Meet On The Ledge

Album: What We Did On Our Holidays (1968)
Play Video


  • This was the second single released by the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Despite failing to chart, it became the band's signature tune. At their concerts it is often performed as the last song and a signal to fans that there will be no more encores.
  • Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson wrote the song when he was 17. He recalled penning the track in an interview with Mojo magazine March 2011: "The hardest thing about being a 17-year-old songwriter is that you're embarrassed - you're never going to write a song saying, 'These are my feelings, I love you.' So I was trying to find some semi-veiled language that conveyed something to somebody somehow but which didn't really say anything up front. It's a slightly naïve song, a little obscure. I don't even know what it means."
  • The song's title comes from a large, low hanging tree limb which Thompson, as a child, used to play on. He and his friends dubbed it "The Ledge."
  • Most people appear to interpret the song as some kind of confrontation with death, and the song has become a popular funeral anthem. Thompson recalled to Mojo: "I even had to sing it at my own mother's funeral. It was in her will. That's about the hardest thing I've ever done."
  • Sandy Denny and Ian Matthews are the vocalists on this song as Thompson was somewhat uncertain of his own vocals at the time of the first recording. Thompson later re-recorded it as a bonus track on his album Small Town Romance.
  • In May 1969, Fairport Convention's tour van crashed, killing their drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's then-girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn. Though "Meet On The Ledge" was later adopted by fans as a song of mourning and remembrance, it was actually written the year before Lamble and Franklin's deaths.

    "It's a fairly vague song open to a lot of interpretations," Thompson told Mojo magazine. "I'm proud people can find different things in it. I certainly don't know what I was thinking when I wrote it - a 19-year-old trying to take on big subjects, like transition, youth, old age, friendship, blah blah blah. Sometimes you just hit something. Being young sometimes means you've experienced nothing, but in moments you see everything."

Comments: 2

  • Warspite from Atlanta, Ga., UsaThe whole association with death thing is unusual. Unusual in the sense that as a 17 yr old RT never consciously meant the association. Nor do I see how the concept would pop up subconsciously in the mind of some teenager. This is, however, RT we are talking about.
  • David from Nottingham, United KingdomI want this song playing at my funeral. It is very special to those of us that have watched FC for many years and go to the Cropredy festival.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie Combination

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie CombinationSong Writing

In 1986, a Stephen King novella was made into a movie, with a classic song serving as title, soundtrack and tone.

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"

Allen Toussaint - "Southern Nights"They're Playing My Song

A song he wrote and recorded from "sheer spiritual inspiration," Allen's didn't think "Southern Nights" had hit potential until Glen Campbell took it to #1 two years later.

Rosanne Cash

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Album Cover Inspirations

Album Cover InspirationsSong Writing

Some album art was at least "inspired" by others. A look at some very similar covers.

Annie Haslam of Renaissance

Annie Haslam of RenaissanceSongwriter Interviews

The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.