Pink Floyd, hailed as one of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time, launched its 8th studio album `The Dark Side of the Moon` exactly 43 years ago today. The album, which released on March 1, 1973, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London in 1972 and 1973.
When the band realized that the title `The Dark Side of the Moon` had already been used by another band, Medicine Head, it was temporarily changed to Eclipse. Although, after the commercial failure of Medicine Head’s album, the title of the Floyd album was changed back to what it was meant to be.
The album’s famous prism design was inspired by a photograph seen during a brainstorming session – they simply picked that picture out and finalized their cover in just a few minutes. It represents the band`s stage lighting and the album’s lyrical themes.
The album’s themes include conflict, greed, time and insanity. Each side (with five tracks each) of the album is a continuous piece of music. The tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, which is why they begin and end with a heartbeat. Here is what the tracks talk about, in short:
Speak to Me – mundane elements of life, danger of madness, living one’s life.
On The Run – anxiety of travel.
Time – control of life, mundane aspects, retreat into solitude, withdrawal.
Breathe – withdrawal, life’s mundane elements.
The Great Gig in the Sky – soulful metaphor for death.
Money – greed, consumerism.
Us and Them – isolation, depression, conflict.
Any Colour You Like – lack of choice.
Brain Damage – mental illness, fame and success.
Eclipse – alterity, unity, humanity.
The tracks on this album see an extensive use of sound effects, loops, etc. Some of these effects include coins thrown into a bowl, piano chords replayed backwards, tearing paper, ringing cash register, clicking adding machine, antique clocks ticking, engineers running around the echo chamber, heartbeat simulation by a bass drum, microphone dragging, tape reversing, Doppler effect, etc.
An immediate success, the album topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes Chart and remained in the charts for 741 weeks. With an estimated 50 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. The album’s legacy lives on through its influence on modern music and is seen as a pivotal point in the history of rock music.