The Dark Side Of The Moon is the eighth album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released in March 1973.
The group used some advanced recording techniques at the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analog synthesizers were prominent in several tracks, and snippets from recorded interviews with Pink Floyd’s road crew and others provided philosophical quotations used against a musical background. Engineer Alan Parsons was responsible for many distinctive sonic aspects and the recruitment of singer Clare Torry. The album’s iconic cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson.
The Dark Side Of The Moon was a commercial and critical success. It topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide.
It has been remastered and re-released twice, and covered in its entirety by several acts. It produced two singles, “Money” and “Us and Them”. The album is ranked number 43 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, and number 1 on Rolling Stone’s “50 Greatest Prog Rock Albums of All Time”. In the UK, it is the seventh-best-selling album of all time and the highest selling album never to reach number one.
Bassist Roger Waters proposed that the album should deal with things that “make people mad”, focusing on the pressures faced by the band during their arduous lifestyle, and dealing with the apparent mental problems suffered by former band member Syd Barrett.
Waters, guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, and keyboardist Richard Wright participated in the writing and production of the new material, and Waters created the early demo tracks at his home in a small studio built in his garden shed. The band rehearsed at a warehouse. They also purchased extra equipment, which included new speakers, a PA system, a 28-track mixing desk with a four channel quadraphonic output, and a custom-built lighting rig. For the tour, a massive nine tons of gear was transported in three trucks.
The band’s lengthy tour through Europe and North America gave them the opportunity to make continual improvements to the scale and quality of their performances.. After a series of dates in North America, the band flew to London to begin recording the album.
The Dark Side Of The Moon is a continuous piece of music. Each side reflects various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and (according to Waters) “empathy”. “Speak to Me” and “Breathe” together stress the mundane and futile elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, and the importance of living one’s own life. By shifting the scene to an airport, the synthesizer-driven instrumental “On the Run” evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright’s fear of flying. “Time” examines the manner in which its passage can control one’s life and offers a stark warning to those who remain focused on mundane aspects; it is followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in “Breathe “. The first side of the album ends with Wright and vocalist Clare Torry’s soulful metaphor for death, “The Great Gig in the Sky”.
Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, “Money”, mocks greed and consumerism using tongue-in-cheek lyrics and cash-related sound effects (ironically, “Money” has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands).”Us and Them” addresses the isolation of the depressed with the symbolism of conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. “Any Colour You Like” concerns the lack of choice one has in a human society. “Brain Damage” looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self; in particular, the line “and if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes” reflects the mental breakdown of former bandmate Syd Barrett.
The album ends with “Eclipse”, forcing the listener to recognize the common traits shared by humanity.
In 2013, The Dark Side Of The Moon was selected for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”
Join PodCloud1 during the month of its original release as we ‘Revisit A Classic’ …Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon.
(click player to revisit a classic)
1. Speak To Me/Breathe
2. On The Run
4. The Great Gig In The Sky
6. Us And Them
7. Any Colour You Like
8. Brain Damage
A different album is featured every month on PodCloud1’s “Revisiting The Classics”