The Classic Album at Midnight – Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

The Classic Album at Midnight – Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

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Tonight (March 29th) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.

While touring in 1971, Roger Waters proposed that Pink Floyd begin work on a new album that would see its songs connected by a single theme. That theme would be mental health, inspired by the issues suffered by former band member Syd Barrett.

Following rehearsals at a warehouse owned by the Rolling Stones, the band gave Dark Side of the Moon, then subtitled ‘A Piece for Assorted Lunatics’, its live debut at London’s Rainbow Theatre on February 17th, 1972. The press were blown away by Pink Floyd’s new material, as were the public who got to hear it on a subsequent tour.

Pink Floyd entered London’s Abbey Road Studios in May 1972 to begin recording the album, which they had been fine-tuning for close to a year. Not since The Beatles had a band taken such advantage of the possibilities of the studio, with Pink Floyd exploiting the facility’s 16-track recording capabilities. Working with engineer Alan Parsons, who had previously worked with The Beatles, the band created an effects heavy quadraphonic experience like nothing heard before.

Along with adding synthesisers to the sonic mix, Parsons and the band layered the album with a wall of unconventional sounds, like cash registers and alarm clocks. Abbey Road staff were asked a series of questions, with some of their answers finding their way on to the album, including Irish doorman Gerry O’Driscoll, who can be heard saying “there is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it’s all dark.” Session singer Clare Torry added distinctive vocals to The Great Gig in the Sky but was only paid £30, leading her to later sue the band and record label EMI for 50% of the song’s royalties.

Dark Side of the Moon features 10 tracks, with five tracks on each side playing as a complete medley. On Side A are Speak to Me; Breathe (In the Air); On the Run; Time; and The Great Gig in the Sky. On Side B are Money; Us and Them; Any Colour You Like; Brain Damage; and Eclipse.

Released on March 1st, 1973 in the US and on March 16th in the UK, Dark Side of the Moon topped the US Billboard chart and peaked at number two in the UK. Between March 1973 and July 1988, the album would spend 736 weeks in the Billboard charts, making it one of the biggest selling albums of all time. It’s estimated that one in every 14 people under the age of 50 in the US has owned a copy at some point. In the UK it is the seventh highest selling album of all time and the most successful album never to top the charts. Due to its high production quality, it became a favourite record among sellers of hi-fi equipment.

Dark Side of the Moon is one of the most acclaimed rock albums of all time, with Rolling Stone ranking it at number 55 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The readers of NME voted it the sixth best album ever in a 2006 poll.

We’ll take you on a trip to the dark side tonight at midnight on Radio Nova.