Do You Recognize This Image?
If you do, then you are a fan of one of the greatest rock albums of all time!
See You On The “Dark Side Of The Moon!”
Time to celebrate Pink Floyd…one of rock’s greatest bands, with a history of timeless music like “The Wall”:
And of course, there is also “Wish You Were Here”, with one of their most iconic album covers:
And then there is also one of their most introspective works, “Animals”…and again, an iconic album cover that involved floating a giant inflatable pig over a factory in England…
Pink Floyd’s Seminal Achievement!
But without a doubt, Pink Floyd’s greatest achievement has also become a tantalizing mystery: but first, imagine how excited Pink Floyd was to record their seminal masterpiece, “Dark Side Of The Moon” at the iconic Abbey Road studios!
Time to jump up and down, just like Pink Floyd, to celebrate one of rock’s masterpieces:
“Dark Side Of The Moon!”
48 years ago Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon. It remained in the US charts from 1973 to 1988, longer than any other album in history.
Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” is not only a timeless piece of music – it introduced an iconic musical image that has lasted ever since!
When “Dark Side Of The Moon” was released, Pink Floyd was a popular, but not hugely successful band. The idea that this album would become one of the biggest selling albums in history wasn’t assured at all. In fact, Guitarist David Gilmour had a bet with manager Steve O’Rourke that the album wouldn’t crack the US top 10! He lost the bet when the album hit number one on the US charts!
Bring On The Guinness Book Of World Records!
Among the album’s many other records, “Dark Side Of The Moon” is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being on the record charts longer than any other album in history – 591 consecutive weeks or 11.4 years in Billboard’s top 200!
Yes, more than eleven years on the record charts!
Time For Some Pink Floyd Trivia!
There are a number of great stories about this album. The original title for the album was “Eclipse (A Piece for Assorted Lunatics)”. Before the album was released, the band changed their mind and the title was renamed – and then they found out there was a problem…
The band discovered that the progressive folk rock act Medicine Head had released an album with the title of “Dark Side of the Moon” just a year earlier! After a brief discussion, they decided that, since the Medicine Head release wasn’t successful, they would go ahead with their plans to use the name.
A “Dark Side” Rush Job!
Did you know that the music and lyrics for the entire album were written during a seven week period? The band were preparing for a tour at the time, and they desperately wanted to showcase new material!
There are a number of spoken word elements to “Dark Side Of The Moon”, and there are some famous voices buried on the album…cue Cards with generic questions were written up by lead singer Roger Waters and given to roadies, anyone at Abbey Road, doormen, and members of Wings including Paul and Linda McCartney!
Approximately 20 questions were asked along the lines of, “Are you afraid of dying?”. “When was the last time you were violent and were you in the right?”, and “What does the phrase ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ mean to you?” Wings’ guitarist Henry McColluch said “I don’t know I was really drunk at the time” in response to the question about violent behaviour, and you clearly hear it at the fade out of “Money”.
The “stoned” laughter used in the background of “Speak to Me” and “Brain Damage” is from Peter Watts, a road manager for Pink Floyd pictured on the back of the “Ummagumma” sleeve.
Pink Floyd Walk Abbey Road!
Yes, the album was recorded at the London studio made famous for all time by The Beatles. Here is a photo of the band recording “Dark Side Of The Moon” at Abbey Road!
Yep, Pink Floyd walked in the steps of the Fab Four when they recorded in London’s iconic Abbey Road studios…and they met The Beatles there as well…check out this picture…
The album cover to The Beatles “Abbey Road” is probably one of the most iconic in music history, as is “Dark Side Of The Moon”…here’s a classic Beatles outtake from their photo shoot…
“Dark Side Of The Moon” was recorded at Abbey Road using state of the art 16-track equipment. Roger Waters created tape loops for the rhythmic chiming of the sound effects for the hit single “Money”.
“Bring Me A Ruler, I’m Making Music!”
Due to the technology of the time, making tape loops meant physically cutting and mending bits of tape together in precise measurements using a ruler and feeding these manually into a tape machine for duplication! Yes, they used a ruler to measure out the music!
Monty Python’s Role In “Dark Side Of The Moon!”
Yes, the famous british comedy troupe Monty Python were part of Pink Floyd’s recording as well! Studio time would be typically interrupted for Monty Python television broadcasts. In fact, Pink Floyd were such Python fans that they used some of the money they made from the initial success of the album to help fund Monty Python’s The Holy Grail film.
The design of the inner spread of the gatefold, featuring the spectrum heartbeat, echoing the audio heartbeat at the beginning of the album, was an idea from Roger Waters.
“Us and Them” was originally written by Richard Wright in 1969 as an instrumental piano solo intended for use in Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” film which the band had been commissioned to score.
The piece, then known as The Violent Sequence, was to be used over slow-motion scenes of student / police riots at UCLA. It was rejected for the film and resurrected for Dark Side after Waters penned the lyrics. Tapes exist of the band performing it as The Violent Sequence early in 1970.
“Us And Them” Live From 1974!
Here is a great live performance of “Us And Them” from Bristol, England in 1974…
“Us And Them” is one of the most beautiful ballads ever written. An absolutely gorgeous piano-only demo of “Us And Them” is included on the special edition release of the CD…
“Dark Side Of The Rainbow” – The Wizard Of Oz Connection!
And of course, the story of Pink Floyd’s “Wizard Of Oz” connection is one of music’s biggest mysteries…
Judy Garland Goes To The “Dark Side Of The Moon!”
Did Pink Floyd record “Dark Side Of The Moon” to sync up with the legendary film “The Wizard Of Oz?” Here is how wikipedia describes this theory:
“Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as “Dark Side of Oz” or “The Wizard of Floyd” – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album “The Dark Side of the Moon” with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.”
This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video mashup-like experience comes from a combination of the album title, the album cover, and the film’s song “Over the Rainbow”. Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.”
David Gilmour denied the album was intentionally written to be synchronized with the film, saying:
“Some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea of combining Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon.”
That being said, it has become one of rock’s most fabled conspiracy theories, right up there with The Beatles famous “Paul Is Dead!” scandal…and here is a video that shows how once sequence syncs up…
And how about this to promote your body of work – put it on real bodies! I found this picture of a row of naked women, all with individual Pink Floyd album covers painted on their bodies:
To read ALL about Pink Floyd, here is the book for you:
Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd by Mark Blake – published in 2008
This is the true inside story of Pink Floyd – from the formation of the band, the meltdown of original lead singer Syd Barrett – and the raging ego of Roger Waters – this is the book that tells it all!
Author Mark Blake draws on his own interviews with band members as well as the group’s friends, road crew, musical contemporaries, former housemates, and university colleagues to produce a riveting history of one of the biggest rock bands of all time. We follow Pink Floyd from the early psychedelic nights at UFO, to the stadium-rock and concept-album zenith of the seventies, to the acrimonious schisms of the late ’80s and ’90s.
Along the way there are fascinating new revelations about Syd Barrett’s chaotic life at the time of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the band’s painstaking and Byzantine recording sessions at Abbey Road, and the fractious negotiations to bring about their fragile, tantalizing reunion in Hyde Park.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is how the classic album “Dark Side Of The Moon” was made – using material that had been recorded and set aside, animosity forming within the band due to Roger Waters…and how David Gilmour quietly became the soul of the band.
The story of how the band broke up, fought over the name, and how Waters launched his own tours, is terrific…
Still, you will be hard-pressed to come away from the book with a positive feeling about Waters…instead, you will get a renewed appreciation and respect for David Gilmour…
Meticulous, exacting, and ambitious as any Pink Floyd album, “Comfortably Numb” is the definitive account of this most adventurous—and most English—rock band. You know, the one who flew the pig over the factory for the cover of their album “Animals”…
Still one of the most iconic images in rock!
So there you have it, the story of Pink Floyd in words and music!
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Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, London, Memoirs, Music, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities
This was definitely one of my favourites!
What a comprehensive post about an iconic band. I think the fact that Dark Side of the Moon remained on the charts for so long is one of the most amazing feats in music in terms of longevity and sales.
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Thanks for reading and commenting, always great to hear from you!
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Great post! You reminded me of some fond memories from when I was young. As a teenager, we use to sync up Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon. Good times!! It’s hard to believe that album is 48 years old. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
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I love that1. thanks for commenting, great to hear from you!
That’s amazing- filled in a lot of blanks for me and we think alike )
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Thanks for your tip on the anniversary!
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John, this is my history with Pink Floyd.
1967. They release ‘See Emily Play’
I buy the single. I am 15 years old.
Pretentious nonsense disguised as ‘Progressive Pop’.
Best wishes, Pete.
As a fan, I usually shy away from reading others’ opinions on Floyd but I thoroughly enjoyed this!! Really well written and hits the right notes. I was fortunate to see them play several times but never in the 70s. However, I have heard wonderful things from folk who were there at Knebworth in ’76!