Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon is far more than just one of the best-selling albums of all time. It is a wondrous exploration of the human experience and not only transcends what we think of rock and roll but time itself. Revered by classic rock enthusiasts, stoners, and psychonauts alike, The Dark Side of The Moon changed the face of music and paved the way for today’s bands such as The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, and Tame Impala.
Released 48 years ago today, on March 1, 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was a career-defining record for the British band as they transitioned from an experimental jam-style sound to setting the bar for what psychedelic rock would be. Known as one of the first albums to incorporate rock with electronic sounds, Pink Floyd was well beyond its time. With hypnotic soundscapes and hazy atmospheres, Pink Floyd utilized the synthesizer like no band before or after them. Creating a true masterpiece with preeminent lyricism and songwriting infused with jazz, ambient, and soft rock, The Dark Side of the Moon is the Perfect Album.
To celebrate 48 years of the psychedelic journey that is The Dark Side of the Moon, we composed a list of 10 fantastic facts you may or may not know about the greatest album of all time.
1. Pink Floyd almost named the album “Eclipse.”
Although Pink Floyd had the name The Dark Side of the Moon set in stone years before its release, a blues-rock band by the name of Medicine Head beat them to the punch and released an album of the same name in 1972. Recognizing the coincidence, Pink Floyd was ready to rename their project Eclipse to avoid any controversy. Luckily Medicine Head’s album didn’t do the numbers they were expecting and quickly faded into the abyss giving Pink Floyd the freedom to release the album under its original title.
2. The Beatles made a surprise appearance.
As the Abbey Roads Studio doorman Gerry O’Driscoll delivered the closing line, “There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact it’s all dark. The only thing that makes it light is the sun,” on Eclipse, you can hear the faint sound of an orchestral version of “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles playing in the background.
3. The band played out the album live a year before its release.
Although it was a stripped-down version of the album that we all know today, Pink Floyd premiered The Dark Side of the Moon in its exact song sequence over a year before its release date at the Brighton Dome on January 20, 1972. They then performed the album’s cycle on the rest of their tour dates throughout 1972, perfecting and toning each song and transition before doing the final recording at the infamous Abbey Road Studio.
4. The album was nominated for a Grammy but Pink Floyd was not.
One of the biggest Grammy snubs of all time, Pink Floyd, was never nominated for a Grammy for their The Dark Side of the Moon project. Instead, producer Alan Parsons was nominated for “Best Engineered Album.”
5. Dark Side of the Moon was first premiered in the London Planetarium.
As cliché as it may be, it makes perfect sense that the first time the official premier of The Dark Side of the Moon happened at a planetarium.
6. Despite the rumors, Pink Floyd did not write the album for the Wizard of Oz.
Your stoner friend Steve may tell you otherwise, but the fact that The Dark Side of the Moon perfectly syncs with The Wizard of Oz is nothing but an incredible coincidence. At least, that is what lead man Roger Waters proclaims.
7. The “Lunatic” depicted in “Brain Damage” was about the band’s former co founder.
When discussing the making of the album with Louder Sound, Roger Waters explained that the lunatic was former Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett. Barrett ended up leaving the band after suffering severe schizophrenia, among other mental health and drug issues.
8. The album explored the trials and tribulations of modern life.
The Dark Side of the Moon was a concept album that dove deep into the philosophical and superficial absurdities of life. “We thought we could do a whole thing about the pressures we personally feel that drive one over the top…” he said. “The pressure of earning a lot of money; the time thing, time flying by very fast; organized power structures like the church or politics; violence; aggression.” Waters explained in In the book Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey.
9. Proceeds helped fund Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Along with other rock legends such as Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, and Elton John, Pink Floyd helped fund the classic comedy with proceeds from The Dark Side of the Moon album sales.
10. The album holds the record for longest time on Billboard’s top 200 chart.
With a staggering 937 weeks on Billboard’s top 200 albums chart, The dark Side of the Moon spent almost 18 years at the height of musical success.