Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

2009-09-29 09:00
 
Dark Side of the Moon
 
It was before Converse All-Stars (TM) made Dark Side of the Moon takkies. It was before the box sets, special edition, and Syd Barret cults. But Grandpa was ahead of the game when it came to Joburg's paranoia about crime (or he thought Apartheid agents were coming to kill him), and so he used to lock the upstairs part of his house off with a security gate when he went to bed (at 8.30pm sharp) and also turn off all the lights and the geyser to save electricity.

So boredom forced me to spend my life savings on batteries for my walkman, and a copy of Dark Side of the Moon which I bought from Hillbrow Records. It had "Money" on both sides for some reason – but I liked the song enough that I was happy to hear it twice in a row. The album seemed to capture my state of angsty teenage loneliness in the unfamiliar suburbs of Joburg, surrounded by weird old things, pissed off with everyone and freezing cold.

Every rock fan knows what the album sounds like now, but then, the spacious early synths, the dynamic range, and the reinvention of prog-rock ‘n roll concept albums as an emotional experience rather than a druggy musical jerk-off blew everyone else out of the water. The very English torture of the world Floyd wrote about appealed to someone who, like me, who felt stifled by the imported old culture in which I grew up and which surrounded me then. And if I ever needed a way to understand the mental torture and suffocation the music depicted, I just thought about school assembly. No, my school days were not abusive, but they also were far from "the best days of my life". If they were, I simply wouldn’t have made it this far.

I must have listened to that tape about 100 times before it got all stretched and I had to replace it with the vinyl. I loved it so much I once sat in my bedroom on a blue Monday with a red light bulb in my lamp, and wrote out all the lyrics, by hand. That's a little sad, I realise now - but I was 16.

Dark Side of the Moon is still the soundtrack to some of my more teenage moments. I think the resulting depression only finally wore off a few months ago. And "Great Gig in the Sky" is still one of my favourite songs of all time.

Without Dark Side of the Moon, I really believe there would have been no Radiohead. That alone is reason enough to worship at the altar of these musical pioneers. 

Some Dark Side of the coffee-table conversational bits

The album didn't go to number 1 on the UK album chart, but did go to number 1 in the USA. Roger Waters knew the album had worked out okay when he took the reel-to-reel copy home and played it for his wife, who burst into tears.

DSOTM sold an estimated 45 million units sold, making it Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time, worldwide.

The album remained on the Billboard Top 200 charts for an incredible 14 years (741 weeks, to be precise).

Thanks to DTSOM, Floyd made serious money. Keyboard player Richard Wright and bassist Roger Waters both bought large country mansions with the profits. Drummer Nick Mason started collecting upmarket cars. Plus, a percentage of the profits financed Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. Of course, to sell individual tracks, online music stores now split them up.

Some people say that the album, like a lot of the rest of Floyd’s work, is inspired by Syd Barrett's post-Meddle mental problems and breakdown.

I went to stay with my grandfather for a week during a school holiday.

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Rodney 2009/09/29 6:09 AM
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All of the Pink Floyd albums are awesome and Dark Side of the Moon was just the beginning of a great musical legend.
will moody 2009/09/29 6:25 AM
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DSOTM is possibly the most complete album ever. It moves through various fazes before exploding into its finale of Brain Damage and then Eclipse. For anyone who has not heard the album, switch of the lights, turn it up loud and you will be blown away. DSOTM is the best album ever made.
Debbie 2009/09/29 7:08 AM
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"PINK FLOYD", my husband just loves them. My girls had to learn about them at an early age they are in there 20's now. Dark side of the Moon is one of them that he speaks about.
Jan Carstens 2009/09/29 8:43 AM
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Very big Floyd fan. This album just shows what brilliant musicwriters and musicians these guys were. This is a masterpiece deluxe.
Preshen govender 2009/09/29 8:45 AM
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i love his song "Another Prick on the wall "
nick 2009/09/29 9:04 AM
I even remember the day I bought the LP - all those years ago. I still have the vinyl -in immaculate condition.
KOBUS 2009/09/29 9:30 AM
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"His song"? I can't believe there are still people who think that "Pink Floyd" is a person... Rodney, the beginning? Hardly the beginning!
Pieter 2009/09/29 10:15 AM
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They don't make music like this anymore, the carbage that get's spurned out now will never, never compare to albums like DSOTM !! Pink Floyd together with Led Zeppelin will always be the best ever !!!
manicm 2009/09/29 11:05 AM
The album wasn't about Syd as such, but did explore his subsequent descent into isolation and eccentricism - aggravated by his early drug habit. Apparently the idea, the theme came from Roger Waters who on a train one dat passed a piece of graffiti which read - 'Why are we here? What is the point of it all' - Roger, quite fascinated - asked himself 'Who wrote this?' Your review is somewhat simplistic as you're reducing it to a cliched piece of teenage angst when it was much more than that - the album also explored themes of racism, umemployment and war - all in the same song 'Us And Them', existentialism - 'Breathe','Time' and (the fear of) travel and death - 'The Great Gig In The Sky'.
Anonymous 2009/09/29 11:20 AM
Preshen Govender.......you are a 2 STROKE who does not know anything about real music! Pink Floyd the world's greatest band!!!!
Bill 2009/09/29 11:34 AM
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Dark Side of the Moon, a brilliant album following on many brilliant albums and the forerunner of even more brilliant albums culminating with the exceptional Division Bell. It is all over now with the passing of Rick Wright earlier this year, may he Rest in Peace. One of the truely innovative bands of the 20th century.
Ben 2009/09/29 11:47 AM
One of the best 3 albums EVER produced. For those of you who havnt seen it. Get "The Making of Dark Side of the Moon" dvd. How good is Clare Torry's vocal piece on 'The Great Gig in the sky'... Anon- Dude. Everybody is wrighting good things about The Floyd. Here's Preshen, who maybe is not that big a fan, and states that he like one of their song. Now you have to attack him? Why? Because he's not trying to be some unappreciated scholar elitist uber fan that celebrated Water's wife's menstrual cycle? Grow up assclown. FLOYD for the win!!
Teli 2009/09/29 12:11 PM
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My wife bought me the "Oh by the way" boxset last year, greatest gift ever. I've been a Floyd fan since a very young age, thanks to my dad :)
katman 2009/09/29 12:19 PM
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Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town Waiting for someone or something to show you the way I love this album so much. This and Meddle, the album that came out the year before. Check out the DVD of Pink Floyd Live In Pompei for incredible footage of this, their most epic era.
Theresa 2009/09/29 12:21 PM
Awesome album! DSOTM and Animals.. two of my ultimate faves!
Jean 2009/09/29 12:34 PM
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@manicm, I think you are simplifying teenage angst if you don't get that it's about hating the world order - especially if you were anti-apartheid in the 1980s while government schools taught Nat propaganda, and while South Africa was in a state of low-level civil war. but I thought I wouldn't overstate the obvious.
Phillip 2009/09/29 12:59 PM
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This album takes me back to the school-time in the late 60's, early 70's. That was the time of the great heavy metal bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Deep Purple, etc. And the start of the electronic era like Uriah Heep, Pink Floyd and others. Brings back good memories and makes you want to dust off the vinyl again, but who has record players any more.
Lunatic on the Grass 2009/09/29 1:33 PM
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Some music that take you to places. Pink Floyd takes you to places...but doesn't ever bring you back. Long live The Dark Side.
Lunatic on the Grass 2009/09/29 1:36 PM
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Some music that take you to places. Pink Floyd takes you to places...but doesn't ever bring you back. Long live The Dark Side.
Boyde 2009/09/29 1:37 PM
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Pink Floyd got me through the army in the depressing 80's. Now when I listen to the music certain songs or tunes bring back memories of fallen friends. It will always be a part of my life. Great music and excellent messages in those songs.
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