“There is no Dark Side of the Moon, really. Matter o' fact, it's all dark”
- ~ A learned Scottish gentleman on astrophysical luminosity
“I can't believe people actually bought this album”
- ~ David Gilmour on The Dark Side of the Moon
“I was THIS close. *cries*”
The seventies. Many remember it as a time of experiment. In America, it was experimental drugs. In southeast Asia, experimental communism was all the rage. In jolly old England, it was experimental gardening, but some rock musicians with defective hearing interpreted it as experimental music. Some bands, especially those with psychedelic names like "Led Zeppelin" and "Pink Floyd" were defining a generation with a new kind of music. But none of this mattered, because in 1973 an astronomer who had accidentally smeared marmite on his telescope, claimed to have made a startling lunar discovery: the Dark Side of the Moon.
It was just another Tuesday at the planetarium. It had been a busy day (three visitors in the last month alone!) and janitors Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright were mopping up in the telescope room. Before the telescope operator left, he had warned the custodians not to "fuck with any of this shit; it's expensive". So far that night the crew had managed to keep the destruction at a minimum, but they were bored, and the telescope was awfully tempting. Before he could stop himself, Gilmour took a peek into the lens of the scope and was startled and amazed by what he saw; a large, white, hemispherical object floating in the sky. Realizing the magnitude of his discovery, he made everyone in the room swear a pact not to tell anyone about it. Unfortunately, Waters had already accidentally written and recorded several songs about it, so the gang decided that they may as well cash in on it. This album is the result.
edit The Songs
edit Speak To Me/Breathe
The album is kicked off with the sound of Gilmour's heartbeat (they wanted to use Waters, but he didn't have one). After twenty minutes of anticipation-building heartbeat, one hears the sound of a woman in the heat of passion which leads up to the beginning of the first song, instructing the listener in the finer acts of exercising the cardiac muscles. The name of the song comes from what Waters said upon finding Syd Barrett upside down and unconscious in his room, while trying to revive him. Barrett turned out to be no more than a psychedelic teddy bear.
edit On the Run
Arguably the best bit of the album, this song demonstrates what happened when Waters accidentally discovered 3 different notes on the synthesiser - he had previously thought the the device was a gift from the UFO - which he looped round and around at 10X speed for half an hour. One pilot was so annoyed by the sound that he crashed his jet airliner into the pub where Pink Floyd was recording; the sound of the crash is barely audible under the ambient noise of said pub.
This tune is allegedly Gilmour's finest hour. During recording the rest of the band got so bored they went off for a cup of tea, leaving Gilmour alone to create the first of his insufferable guitar solos. The other three were summoned back to finish off the track to prevent the sound engineer from lapsing into a coma. Besides a blistering bongo solo, Mason also shows off his impressing collection of old-tyme alarm clocks which he'd unfortunately wound up all at the same time. This gave him the idea to create the loudest excuse for an intro in the history of classic rock.
Rick Wright was given the task of writing a song about death by Roger Waters. The Great Gig in the Sky (or TGGITS as some of the more hardcore fans came to know it) is what he came out with. It is believed it took him up to nine years to write the inspiring lyrics of "woooahhahhhahha!" and "oaaaaaoohayyyyyyyyyy!".
Wright secretly taped one of Waters' greed-driven rants about how he could not afford to buy anything he wanted at the time and put it on the album. It was by this bit of evidence that modern historians learned about Waters' inability to speak in anything but 7/8 time. This song was also meant to be a jibe about what greedy fuckers Pink Floyd were, but no-one got the joke. Not even Waters.
edit Us & Them
After realizing that the album was still far too short, the band decided to record one more song to fill it up a little more. Hence, this was the last song recorded in making the album. David Gilmour said to a producer, "Yeah, we need to make another song. And when I say "we," I mean us and them" This statement was recorded, and an endless echo effect was put on the words "us" and "them." This was then drawn out to 20 minutes with the addition of solos on saxophone, kazoo, and gerbil.
The song was build upon a death metal-riff created by Rick called "The Violent Sequence" (often spelled t-th-he vi-vio-le-eent se-q-que-ncsse by stammering people.
edit Any Colour You Like
Named after Nick Mason's standard response when asked what color condom he wore, the song "Any Colour you Like" features a funky drum beat overlayed by the sounds of Rick Wright's pet guinea pig aimlessly wandering up and down a keyboard. Since it has no vocals, the song doesn't directly deal with the album's concept, though some fans argue that it symbolizes the lack of any free choices in human society. Others just say it's a completely meaningless jam session.[who?][who?][who?]
It is the album's only track which does not credit Waters as a writer (being composed by Gilmour, Mason & Wright). Waters originally insisted he be credited, due to his idea of using the note 'C' for 1/8 of a second during the 49th bar. However, he eventually dropped his argument after being punched by Gilmour; his black eye subsequently inspiring the album title. The track became the only song not mentioned years later on the Classic Albums documentary "The Making of Dark Side of the Moon", as Waters refused to take part unless it were ignored, or referred to as "crap".
edit Brain Damage/Eclipse
This song was inspired by the boredom of the members whilst anticipating the moon to make a full revolution, and is based on the insanity of the band's former leader (before Seamus took over as band leader), Syd Barrett. The song's lyrics are filled with subtle references to Barrett's insanity, such as "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon," and "Syd, you're a fuckin' lunatic!" Interestingly in true anachronistic form, Roger Waters tends to leave "The movie, Tick" in seemingly interesting places, such as his own head. The song then merges into "Eclipse," which is the shortest song on the record. It brings the album to a crashing climax as one of the people "Floyd" invited to party that night realizes that "...there is no dark side of the moon", followed by another cogently stating "It's all dark", then David Gilmour's heart beat is recorded again, until it stops because he saw Roger Waters smile for the first time.
edit Album Cover
The cover of the Pink Floyd album is actually declassified blueprints of a secret government weapon developed by the Bush Administration that converted light into a powerful rainbow beam of death. However, the project was scrapped when the rainbow beam turned its victims gay instead of killing them. Some government officials considered this a fate worse than death, but they were executed anyway for their failure.