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"I've been mad for fucking years, absolutely years. I've been over the edge for yonks. Been working with bands for so long, I went crazy."
—Chris Adamson, Pink Floyd's road manager, opening words
The Dark Side Of The Moon is the eighth studio album by Pink Floyd, released in 1973. Considered amongst their best (alongside The Wall) the album remained on the Billboard Top 100 for 15 straight years. And it still remains one of the most sold albums ever, and is, at the time of this writing, only surpassed by Michael Jackson's Thriller and ACDC's Back In Black. In 2013, it was inducted into the US Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, garnering the most public votes for any entry that year.It was Pink Floyd's big breakthrough, and made them a mainstream name. But this sudden super-stardom also sowed the seeds to the band's, and especially Roger Waters', later Artist Disillusionment, which became very apparent on the albums Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut.In 2013, the album was adapted into a BBC radio play titled Darkside by Czech playwright Tom Stoppard of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead fame. He describes this play as a "Philosophical comedy". The teaser can be viewed here.
Birth/Death Juxtaposition: A common interpretation of the first and last tracks. "Speak To Me" opens with a heartbeat and the sound of a woman screaming, which could represent a baby's birth and a mother's labor pains. "Eclipse" ends with the sound of a heartbeat gradually fading into silence, and its last verse is about the sun being eclipsed by the moon, which could represent death.
Breather Episode: The more upbeat "Money" (if you don't read into the lyrics), placed right after the rather sad "The Great Gig in the Sky".
Concept Album: Word of God has it that the songs are about the "pressures in life that can drive you to insanity" - in order: communication, work, travel, time, death, money, society, choice, brain damage and nature.
Easy Star Records also released a reggae version called Dub Side of the Moon.
Brian Ibbott's first full-album episode of the Coverville podcast was called "The Covered Side Of The Moon". note In a shout out to the Urban Legend mentioned below, he noted that his all-cover version would synchronize to The Wiz.
Dark Reprise: "Breathe (Reprise)", which comes in just after "Time". Compared to the relaxed, airy "Breathe", the reprise has a more tired, worn-out tempo, which fits the lyrics.
Home, home again I like to be here when I can When I come home cold and tired It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Earn Your Happy Ending: Subverted. "Eclipse" seems to work itself up to some sort of acceptance of all the madness of life...
And everything under the sun is in tune ...But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.
Early Installment Weirdness: Early live performances of the album (then titled Eclipse) have completely different instrumentals in place of "On The Run" and "The Great Gig In The Sky."
"Breathe": "All you touch and all you see / is all your life will ever be"
"Time": "And then one day you find / Ten years have got behind you / No one told you when to run / You missed the starting gun."
"Eclipse": "And everything under the sun is in tune / but the sun is eclipsed by the moon."
Fading into the Next Song: Besides "The Great Gig in the Sky" -> "Money" (since on vinyl, they were on different sides), the transition between songs is seamless.
Foreshadowing: All of the sound motifs note The laughing in "Brain Damage", ticking clock in "Time", cash register in "Money", screaming in "The Great Gig in the Sky", and heartbeat from the end of "Eclipse" are played in "Speak to Me" before being featured individually in later songs.
Freedom from Choice: The title of "Any Colour You Like". Waters named that song after Londoners who would come to his hometown of Cambridge and attempt to sell various items from their trucks, specifically one who attempted to hawk sets of china by saying "Any colour you like, they're all blue".
Humans Are Bastards: Some of the quotes that appear and reappear on the album feature people's answers to the questions "When was the last time you were violent?" and "Were you in the right?". Everyone quoted seems to firmly believe he or she was in the right (except for Henry McCullough, who's unsure).
"Us and Them" is an entire plea against human conflicts for what are generally stupid reasons, and makes the observation that the machinations of the powerful hit the small people the hardest.
Long Runner: 741 weeks - 15 straight years - on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. When Billboard began allowing recurrent albums back into the chart in 2009, the album returned to the chart within two weeks and has racked up 25+ further weeks since then. In 2012, it passed 800 non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200.
It's estimated that the album still sells around 8,000 copies per week.
It is also at least partially about Roger Waters' fear of falling victim to mental illness. He had touched on the theme at least once before ("If") and would return to it later in several songs on The Wall and The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking.
Siamese Twin Song: "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" are so inseparable they're often collectively mistaken for the title track of the album.
Spoken Word in Music: Some songs include samples of people talking, who were answering questions such as "When was the last time you were violent?", "Were you in the right?", "Are you afraid of death?" or "What is the dark side of the moon?". Among the people interviewed were: Paul McCartney and his wife Linda (whose answers weren't used as the band thought they were too generic), Paul's Wings bandmate Henry McCullough (who supplied the "I don't know, I was really drunk at the time" heard in the transition between "Money" and "Us and Them"), roadie Chris Adamson (the Precision F-Strike at the start of the album), the band's road manager Peter Watts (whose crazed laughter is heard in "Brain Damage" and "Speak to Me") and his wife Patricia (who says "I never said I was frightened of dying" in "The Great Gig in the Sky" and describes a violent encounter in the segue between "Money" and "Us and Them": "That geezer was cruisin' for a bruisin'"), Roger "The Hat" Manifold (who appears in "Us and Them" and says "Live for today, gone tomorrow, that's me" in "On the Run") and Abbey Road Studios' doorman Gerry O'Driscoll, responsible for some of the more iconic quotes (the one at the bottom of the page, and the discussion about death in "The Great Gig in the Sky").
Stock Sound Effects: The coins-and-cash-register sounds from "Money" are used a lot these days.
Take That: When played live (most notably on P*U*L*S*E), the circular screen will display videos of 20th-century world leaders (e.g. Saddam Hussein) during "Brain Damage."
They do have quite a few moments that match well with each other, but it wasn't on purpose. For that matter, deliberately synchronising the album in production would have added a not inconsiderable amount of effort and expense, since the early 1970s were rather short on convenient ways to play movies in the recording studio.
Not that it would require much. Just pick specific times to change the song - wouldn't even need the movie playing in real-time. Plus, there's editing. In addition, the band reportedly did the same thing with 2001: A Space Odyssey as well. (In addition, too much of the "coincidences" are too on the nose, right down to the cyclone timing and the beating of a heart at the end. Even the album cover seems to refer to The Wizard of Oz.)
Ur Example: "On The Run" is a trance techno number... recorded in 1973.