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."