Pink Floyd’s iconic album, Dark Side of the Moon, celebrates its 46th anniversary this March.
The album got released March 1st 1973. It charted in the US until 1988 and, depending on what list you’re looking at, it’s the fourth best selling album of all time.
The songs had been written by Roger during Christmas 1971-72 apparently because they were tired of playing the old songs over and over.
See the Dark Side of the Moon album guide for an in-depth run down of all the guitars, amps and pedals used for the recording and susequent tours.
The material was rehearsed and rearranged during the 1972 tour. Listening to bootlegs from different parts of the tour gives a fascinating time line of the songs developement and progression.
A favourite is the Rainbow, London show February 1972. It’s an early incarnation of the album, with very different versions of the songs. Later, during the Japan leg of the tour, the material start to resemble the album, although a lot is still to be worked out in the studio.
See the Wembley Arena 1974 gear guide for an in-depth rund down of David Gilmour’s stage setup.
Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd’s breakthrough in the States with the single Money. Columbia, the band’s US record label, was determined to break the band as they’d already had a lot of success with Meddle and several tours.
How they eventually broke Money onto the charts and subsequently had the album charting for years, is a fascinating study of how the record industry operated back in the days. This was a time when you bought air time and chart positions. Google “Payola”.
In this feature we’ll look at the history and details of the iconic Bill Lewis Custom guitar David used on Dark Side of the Moon.
Dark Side of the Moon was in many ways Pink Floyd’s St Pepper. They spent a lot of time working on the material, both on the road but not least in the studio. By this time, they had free access to Abbey Road and they pretty much used whatever time they needed to experiment with new sounds and gear.
I must admit that Dark Side is not my favourite album. Perhaps I’ve heard it too many times, I don’t know, but I think there are better albums in their catalogue. Still, you can’t deny its success and the many classic tracks.
What I like about it is how they manage to blend different musical styles and make such a cohesive sound. It’s very different to what many other bands did at the time.
The unique EMS Hi-Fli effect processor was used during the recording sessions and selected shows. See this feature for a full run-down of all the effects and how it was used.
Roger’s initial demos were very much influenced by the early blues. It was stripped down, focusing on simple melodies and chords. David Gilmour’s guitars very much underlines this, adding a more contemporary Hendrix inspired feel to it.
Wright, and to some extent Nick, adds a jazzy texture to the blues. Obviously the two genres are very much related but Rick’s piano and his jazz influences cintributes something new and a contrast to the dark blues.
On top of that you got the harmonies and backing vocals, which adds an element of soul and rhythm and blues. To me, this is what makes the album so different and unique. It’s not only about the musical style but also the element of something very universal and human, that’s blended with the electronic and sometimes heavy sounds of the band.
When did you first and discover Dark Side of the Moon? Do you still listen to the album? Please use the comments field below and share your memories!