September 15, 2023

Masterpiece Crate #5: Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of The Moon

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon 50th Anniversary Analysis and Review

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of The Moon 50th Anniversary Analysis and Review

Update: our review of Roger Waters’ The Dark Side of The Moon Redux is now live for those who want a comparison review of this classic album.

Time keeps on changing, but what is timeless remains the true feat of human and artistic achievement. When it comes to our Masterpiece Crate series, there is one guiding principle through each of these albums: they are undisputed, stone-cold classics. Nothing can be more true then for this album we have been gifted 50 years ago by one of the most forward-thinking bands of their time, Pink Floyd, with arguably the most successful worldwide album in modern music history, The Dark Side of The Moon.

Table of Contents


What more can be said of one of the greatest albums of all time? Plenty it seems, because now is the perfect time for a retrospective 50th Anniversary analysis and review of the 10 iconic tracks that define human existence. How did Pink Floyd make such a masterclass of an album, and have the prescience to include in it all the things that drive humankind? Possibly because it's innate in all of us, and is why DSOTM speaks to all people on some level. Of course, the primary influence may well have been their former bandleader, Syd Barrett, who had a mental breakdown and exiled himself from the band, but the other themes were certainly felt by the band at the time from all of their years of touring and releasing music. The end result became a movement in and of itself, and its impact on popular culture, current generations, and generations to come, has no sign of slowing or stopping. In this track-by-track analysis, we will be breaking down the structure, compositions, meanings, and cultural impact of this album, starting things off with the album's structure and the title's meaning. Read on dear listener...

Pink Floyd in the studio

Album Structure And Meaning

Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road Studios mixing Dark Side of The Moon in 1972At the macro level, The Dark Side of The Moon is pretty symmetrical from beginning to end. The album has two trios of shorter songs at the front and back that run from one into the other, with a main body of four sprawling tracks in the mid section with distinct intros and outros. The first series of tracks are meant to propel listeners into the world of Pink Floyd, with Speak To Me, Breathe (In The Air), and On The Run putting listeners on a wild ride and introducing the general themes of the album, while the final trio of tracks, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, and Eclipse, are a suite of final sonic and thematic explorations that hit listeners hard and fast and come and go in just under 9 and half minutes. The remaining body of work, Time, The Great Gig In The Sky, Money, and Us And Them, all make longer statements and sit with listeners for a while before moving on to the next emotion and soundscape. 

As an album title, The Dark Side of The Moon usually refers to something mysterious or unknown. If the title is in fact a literal reference to the far side of the moon, then this would mean the side of the moon that we cannot see, as the moon's orbit is locked in place as the moon doesn't rotate, or rather it rotates at the same rate as its orbit, never showing us its far side. There is also another possibility, as the last line of the album, "And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon," would mean that we are now facing the dark side of the moon; it's just in the event of a solar eclipse, where we are now in the shadow of the moon which is obscuring the sun.

On a philosophical level, this final lyric (to be covered more extensively in Eclipse) and The Dark Side of The Moon also mean the dark side of ourselves, or the warning to not get lost in the pursuit of life. The ideas of living a life unfulfilled or full of regrets (Time), chasing fortune and fame (Money), or the feeling of conflict or division between people (Us And Them), are just a few of the many concepts that are detrimental to the self, possibly leading to Brain Damage or madness. Ultimately though, the album's meaning features all of these elements of the human condition, with the album's title largely left open to interpretation.

The artwork, the mesmerizing prism dividing light into the color spectrum, was designed by legendary graphic designers and artists Storm Thorgerson and George Hardie, inspired by Richard Wright's request for something "smarter, neater - more classy" and a photo Thorgerson discovered of a prism refracting light in a 1963 physics textbook. The band, when presented with several album sleeve options, unanimously and without question chose the prism design as emblematic of Dark Side of The Moon. The prism represents three elements: the band's stage lighting, the album's lyrics, and Wright's request for a "simple and bold" design. 

Speak To Me

Speak To Me is the introduction that bookends the album with the sound of a beating heart, also heard at the end of the final track Eclipse. The rhythm is the first theme of what unites us all and makes us human. The title is an indicator of what we choose to communicate to one another in our daily lives and what is important for us to convey to others. Pretty soon, the rising, repetitious sounds throughout the album begin to form: ticking clocks, cash registers ringing, receipts tearing, helicopter blades, and conversational snippets from friends of the band being interviewed from question cards Waters compiled to extract compelling clips from interviewees. The best-known line, one which underscores the general undercurrent of the album, "I've always been mad. I know I've been mad, like the most of us have," hits listeners like a stray bullet in the sound collage, and emphasizes the theme of madness and the shadow of their former bandleader, Syd Barrett, who infamously lost his grip on reality and unceremoniously disappeared from the group. This theme is also felt in the snippet of maniacal laughter from their road manager, Peter Watts, whose laughter returns in their penultimate track, Brain Damage. All of this comes to a head when a backwards piano chord played by Richard Wright coincides with a quick clip of English singer Clare Torry's wild and frenetic wordless vocals, leading right into the first full composition of DSOTM, Breathe (In The Air).

Breathe (In The Air)

David Gilmour tracking Dark Side of The Moon
Breathe (In The Air), or simply Breathe, was such a formative track and the message was so important to me growing up that I named my high school band after the song and we subsequently recorded a cover of it, among our other Pink Floyd favorite, One of These Days, from their album Meddle. 

The song itself comes right in without warning from the mad crescendo of Speak To Me. Clare Torry’s wordless vocals almost overwhelm listeners’ ears before the soft guitar chords fill the space. The reveal of this softer, chiller Pink Floyd was essentially the debut of a much more focused and refined sound, after their early albums featured more stoney, British sounding, and radical songwriting structure. The differences are stark as previous albums Piper At The Gates of Dawn (with Syd Barrett), A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, and Atom Heart Mother (among others), and songs Astronomy Domine, Let There Be More Light, and Fearless (off of Meddle) all show that the group has progressed immensely, also evidenced by the fact that DSOTM is actually their 8th (!) album overall. 

Breathe opens up the album as the first reminder to take solitude and not to take life too seriously. David Gilmour's opening lines "Breathe, breathe in the air, don't be afraid to care," are the most important lines to remember here. "Long you live and high you fly, and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry, and all you touch and all you see, is all your life will ever be." Gilmour's delivery is as close to perfect as you can get over the smooth instrumentation and Breathe itself is a cautionary reminder to "ride the tide" in order to live life safely. While this might seem a bit too boring of a way to live for some, the final lyrics, "Balanced on the biggest wave, you race towards an early grave", is perhaps a warning to the risks of living life on the edge.

On The Run

On The Run takes right off from the final lyrics of Breathe, particularly about racing "towards an early grave." Nick Mason’s rolling brushes over his drums mark the pace and are subtle enough to let Roger’s experimental synth-work lead with its pulsing rhythm. Footage of this creation was amazingly preserved and presented in the director’s cut of the group's Live at Pompeii concert film. 

Roger Waters creates On The Run
On The Run is unmistakably one of Pink Floyd's most experimental tracks, and that's saying something. The group quite possible might be the ones who essentially invented the sub genres of techno or trance with its progressive and evolving nature as the pulse races toward an undetermined destination. The audio snippets of boarding announcements from an airport along with the sweeping sonic waves, which give the impression of planes flying overhead or objects racing past the listener, all play out in chilling fashion, making this an exceptionally immersive aural experience. The synthesizer takes on a modern or even futuristic approach as it blasts onward, which couldn't be more timely today than ever before. Our world now is full of AI algorithms, big data, and evolving technology that is leaving humans on the sidelines and in the dust, and whether it comes to our legal jurisdictions, workplaces, or even our everyday lives, we are desperately trying to keep up. 

On The Run, therefore and conclusively, is just a masterful and prescient song for these precise reasons. The man laughing madly in the middle helps to build the tension, stress, and anxiety that we all may feel sometimes as we race towards our own destinations, always living in a rush whether or not we think we are, and on the verge of our own mental collapse in the race of our lives. Its ending is astounding and climactic with a huge explosion, nuclear perhaps, but it's never fully explained. The electronic pulse ceases to be and the ongoing echoes of booms start to fade away, leading to one of Pink Floyd's best lesser-known hits on the album, Time. 


Time is a sprawling and epic track, and its message is simple: Time wins in the end. That's the lesson here. As if being On The Run wasn't futile enough, this timeless (okay, I'll stop) classic covers the most elusive inner-workings of all, that which keeps us guessing throughout life and constantly changes us, for better or for worse. Even while the ticking of grandfather and antique clocks in the iconic introduction have given way themselves to digital watch faces and phones that give us exact satellite precision, we are all strapped in for the inevitable. The chimes and alarms fade away as Waters, in fantastic style, begins plucking his muted bass like the tick-tock sound of a metronome, an instrument often used in music studios and at rehearsals for keeping time.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon 1972-1973 Tour PosterThis track wasn't ever promoted as one of their singles, but I would argue that it should have been cut as their third and final single to promote DSOTM. To get into the meat of this song is to understand our universe, a constant beating theme that is felt throughout these 10 tracks. It is also drummer Nick Mason's best work of the album, as he opts to use tuned percussion with drumming patterns and styles that feel storied and ancient. Gilmour's slow and heady guitar chords sound akin to boulders being rolled into place of a historic monument. All while this is going on, Wright plays around with a playful, yet mystical melody on his keyboard. Together, these Pink Floyd members make the ultimate argument for why they were all so essential in the creation of Dark Side of The Moon, something that Waters himself would rather like to forget, but that's a topic for a future article...

After a few go-arounds of building up this ancient soundscape, Mason's drumkit counts down, so-to-speak, and breaks into a rock and roll rhythm, as Gilmour takes up the mic, "Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, you fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way." Time is undoubtedly the most rocking song on DSOTM, even more so than Money, because it doesn't rely on any other players besides the four guys themselves and a few background singers in the bridge section. This song also famously does not sport a chorus, as they assign themselves a structure of intro, verse, bridge, verse, bridge, and reprise. 

In this track, people waste time on trivial matters, and before you know it, "And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun." At this point Gilmour punctuates the track with a searing guitar solo for the ages to mark the exact midpoint of the song. Lyrically, Time is the feeling that everyone in their older age feels when it has passed them by or come and gone before they could capture it and enjoy what the individual moments had to offer. It's universal, again, like the remainder of this classic album. "Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines" is moody and lovely while the group's backup singers wail and howl from the desperation that we all must feel when we remember unfulfilled goals or dreams.

Before we know it, we are thrust back into the Breathe (Reprise), which serves as an excellent reminder that no matter how dire our existential dilemma might seem, we have to try to learn to slow down, take a deep breath, and smell the roses. The final line, "Far away, across the field, the tolling of the iron bell, calls the faithful to their knees, to hear the softly spoken magic spells," is far and away a perfect thematic and rhythmic transition into yet another standout song, The Great Gig In The Sky.

The Great Gig In The Sky

The Great Gig In The Sky takes the cake as an ultimately chilling, yet soulful reflection of the human spirit and transitioning into whatever comes after death. It opens with a melancholic piano line and Gilmour's emotive slide guitar, creating a dreamy atmosphere akin to Breathe (In The Air). The feeling is accompanied by introspective lines such as “Why should I be afraid of dying? There’s no reason for it, you gotta go sometime,” before the song rises with the soulful yet wordless crooning and then howling of session singer Clare Torry. 

Great Gig remains as one of only three songs from Pink Floyd that feature outside vocalists. The decision and effect here though is nothing short of magical as Torry’s soulful crooning doesn’t need language to evoke crying out to the heavens. This song begs the question of the band's faith and beliefs, but ultimately, they only needed to provide this beautiful song, completely void of dogma or ideology, to show without words their faith and belief that there's something more after death. It is useful to note here that The Great Gig In The Sky started out as Wright's own piano chord progression, dubbed "The Mortality Sequence" or "The Religion Song", and was played live in 1972 as a simple organ instrumental with spoken-word excerpts from the Bible and other faith-based writings. It goes to show that there is no question the story The Great Gig In The Sky wants to tell: life goes on after death, and our greatest gig, a term by musical or entertainment groups used for performances, is yet to come. 

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon 30th Anniversary Cover Art


Money, money, money. The introductory collage of cash registers ringing, coins falling, receipts tearing, and drawers opening and closing are still present today, despite the evolving ways that people exchange and handle money. This was Pink Floyd's first issued single and easily the most direct and immediate song off of DSOTM. With its opening walking baseline by Waters perfectly synced up to the sound collage, it feels like the start of something deeply bluesy and heavy. Gilmour's tremolo guitar kicks in with a rippling effect with Mason and Wright providing the backbone of the beat and a swing-style keyboard melody to great effect. This song clearly defines itself as the start of something massive; they were right to issue it as a single, because it rightly became a huge hit and one of their best songs of their career. 

Money is the driver of modern society and humankind as a whole. Ever since early humans learned to craft their own tools, what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to assign intrinsic value on things. Fast forward a millennia and Money is the product of our evolution, except now it is in excess and goes along with other drivers, such as fame. The opening lines of the song are innocent enough: “Money, get away, get a job with more pay and you’re okay.” This is not necessarily a want but a need for all people, which is having a sense of security, and Waters knows that it all comes down to the paper. This, however is a short-lived sentiment, as the lyrics quickly progress to the want of it all. After reaching a sense of financial security, “Money, it’s a gas, grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.” This is the immediate follow-up, which acknowledges the high involved with padding out one’s finances and is illustrated by the act of physically grabbing cash and stashing it away like an animal would for the winter season. In a sense, our highly sophisticated and evolved ways ultimately don’t stray too far from the familiar quirks of animal behavior. 

As the song continues, its next great leap beyond simply making a stash revolves around adopting a lifestyle most notably suited for the ultra rich and famous. “New car, caviar, four star daydream, I think I’ll buy me a football team,” Waters sings in a step-dance pattern. The band’s newly found fame had grown steadily over the past 8 years since their founding in 1965, but already they were experiencing the benefits and amenities that come with being a world-renowned rock act, such as being flown about the world while on tour and staying in high-class hotels and suites. At this point, the fifth instrument of the song bursts in with tenor saxophonist Dick Parry blasting a memorable bluesy solo. This is the jam that fans of Pink Floyd have been waiting for, and it’s one of the most memorable moments on the album as Gilmour and Parry trade off extended blues guitar and sax solos. The track figuratively “takes off” musically after Waters’ line “I think I’ll need a Learjet,” a reference to the ultra rich and their access to owning their own private jets. 

After a couple of minutes, the track settles back into Waters’ classic bass riff. His final progression in the song highlights the greed that is inherent in those who worship money. “Money, it’s a crime, share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie, Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today, but if you ask for a rise it’s no surprise, they’re giving none away,” Waters drifts off with his crooning final word, which repeats while conversational snippets start to take over the mix. They’re clips of members of the studio who were there at the time of the recording. Waters walked around asking them random questions and recording their responses to achieve a feeling of togetherness or party-like atmosphere to fill the space in place of the fading instruments. Paul McCartney famously was present and provided some responses at the time, but they never made the final cut. These voices are then used to create an indiscernible flow into the following track, the bluesy-jazzy, power ballad Us And Them. 

Richard Wright track his piano for Us and Them

Us And Them

Us And Them, the longest song on the album, fades in from the series of voices of people intermingling at the end of Money. The atmosphere is dreamy with a sense of relaxed and at-ease banter, which opens the track before Wright’s church-like organ begins to fill the air. Soon, Mason’s delicate drumming, and Gilmour and Waters’ soft melodies join in, making this easily the chillest track of the album. Despite this, the concepts are no less important than the others that have come before it. Pretty soon, the band are joined by a saxophone again, this time smoothly layering over the top of them. It all sounds very jazzy, like the late-night hours after a fun and booze-filled night of partying. The essence of the track also seems to thematically follow the vibe and the stage that Money previously sets, but with a more serious and melancholic tone.

Us And Them concerns the interpersonal conflicts of people and the theme of perceived divisions that we all share through acts of war, racism, and social apathy. The first verse makes this basis for the song as direct as it can be: “Us and them, and after all, we’re only ordinary men. Me and you, God only knows, it’s not what we would choose to do.” The chorus that follows really ups the emotional stakes: “‘Forward’ he cried from the rear, and the front rank died, the general sat and the lines on the map, moved from side to side.” This first movement of Us And Them really shows off the disconnected ways that humans treat one another, with the following lyrics only showing even more examples of what is wrong in our world. 

“Black and blue, and who knows which is which, and who is who?” Is an example of the color prejudice that has divided people across cultures and it is expounded upon throughout the middle of the song. The final set of verse and chorus are about the apathy that people have toward one another when others are struggling, such as passing a person “Down and out” in the street without a thought or care. “With, without, and who’ll deny, it’s what the fighting’s all about.” The final chorus hits like a bag of bricks: “Out of the way, it’s a busy day, I’ve got things on my mind, for want of the price of tea and a slice, the old man died,” which is sung with the aching pain of losing someone dear and close. The rather smooth and unassuming introduction was rather deceptive, because the emotional heft of the band’s message packs a lot in, before they make the creative decision to cleanse listeners’ palates with the jam-worthy and psychedelia-laced track Any Colour You Like.

Any Colour You Like

Nick Mason and Richard Wright in the studio
Any Colour You Like takes a big swing as the third and final instrumental track of the album. Dissecting this musical number is likely the most challenging of all the other tracks, all of which are unsurprisingly stuffed with thematic elements. Any Colour You Like thus takes a rather carnivalesque and kaleidoscopic approach with its upbeat rhythm, rising and falling synth solo, and phased up guitar solo. It feels like the color spectrum that it seems to characterize, like a rotating carrousel or spinning pinwheel. Overall, it feels like a celebration, and breaks up the rather somber mood of Us And Them for a spectacular joyride. 

To lift from an anecdote of Waters who was asked this very question of the meaning of Any Colour You Like:

“In Cambridge where I lived, people would come from London in a van – a truck – open the back and stand on the tailboard of the truck, and the truck’s full of stuff that they’re trying to sell. And they have a very quick and slick patter, and they’re selling things like crockery, china, sets of knives and forks. All kinds of different things, and they sell it very cheap with a patter. They tell you what it is, and they say ‘It’s ten plates, lady, and it’s this, that, and the other, and eight cups and saucers, and for the lot I’m asking NOT ten pounds, NOT five pounds, NOT three pounds... fifty bob to you!’, and they get rid of this stuff like this. If they had sets of china, and they were all the same colour, they would say, ‘You can ‘ave ‘em, ten bob to you, love. Any colour you like, they’re all blue.' And that was just part of that patter. So, metaphorically, ‘Any Colour You Like’ is interesting, in that sense, because it denotes offering a choice where there is none. And it’s also interesting that in the phrase, ‘Any colour you like, they’re all blue’, I don’t know why, but in my mind it’s always ‘they’re all blue’, which, if you think about it, relates very much to the light and dark, sun and moon, good and evil. You make your choice but it’s always blue.” - from the collection of analytical essays Which One’s Pink? by musicologist Phil Rose

So the song itself concerns the notion of choice, or the illusion of choice, depending on your perspective. We can expand on this idea then, knowing that DSOTM focuses on the themes of humankind, society, and universal elements, and deduce that Any Colour You Like is really about the choices we make throughout our life or the paths we choose to go. How much of it is in our control versus how much of it is a predetermined fate? Fortunately or unfortunately, the answer may never be revealed. Make your decision, if you think you can. 

Brain Damage

Syd Barret, bandleader before his unfortunate mental breakdown
Brain Damage is the most obvious tribute to Syd Barrett, before Pink Floyd's follow up Wish You Were Here took its place to cement the effect he had on them in their early years. Just listen to Piper At The Gates of Dawn to really get how important a figure he was to them. In this undated photo, the now-infamous recluse and crazy diamond (who unfortunately passed away in 2006) is seen here as the centerpiece of Floyd shortly after they were formed.

This song, therefore, is a metaphor for losing one's grip on reality. This may be for a variety of reasons, but for Barret, it was undoubtedly the sudden spotlight and his abuse of mind-altering substances. This can be most notably heard in the second chorus's lyrics "And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear, you shout and no one seems to hear, and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon," which was a direct reference to when Barrett would randomly start playing different songs than the rest of the group at live shows in an effort to derail the performance and sink the band. 

It is often theorized that Barrett never intended for their mid-60s psychedelic group to become as big as it did, but all of the media attention and television spots in their first few years really went against his wishes and had a detrimental effect on him. His addictive, bad habit of lacing LSD in his sugar cubes for his morning tea most likely caused him to have his bad episodes when he would freeze up during tv spots and choose to behave unpredictably and erratically. The group knew that their dear friend wasn't getting any better, and one day, according to the rest of the members, they decided to skip out on calling him to come to rehearsal, and Barrett's involvement was reportedly no more. According to Waters, Gilmour, Mason, and Wright, Barrett faded into the dark recesses of his mind, or the dark side of the moon.

The verses takes on a tongue-in-cheek nature with opening lines, "The lunatic is on the grass," as a reference to establishments that would place signs saying PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS. This was a reference and implication that to be on the grass, a person must be insane for disobeying authority. Waters specifically had in mind the patches of grass at King's College in Cambridge. "Got to keep the loonies on the path," was meant as an effort to maintain order with those who rebelled against the system. The last few lines of the third verse "You raise the blade, you make the change, you rearrange me 'till I'm sane," refers to the inhumane act of forced lobotomies that used to be performed on people with mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that more than 100,000 lobotomies were performed mostly between the years 1949 and 1952. Think of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which came out in 1962 and also adapted into film just two years after this album, as a great example for how Brain Damage as a series of events plays out. Pink Floyd knew that the stigma surrounding mental illness or madness wasn't far off from the desire to resist what society claims should be normal and accepted behavior. 

The chorus is grandiose and like a surround sound assault on the senses, possibly intended to simulate the feeling of sensory overload coming from all sides. It is a climax filled with backup singers, the band members' harmonies, and an instrumental crescendo that can make listeners feel much like the chorus, "And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon," or the final chorus mentioned above referencing "thunder in your ear." The song eventually settles into a comfortable singsongy guitar riff while the recorded madcap laughs are heard giggling over the top of the mix. It almost brings back that playful attitude that can be heard through much of Piper At The Gates of Dawn, like the fan-favorite songs Bike, The Scarecrow, or Flaming; when heard from this perspective the similarities in this fleeting moment are truly wonderful. Brain Damage is an all-encompassing tribute to what Pink Floyd must have felt at the time, both for Syd Barrett and the group's stance regarding what society deemed normal for the time and why thinking differently shouldn't be stigmatized. Without warning, Mason on the drums starts counting down with the bass drum, and the track seamlessly flows into the final movement to sum up the whole album, Eclipse. 


Pink Floyd - Dark Side of The Moon 1972 Tour Poster
Eclipse, the final climax of the album, functions essentially as a life review. What have all of your experiences amounted to? "All that you touch, And all that you see, All that you taste, All you feel, And all that you love, And all that you hate, All you distrust, All you save," is just a short excerpt of the senses and emotions that Pink Floyd break down into the sensory overflow that make up life's worth. This last song is sung by Waters with harmonies from Gilmour and Wright, and flows directly from the final moments of Brain Damage, almost unbeknownst to the listener. Both tracks, Brain Damage and Eclipse, tend to be played together when presented by radio DJs, much the same way the first two tracks Speak To Me and Breathe (In The Air) function as a single track. Subsequent releases have even combined the first two songs. Lyrically, everything seems very cathartic on Eclipse, with the final lines delivering the knock-out punch for the album, "And everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon." Waters once gave the best explanation for the meaning of the final lyric, as well as the entire album, for the book Pink Floyd: Bricks in The Wall:

“I don't see it as a riddle. The album uses the sun and the moon as symbols; the light and the dark; the good and the bad; the life force as opposed to the death force. I think it's a very simple statement saying that all the good things life can offer are there for us to grasp, but that the influence of some dark force in our natures prevents us from seizing them. The song addresses the listener and says that if you, the listener, are affected by that force, and if that force is a worry to you, well I feel exactly the same too. The line ‘I'll see you on the dark side of the moon’ is me speaking to the listener, saying, 'I know you have these bad feelings and impulses because I do too, and one of the ways I can make direct contact with you is to share with you the fact that I feel bad sometimes.”

And there you have it! I don’t think I could’ve explained the title of the album any better myself…

An interesting side note: a recording artifact not found and edited out of this 50th Anniversary release is the existence of the song Ticket to Ride, by The Beatles, but covered by Hollyridge Strings. Being that this album was recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios, it makes some sense that the The Beatles would find its way into the album, which was accidentally recorded in the background when Abbey Roads' doorman Gerry O'Driscoll was recorded saying "There is no dark side of the moon really, matter a fact it's all dark," in the final moments of the album. Pro tip: If you put on Eclipse from the original release, fast forward to the end of the song and turn the volume all the way up. You will hear the ending heartbeat along with the classic spoken line, and shortly afterwards, you will hear the string arrangement of Ticket to Ride, specifically of the verse, before it fades away into the void. Eclipse is a very special song for all of these reasons. I can understand for the sake of perfection in removing this artifact, but ultimately the easter egg is what adds to the classic for those in the know. Thankfully, Capitol Records never and so far hasn't decided to try to retroactively remove it from previous editions, as the decision must prove much too costly. Overall, it's a great little mishap and an inflection point for how far music has come from 1965 (Ticket to Ride) to 1973, the year of this album's release.

The Dark Side Of Oz Explained

The Wizard of Oz gets mentioned more than a few times when it comes to this classic album, so it's important to explain and to dispel the myth of this urban legend that so many fans have become enamored with throughout the years. Once the coincidences happened to be discovered, there became a cult-like fan obsession over the two as if they were made to be together. Yes, it's true that The Great Gig In The Sky (the tornado scene), Money (the colorization reveal of the yellow brick road), or Brain Damage (Scarecrow's introductory scene) works seemingly pretty well, but did Pink Floyd really go through the pains to base their album on a classic film?

The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side of The Moon Theory Explained

Roger Waters just last year was a featured guest on Joe Rogan's Spotify podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. On it, he put the theory to bed once and for all with one word, "Bullshit." Waters then laughed and shared his favorite rumored story: that Willie Nelson was busted in the back of his tour bus by cops playing DSOTM while watching The Wizard of Oz in a cloud of marijuana smoke. Waters went on to say that he doesn't believe it for a second but that it’s a funny story to recount. He did, however, acknowledge that it may well be a "cosmic coincidence," giving validity to the fact that several moments do seem to sync up pretty eerily. 

Overall it's highly unlikely that Pink Floyd tracked The Dark Side of The Moon's runtime to the first third of The Wizard of Oz, but the album sync nevertheless does produce some interesting moments of curiosity. You decide for yourself.



Pink Floyd band photo

Pink Floyd created an album to define human existence. That's the essential truth of the matter. How they came to compile all of their working demos and experiences into a constantly shifting, mind-blowing set of music remains to this day one of the great mysteries of our time, because for music or art to represent even half of what The Dark Side of The Moon offers would be considered a great artistic achievement on its own merit. The Dark Side of The Moon is a smash worldwide sensation which stayed on the Billboard Top Albums chart for a record-setting 981 weeks, and its massive popularity for its universal themes made it the best-selling album of the 1970s and the 4th best-selling album overall. When taken for what it is, it is the best depiction for what human life has become on this planet. As Roger Waters attempts, possibly quite futilely, to release The Dark Side of The Moon Redux next month, listeners will still have this magnum opus of an album to always turn to no matter what mood strikes them. Like the entire color spectrum, The Dark Side of The Moon has all the colors of humankind. It is, and will remain, the greatest album of all time. 

The Dark Side of The Moon - 10/10

Recommended tracks: Breathe (In The Air), Time, Brain Damage