de Freitas joined the Bunnymen in 1979, replacing their "Echo" drum machine, that the band secured a deal with legendary Sire Records executive Seymour Stein. As McCulloch explains, it was also de Freitas who added the finishing touches to "The Killing Moon" that made it became a classic.