Show me any relevant timeline of music history without a Dark Side caption, and I will demonstrate how it is not relevant. This phenomenal album wasn’t just good, it inspired genres. And it was no accident of genius. It’s an extremely well mulled over, planned and executed record with the right people working on the right jobs.
The seeds were sown in late 1971 in Nick Mason’s kitchen. Waters wanted a mammoth concept album and the backdrop of human experiences was chosen for DSotM. The band roped in Alan Parsons to engineer the record (for which he received a Grammy in ’73). Recording took place in late ’72 at the famous Abbey Road studios, and the album was on shelves in March ’73.
Knowing what each song represents is very crucial in understanding and enjoying DSotM. While “Speak to Me / Breathe” is about the experience of being born (or being thrust into a new environment), “Time” is about growing old. “Eclipse” and “Brain Damage” are about dying itself. “Money” is about materialism and “Us and Them” is about the inherent righteousness of our being in the face of rot and corruption. Clare Torry’s performance in “The Great Gig in the Sky” was supposedly inspired by religion and spirituality.
Alan Parsons’ contribution to DSotM is incredible. He gave it the much evident sonic edge. The sound quality is brilliant, perhaps the best from that time, even though the medium used was magnetic tape. He had roadies run around shrieking in large halls to get the perfect echo. Tiny tribal drums were used to achieve the sound of heartbeats. Band members were sent to an antiques shop to get the ticks, chimes and clangs for “Time”.
Dark Side of the Moon has sold over 40 million copies (and counting). It is the 6th highest selling album of all time worldwide, and the 20th highest in the States (a shame really; will they ever learn?). According to an independent survey, Australians voted it the best album to make love to. College dudes will probably tell you that it is the best album to listen to when on a drinking binge. Statistically, DSotM should be playing somewhere on the planet every minute of every day. The disk has its own dedicated pressing plant in Germany. I say, just listen to the whole thing once and see for yourself.