Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon is probably one of the two or three greatest rock albums of fall time - it remained on the Billboard 200 for a staggering 741 consecutive weeks, and nearly every one of its songs is recognizable to music lovers. Wikipedia offers an overview of the album's conceptual foundations:
The Dark Side of the Moon built upon experiments Pink Floyd had attempted in their previous live shows and recordings, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions which, according to critic David Fricke, had become characteristic of the band after founder member Syd Barrett left in 1968. Guitarist David Gilmour, Barrett's replacement, later referred to those instrumentals as "that psychedelic noodling stuff", and with Waters cited 1971's Meddle as a turning-point towards what would be realised on the album. The Dark Side of the Moon's lyrical themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time, death, and insanity, the latter inspired in part by Barrett's deteriorating mental state; he had been the band's principal composer and lyricist. The album is notable for its use of musique concrète and conceptual, philosophical lyrics, as found in much of the band's other work.Here is the documentary.
Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human experience, and (according to Waters) "empathy". "Speak to Me" and "Breathe" together stress the mundane and futile elements of life that accompany the ever-present threat of madness, and the importance of living one's own life—"Don't be afraid to care". By shifting the scene to an airport, the synthesiser-driven instrumental "On the Run" evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright's fear of flying. "Time" examines the manner in which its passage can control one's life and offers a stark warning to those who remain focused on mundane aspects; it is followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in "Breathe (Reprise)". The first side of the album ends with Wright and vocalist Clare Torry's soulful metaphor for death, "The Great Gig in the Sky". Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, "Money", mocks greed and consumerism using tongue-in-cheek lyrics and cash-related sound effects (ironically, "Money" has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands). "Us and Them" addresses the isolation of the depressed with the symbolism of conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. "Any Colour You Like" concerns the lack of choice one has in a human society. "Brain Damage" looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self; in particular, the line "and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes" reflects the mental breakdown of former band-mate Syd Barrett. The album ends with "Eclipse", which espouses the concepts of alterity and unity, while forcing the listener to recognise the common traits shared by humanity.
PINK FLOYD: THE MAKING OF DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
If there are a handful of albums in the rock universe that deserve a bells-and-whistles DVD treatment, Dark Side of the Moon is clearly among them. In the ’70s and ’80s, the classic 1973 album by Pink Floyd remained on the Billboard 200 for a staggering 741 consecutive weeks, a record that will likely stand forever. Echoing themes of alienation, paranoia, and death, it is a dreamy, often trancelike tour through the subconscious of Floyd lyricist Roger Waters.
This 84-minute DVD offers a track-by-track look at the making of Dark Side of the Moon, featuring interviews with band members Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright, plus rare acoustic versions of “Breathe” and “Brain Damage.”
For those fans interested in the story behind the crafting of one of rock’s true landmark records, this is the equivalent of ambrosia. Discussions involve the studio-specific techniques used to create the clock loops on “Time,” the cash register sounds on “Money,” and the vocal chorus on “The Great Gig in the Sky.” Special features include alternate versions of “Brain Damage,” “Breathe,” and “Time.”