Dark Side of the Moon

This article is about the album by musical group Pink Floyd. For information on the actual moon orbiting Earth, see Moon.

Template:Album infobox (The) Dark Side of the Moon (DSotM; the initial "The" is included in some versions of the title) is a 1973 concept album by Pink Floyd, dealing with the pressures of life such as time, money, war, mental illness, and death.

It is considered by many fans to be the band's magnum opus, surpassing even The Wall, (1979). Originally named "Eclipse: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics", the album was a landmark in psychedelic rock, featuring radio-suited rock songs like Money, Time, Us and Them and (erstwhile title track) Eclipse, with ethereal electronica, and concrete sound effects. It is a bridge between "classic" blues rock and the (then-new) electronic music genres. However, it is the softer touches on DSotM, the lyrical and musical nuance, that make this album stand apart.

DSotM is the second-best-selling album of all time, worldwide, and the 21st-best-selling album in the United States. It peaked at #1 on The Billboard 200, and also reached #1 on Billboard's Pop Catalog Chart. The 2003 Hybrid SACD issue reached #1 on Billboard's Pop Catalog Chart as well and sold 800,000 SACDs in the US alone. Since it was first released, it has sold over 35 million copies worldwide as of 2004. Its sales surpassed those of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in late 2003. In 2003, 250,000 copies were bought, and as of 2004 it was selling over 8,000 copies a week.

It is estimated that one in every 14 people in the USA under the age of 50 owns a copy of this album.



The theme of DSotM was in part precipitated by the earlier departure of Syd Barrett, a founding member of Pink Floyd.

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London between June 1972 and January 1973, the album contains some of the most intricate uses of instruments and sound effects in the studio up to that time, including the sound of someone running around a microphone, and the recording of multiple clocks going off. A quadraphonic version was also released, with some re-mixing and different takes. In making DSotM, Pink Floyd perfected other effects such as double-tracking of vocals and guitars (allowing David Gilmour to flawlessly harmonise with himself), flanged vocals and odd trickery with reverb and panning of sound between the channels. To this day, DSotM is a reference standard that audiophiles use to test the fidelity of audio equipment.

Another feature of the album is the snippets of dialogue between and over the tracks. Pink Floyd interviewed various people, asking questions related to the central themes of the album, such as violence and death. Roadie "Roger the Hat" features more than once ("give 'em a quick, short, sharp, shock...", "live for today, gone tomorrow, that's me..."). The words "there is no dark side of the Moon really...matter of fact it's all dark" over the closing heartbeats come from the studio doorman at the time, Jerry Driscoll. Paul McCartney was also interviewed, but his answers were considered too cautious for inclusion. Although it is widely thought that the noise at the start and the end of the album is a heartbeat, it also perfectly mimics the sound of a 33 1/3 speed record with a scratch across it.

In the USA, DSotM is the 21st best-selling album of all time and has spent a total of 741 weeks on the Billboard magazine music charts with the longest continuous period lasting 591 consecutive weeks. It reached the #1 chart position in the US, Belgium and France, but due to a quirk in the system, it was only awarded a gold disc. The LP was released before they "invented" platinum discs on January 1st, 1976. Even in 2002, thirty years after the album's release, over 400,000 copies were sold in the United States, making the record the 200th bestselling album that year. In 2003, over 800,000 copies of the Hybrid SACD version of DSotM were sold in the US alone. "Time", "Money" and "Us and Them" have become radio call-in favourites (with "Money" having also been a bestselling single in the USA). Dark Side of the Moon is now certified 15 times platinum in the US.

DSotM has been released as a 30th anniversary hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) with a 5.1 channel DSD surround mix, mastered from the original 16-track studio tapes. Some surprise was expressed, when James Guthrie was called in to make the SACD mix, rather than the original LP engineer Alan Parsons. This 30th anniversary edition won four Surround Music Awards in 2003.

In 1997 Dark Side of the Moon was named the 6th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 10, while in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 51.

Many argue that Acid House evolved (two decades later) out of the Moog fluries on D.S.O.T.M.

Wizard of Oz

When the album is played simultaneously with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, some correspondences between the music and film occur. This synchronicity is called Dark Side of the Rainbow (http://members.cox.net/stegokitty/dsotr_pages/dsotr.htm). For example:

  • The opening cash register sound of "Money" coincides with Dorothy stepping out of her house into the Land of Oz for the first time and the transition from black and white to color.
  • The heartbeat sound at the conclusion of the album occurs as Dorothy is listening for the Tin Man's heartbeat
  • Dorothy regains consciousness in Kansas and opens her eyes to the lyric "Home, home again/I like to be there when I can".

There are many more similarities (http://www.everwonder.com/david/wizardofoz/) recorded.

The band insist that this synergy is coincidental. Indeed, guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour has flatly denied that Dark Side of the Moon was intentionally written to be synchronized with Oz. Gilmour has been known to comment, "some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea with combining Wizard Of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon". On an MTV special about Pink Floyd in 2002, members of the band dismissed any relationship between the album and the movie. They claimed that the timing could only be coincidental, and not planned, as there were no means of even reproducing the film in the studio, as there were no VCRs at the time.

When news of the alleged connection between the album and the film hit major media outlets in 1997, it sparked a widespread interest in the phenomenon. A small community sprang up around various sites [1] (http://www.syncharkive.com/) to further explore this idea. Whether the correspondences are real or imagined, fans of the album often enjoy the experience of seeing Dark Side of the Rainbow, as the combination is sometimes called. The synchronization is created by pausing the album (preferably the CD version) at the very beginning, and unpausing when the MGM lion roars for the third time.

Others have explained this as an example of synchronicity, in which there is a meaningful relationship between phenomena that are otherwise not causally related. In further support of this, films as diversified as Full Metal Jacket, The Last Temptation Of Christ, and Finding Nemo have also been found to have similar coincidences during synchronization.

The Turner Classic Movies cable channel has aired a version of Oz with the Dark Side album as an alternate soundtrack.

Track listing

The first CD track is split into two 'songs' and the third track contains a reprise of the first.

On the original CD and 1994 remaster release

  1. "Speak To Me" (Mason) - 1:00
  2. "Breathe" (Gilmour-Waters-Wright) - 2:59
  3. "On The Run" (Gilmour-Waters) - 3:35 (vorbis sample (112K))
  4. "Time" (Gilmour-Mason-Waters-Wright) - 7:04
  5. "The Great Gig in the Sky" (Wright) - 4:48
  6. "Money" (Waters) - 6:24
  7. "Us And Them" (Waters-Wright) - 7:49
  8. "Any Colour You Like" (Gilmour-Mason-Wright) - 3:26
  9. "Brain Damage" (Waters) - 3:50
  10. "Eclipse" (Waters) - 2:04 (vorbis sample (102K))

On the "Shine On" (box set) version, and 20th anniversary re-release

  1. "Speak To Me" - 1:13
  2. "Breathe" - 2:46
  3. "On The Run" - 3:34
  4. "Time" - 7:04
  5. "The Great Gig in the Sky" - 4:44
  6. "Money" - 6:32
  7. "Us And Them" - 7:40
  8. "Any Colour You Like" - 3:25
  9. "Brain Damage" - 3:50
  10. "Eclipse" - 2:02

Because the original LP Record was two sided, there was a break between "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Money". Alan Parsons added a small crossfade between these two tracks for the digital remaster. The remastering was supervised by James Guthrie and Doug Sax.

On later CD pressings, many people believe a hidden, orchestral version of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" is audible after "Eclipse". Why this is so is unknown, and was possibly a mastering mistake. (The bootleg "A Tree Full of Secrets" includes an amplified, enhanced version of this oddity.)

On the 30th anniversary SACD re-release

  1. "Speak To Me" - 1:13
  2. "Breathe" - 3:46
  3. "On The Run" - 3:35
  4. "Time" - 7:04
  5. "The Great Gig in the Sky" - 4:48
  6. "Money" - 6:24
  7. "Us And Them" - 7:49
  8. "Any Colour You Like" - 3:26
  9. "Brain Damage" - 3:50
  10. "Eclipse" - 2:04



"It's very well-balanced and well-constructed, dynamically and musically, and I think the humanity of its approach is appealing. It's satisfying. I think also that it was the first album of that kind. People often quote S F Sorrow by The Pretty Things as being from a similar mould - they were both done in the same studio at about the same time - but I think it was probably the first completely cohesive album that was made. A concept album, mate! I always thought it would be hugely successful. I had the same feelings about The Wall. [...] But of course, Dark Side Of The Moon finished the Pink Floyd off once and for all. To be that successful is the aim of every group. And once you've cracked it, it's all over. In hindsight, I think the Pink Floyd was finished as long ago as that. Pink Floyd are quite simply the best band in the world."
- Roger Waters - June 1987, with Chris Salewicz.
Note: S F Sorrow was released in 1968, having been recorded at the same time as Pink Floyd's debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.


  • "Money"/"Any Colour You Like" - Harvest/Capitol 3609; released June, 1973
  • "Time"/"Us and Them" - Harvest/Capitol 45373; released February 4, 1974


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1973 Pop Albums 1

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1973 "Money" Pop Singles 13
1974 "Time" Pop Singles 101

External links

Template:Pink Floydde:Dark Side of the Moon es:Dark Side of the Moon fr:Dark Side of the Moon it:Dark Side of the Moon no:Dark Side of the Moon pl:Dark Side of the Moon pt:Dark Side of the Moon


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