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The Dark Side of the Moon is the sixth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Released in March 1973, the concept built on the ideas that the band had explored in their live shows and previous recordings, but it lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterised their work following the departure in 1968 of founding member, principal composer and lyricist, Syd Barrett. The album's themes include conflict, greed, aging, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett's deteriorating mental state.

The album was developed as part of a forthcoming tour of live performances, and premièred several months before studio recording began. The new material was further refined during the tour, and was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road Studiosmarker in London. Pink Floyd used some of the most advanced recording techniques of the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesisers were given prominence in several tracks, and a series of recorded interviews with staff and band personnel provided the source material for a range of philosophical quotations used throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was directly responsible for some of the most notable sonic aspects of the album, including the non-lexical performance of Clare Torry.

The Dark Side of the Moon was an immediate success, topping the Billboard 200 for one week. It subsequently remained on the charts for 741 weeks (fourteen years), the longest duration of any album in history. With an estimated 45 million units sold, it is Pink Floyd's most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. It has twice been remastered and re-released, and has been covered by several other acts. It spawned two singles, "Money" and "Us and Them". In addition to its commercial success, The Dark Side of the Moon is one of Pink Floyd's most popular albums among fans and critics and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.


Following the release of Meddle (1971), in December 1971 the band assembled for an upcoming tour of Britain, Japan, and the United States. Rehearsing in Broadhurst Gardens in Londonmarker, there was the looming prospect of a new album although their priority at that time was the creation of new material. In a band meeting at drummer Nick Mason's home in Camdenmarker, bassist Roger Waters proposed that a new album could form part of the tour. Waters' idea was for an album dealing with things that "make people mad", focusing on the pressures faced by the band during their arduous lifestyle and dealing with the apparent mental problems suffered by former band member Syd Barrett. The band had explored a similar idea with 1969's The Man and the Journey. In a recent interview for Rolling Stone David Gilmour said "... I think we all thought—and Roger definitely thought—that a lot of the lyrics that we had been using were a little too indirect. There was definitely a feeling that the words were going to be very clear and specific."

Generally, all four members agreed that Waters' idea for an album unified by a single theme was a good idea. Bassist and principal lyricist Roger Waters, guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright participated in the writing and production of the new material—something of a rarity in later Pink Floyd albums. Waters created the early demo tracks at his Islingtonmarker home, in a small recording studio he had built in his garden shed. Parts of the new album were taken from previously unused material: the opening line of "Breathe" came from an earlier work by Waters and Ron Geesin written for the soundtrack of The Body; the basic structure of "Us and Them" was taken from a piece originally written for the film Zabriskie Point. The band rehearsed at a warehouse in London owned by The Rolling Stones, and then at the Rainbow Theatremarker. They also purchased extra equipment, including new speakers, a PA system, a 28-track mixing desk with four quadraphonic outputs, and a custom-built lighting rig. Nine tonnes of kit was transported in three lorries; this would be the first time the band had taken an entire album on tour, but it would allow them to refine and improve the new material, which by then had been given the provisional title of The Dark Side of the Moon (an allusion to lunacy, rather than astronomy). On discovering that that title had already been used by another band, Medicine Head, it was temporarily changed to Eclipse. Eclipse premièred at The Dome in Brightonmarker, on 20 January 1972, however Medicine Head's album was a commercial failure, and so the title changed back to the band's original preference.

The Rainbow Theatre in London
Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics, as it was now known, was performed in the presence of an assembled press on 17 February 1972—more than a year before its eventual release—at the Rainbow theatre, receiving critical acclaim. Michael Wale of The Times described the piece as "... bringing tears to the eyes. It was so completely understanding and musically questioning." Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times wrote "The ambition of the Floyd's artistic intention is now vast." Melody Maker was however less enthusiastic: "Musically, there were some great ideas, but the sound effects often left me wondering if I was in a bird-cage at London zoo." The following tour was also widely acclaimed by the public. The new material was performed live, in the same order in which it would eventually be recorded, but obvious differences included the lack of synthesisers in tracks such as "On the Run", and Bible readings in place of Clare Torry's vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky".

The band's 1972–1973 Dark Side of the Moon Tour through Europe and North America gave them the opportunity to make continual improvements to the scale and quality of the performances. Studio sessions were squeezed between tour dates; rehearsals began in England on 20 January, but in late February the band travelled to France and recorded music for La Vallée, a French film by director Barbet Schroeder. They then performed in Japanmarker and returned to France in March to complete work on La Vallée. After a series of dates in North America, the band flew to London to begin recording the album from 24 May to 25 June. More concerts in Europe and North America followed, and also the recording in October of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, before the band again returned on 9 January 1973 to complete work on the album.


The Dark Side of the Moon builds upon previous experiments Pink Floyd had attempted in their live shows and recordings, but without the extended instrumental excursions which, according to critic David Fricke, had become characteristic of the band after founding member Syd Barrett left in 1968. Guitarist David Gilmour, Barrett's replacement, would later refer to these instrumentals as "that psychedelic noodling stuff". Gilmour and Waters cite 1971's Meddle as a turning-point toward what would be realised on the album. Lyrical themes include conflict, greed, ageing, death, and mental illness (or "insanity"), the latter inspired in part by Barrett's deteriorating mental state; he had been the band's principal composer and lyricist. The album is notable for its use of musique concrète and conceptual, philosophical lyrics, as found in much of the band's other work.

Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music. The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life. The album begins and ends with a fading heartbeat, explores the nature of the human experience, and according to Waters, "empathy". "Speak to Me" and "Breathe" together stress the mundane and futile elements of life along with the ever-present threat of madness and the importance of living one's own life—"Don't be afraid to care". "On the Run", a synthesiser-driven instrumental, evokes the stress and anxiety of modern travel, in particular Wright's fear of flying, by shifting the scene to an airport. "Time" looks at the manner in which the passage of time can control one's life, offering a stark warning to those who waste time stuck in life's more mundane aspects, followed by a retreat into solitude and withdrawal in "Breathe ". The first side of the album ends with "The Great Gig in the Sky"—a soulful metaphor for death. Opening with the sound of cash registers and loose change, the first track on side two, "Money", mocks greed and consumerism, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and wealth-related sound effects. "Money" has been the most commercially successful track from the album, with several cover versions produced by other bands. "Us and Them" addresses ethnocentrism and conflict and the use of simple dichotomies to describe personal relationships. "Brain Damage" looks at a mental illness resulting from the elevation of fame and success above the needs of the self. In particular the line "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes" reflects the mental breakdown of former band-mate Syd Barrett. The album ends with "Eclipse", which espouses the concepts of alterity ("otherness") and unity, while forcing the listener to recognise the common traits shared by humanity.


Abbey Road Studios main entrance
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studiosmarker, in two sessions, between May 1972 and January 1973. The band were assigned staff engineer Alan Parsons, who had previously worked as assistant tape operator on Atom Heart Mother, and who had also gained experience as a recording engineer on The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be. The recording sessions made use of the most advanced studio techniques of the time. The studio was capable of 16-track mixes which offered a greater degree of flexibility than the eight or four track mixes they had previously used, although the band would often use so many tracks that to make more space available second generation copies were made.

Beginning on 1 June, the first track to be recorded was "Us and Them", followed six days later by "Money". Waters had created effects loop from recordings of various money-related objects, including coins thrown into a food-mixing bowl taken from his wife's pottery studio. These loops were later re-recorded to take advantage of the band's decision to record a quadraphonic mix of the album (Parsons has since expressed dissatisfaction with the result of this mix, attributed to a lack of time and the paucity of available multi-track tape recorders). "Time" and "The Great Gig in the Sky" were the next pieces to be recorded, followed by a two-month break during which the band spent time with their families and prepared for an upcoming tour of the US. Their recording sessions suffered regular interruptions; Roger Waters, a supporter of Arsenal F.C., would often break from recording to see his team compete. The band would occasionally stop work to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus on the television, leaving Parsons to work on material recorded up to that point. David Gilmour has since disputed this claim; in an interview in 2003 he said: "We would sometimes watch them but when we were on a roll, we would get on."

Returning from the US in January 1973, they recorded "Brain Damage", "Eclipse", "Any Colour You Like" and "On the Run", simultaneously fine-tuning the work they had already done in the previous sessions. A foursome of female vocalists was assembled to sing on "Brain Damage", "Eclipse" and "Time", and saxophonist Dick Parry was booked to play on "Us and Them" and "Money". With director Adrian Maben the band also filmed studio footage for Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. Once the recording sessions were complete, the band began a tour of Europe.


The album is particularly notable for the metronomic sound effects during "Speak to Me", and the tape loops that open "Money". Nick Mason, responsible for most of the sound effects used on Pink Floyd's discography, received a rare solo composing credit for "Speak to Me". The track serves as an introduction, with cross-fades of elements from other pieces on the album. Mason created a rough version at his home, before completing it in the studio. A piano chord, replayed backwards, serves to augment the build-up of effects, which are immediately followed by the opening of "Breathe". The sound effects on "Money" were created by splicing together Waters' recordings of clinking coins, tearing paper, a ringing cash register and a clicking adding machine to create a 7-beat effects loop (later adapted to four tracks in order to create a "walk around the room" effect in quadraphonic presentations of the album). At times the sonic experimentation on the album required the engineers and all band members to operate the mixing console's faders simultaneously to mix down the intricately assembled multitrack recordings of several of the songs (particularly "On the Run").

Along with the conventional rock band instrumentation, Pink Floyd added prominent synthesisers to their sound. For example, the band experimented with an EMS VCS 3 on "Brain Damage" and "Any Colour You Like", and a Synthi A on "Time" and "On the Run". They also devised and recorded unconventional sounds: an assistant engineer running around the studio's echo chamber (during "On the Run"), and a specially treated bass drum made to simulate a human heartbeat (during "Speak to Me", "On the Run", "Time", and "Eclipse"). This sound is most prominent as the intro and the outro to the album, but it can also be heard sporadically on other tracks—the songs "Time" and "On the Run" have the low thudding. The assorted clocks ticking then chiming simultaneously (during "Time") were initially created as a quadraphonic test by Parsons. Parsons recorded each timepiece at an antique clock shop, and although the material had not been created specifically for the album, elements of it were eventually used in the track, accompanied by a series of Rototoms.


Several tracks, including "Us and Them" and "Time", are notable for demonstrating Richard Wright and David Gilmour's ability to harmonise their voices. In The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon, a 2003 DVD documentary on the production of the album, Roger Waters attributes this to the fact that their voices both sound extremely similar. To take advantage of this, Parsons perfected the use of other studio techniques such as the doubletracking of vocals and guitars, and other vocal multitracking which allowed Gilmour to harmonise with himself. He also made prominent use of flanging and phase shifting effects on vocals and instruments, odd trickery with reverb, and the panning of sounds between channels (most notable in the quadraphonic mix of "On the Run", when the sound of the Hammond B3 organ played through a Leslie speaker rapidly swirls around the listener).

The album's credits include Clare Torry, a session singer and songwriter, and a regular at Abbey Road. She had worked on pop material and numerous cover albums, and after hearing one of those albums Parsons invited her to the studio to sing on "The Great Gig in the Sky". She declined this invitation as she wanted to watch Chuck Berry perform at the Hammersmith Odeonmarker, but arranged to come in on the following Sunday. The band explained the concept behind the album, but were unable to tell her exactly what she should do. Gilmour was in charge of the session, and in a few short takes on a Sunday night she improvised a wordless melody to accompany Richard Wright's emotive piano solo. Torry was initially embarrassed by her exuberance in the recording booth, and wanted to apologise to the band—only to find them delighted with her performance. Her takes were then selectively edited, to produce the version used on the track. For her contribution she was paid £30, equivalent to about £ as of . In 2004, Torry sued EMI and Pink Floyd for song writing royalties, claiming that she co-wrote "The Great Gig in the Sky" with keyboardist Richard Wright. The High Courtmarker concluded that Torry was correct but the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. All post-2005 pressings including "The Great Gig in the Sky" credit both Wright and Torry for the song.

Snippets of voices between and over the music are a feature of the album. During recording sessions, Roger Waters recruited both the staff and the temporary occupants of the studio to answer a series of questions printed on flashcards. The interviewees were placed in front of a microphone in a darkened studio three, and shown such questions as "What's your favourite colour?" and "What's your favourite food?", before moving on to themes more central to the album (such as madness, violence, and death). Questions were answered in the order they were presented, provoking surprising responses. The question "When was the last time you were violent?" was immediately followed by "Were you in the right?" The recording of road manager Roger "The Hat" Manifold was the only one obtained through a conventional sit-down interview as initially the band could not find him, and by then the flashcards had been mislaid. When asked about a violent encounter he'd had with another motorist, Manifold's replied "... give 'em a quick, short, sharp shock ...", and when asked about death he responded "live for today, gone tomorrow, that's me ..." Another roadie, Chris Adamson, was on tour with Pink Floyd at the time and recorded his explicit diatribe that opens the album: "I've been mad for fucking years—absolutely years". Pink Floyd's road manager Peter Watts (father of actress Naomi Watts) contributed the repeated laughter during "Brain Damage" and "Speak to Me". The monologue about "geezers" who were "cruisin' for a bruisin was delivered by Peter's second wife, Puddie (short for Patricia) Watts. The responses "And I am not frightened of dying, any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying, there's no reason for it, you've got to go some time" (during "The Great Gig in the Sky") and closing words "there is no dark side of the Moon really ... as a matter of fact it's all dark" (over the "Eclipse" heartbeats) came from the studios' Irish doorman, Gerry O'Driscoll. Paul and Linda McCartney were also interviewed, but their answers were not included on the album. McCartney's band mate Henry McCullough contributed the famous line "I don't know, I was really drunk at the time" (during the segue between "Money" and "Us and Them").


Following the completion of the dialogue sessions, producer Chris Thomas was hired to provide "a fresh pair of ears". Thomas' background was musical rather than engineering. He had worked with Beatles producer George Martin, and was acquainted with Pink Floyd's manager Steve O'Rourke. All four members of the band were engaged in a disagreement over the style of the mix. Waters and Mason preferred a "dry" and "clean" mix, making more use of the non-musical elements, but Gilmour and Wright preferred a subtler and more "echoey" mix. Thomas later claimed there were no such disagreements, stating "There was no difference in opinion between them, I don't remember Roger once saying that he wanted less echo. In fact, there were never any hints that they were later going to fall out. It was a very creative atmosphere. A lot of fun." Although the truth remains unclear, Thomas' intervention resulted in a welcome compromise between Waters and Gilmour, leaving both entirely satisfied with the end product. Thomas was responsible for significant changes to the album, including the perfect timing of the echo used on "Us and Them". He was also present for the recording of "The Great Gig in the Sky" (although Parsons was responsible for hiring Torry). Interviewed in 2006, when asked if he felt his goals had been accomplished in the studio, Roger Waters said:


The album was originally released in a gatefold LP sleeve designed by Hipgnosis and George Hardie, and bore Hardie's iconic refracting prism on the cover. Hipgnosis had designed several of the band's previous albums, with controversial results; EMI had reacted with confusion when faced with the cover designs for Atom Heart Mother and Obscured by Clouds, as they had expected to see traditional designs which included lettering and words. Designers Storm Thorgeson and Aubrey Powell were able to ignore such criticism as they were employed by the band. For The Dark Side of the Moon Richard Wright instructed them to come up with something "smarter, neater—more classy". The prism design was inspired by a photograph that Thorgeson had seen in a brainstorming session with Powell. The artwork was created by Hipgnosis associate George Hardie. Hipgnosis offered the band a choice of seven designs, but all four members agreed that the prism was by far the best. The prism design represents three elements; the band's stage lighting, the album lyrics, and Richard Wright's request for a "simple and bold" design. The spectrum of light continues through to the gatefold before being recombined on the back—an idea that Roger Waters came up with. Added shortly afterwards, the gatefold design also includes a visual representation of the heartbeat used throughout the album, and the back of the album cover contains Thorgeson's suggestion of another prism recombining the spectrum of light, facilitating interesting layouts of the sleeve in record shops. The light band emanating from the prism on the album cover has six colours, missing indigo compared to the traditional division of the spectrum into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. A normal prism would display a continuous spectrum with no defined boundaries between a colour and the next.

Inside the sleeve were two posters, one bearing pictures of the band in concert with the words PINK FLOYD broken up and scattered about, and the other an image of the Great Pyramids of Gizamarker taken on infrared film by Powell and Thorgeson. Also included was a sheet of stickers of the pyramids. In 2003 VH1 named the album's cover the 4th-greatest album cover of all time, and in 2009 listeners of the UK radio station Planet Rock voted it the greatest album cover of all time.

Since the departure of founding member Barrett in 1968, the burden of lyrical composition had fallen mostly on Waters' shoulders. He is therefore credited as the author of the album's lyrics, making The Dark Side of the Moon the first of five consecutive Pink Floyd albums with lyrics credited only to him. The band were so confident of the quality of the writing that, for the first time, they felt able to print them on the album's sleeve. When in 2003 he was asked if his input on the album was "organising [the] ideas and frameworks" and David Gilmour's was "the music", Waters replied:


With the exception of Wright, the band boycotted the press reception at the London Planetariummarker on 27 February, as the quadraphonic mix was not yet complete. The guests were presented with a quartet of life-sized cardboard cutouts of the band, and the stereo mix of the album was presented through a poor-quality public address system. Generally however, the press were enthusiastic; Melody Maker's Roy Hollingworth described side one as: "... so utterly confused with itself it was difficult to follow", but went on to praise side two, writing "The songs, the sounds, the rhythms were solid and sound, Saxophone hit the air, the band rocked and rolled, and then gushed and tripped away into the night." Steve Peacock of Sounds wrote "I don't care if you've never heard a note of the Pink Floyd's music in your life, I'd unreservedly recommend everyone to The Dark Side of the Moon ..." In his 1973 album review for Rolling Stone magazine, Lloyd Grossman wrote: "a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement".

The Dark Side of the Moon was released first in the US on 10 March 1973, and then in the UK on 24 March. It became an instant chart success in Britain and throughout Western Europe; by the following month, it had gained a gold disc in the UK and US. Throughout March 1973 the band played the album as part of their US tour, including a midnight performance at Radio City Music Hall in New Yorkmarker on 17 March. Highlights included an aircraft launched from the back of the hall at the end of "On the Run", crashing into the stage in a cloud of orange smoke. The performance was watched by an audience of 6,000 people. The album reached the Billboard album chart number one spot on 28 April 1973, and was so successful that the band returned two months later for another tour.


Much of the album's early stateside success has been attributed to the efforts of Pink Floyd's US record company, Capitol Recordsmarker. Newly appointed chairman Bhaskar Menon set about trying to reverse the relatively poor sales of the band's previous studio album, Meddle. Meanwhile, disenchanted with Capitol the band and manager O'Rourke had been quietly negotiating a new contract with Columbia Records, with CBS president Clive Davis. The Dark Side of the Moon was the last album that Pink Floyd were obliged to release before formally signing a new contract. Menon's enthusiasm for the new album was such that he was responsible for a huge promotional advertising campaign, which included radio-friendly truncated versions of "Us and Them" and "Time". In some countries—notably the UK—Pink Floyd had not released a single since 1968's "Point Me at the Sky, and unusually "Money" was released as a single on 7 May, with "Any Colour You Like" on the B-side. It reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1973. A two-sided white label promotional version of the single, with mono and stereo mixes, was sent to radio stations. The mono side had the word "bullshit" removed from the song, leaving "bull" in its place, however the stereo side retained the uncensored version. This was subsequently withdrawn; the replacement was sent to radio stations with a note advising disc jockeys to dispose of the first uncensored copy. "Time" was released on 4 February 1974, with "Us and Them" on the B-side. Menon's efforts to secure a contract renewal with Pink Floyd were in vain however; at the beginning of 1974, the band signed for Columbia with a reported advance fee of $1M (in Britain and Europe they continued to be represented by Harvest Records).


The Dark Side of the Moon became one of the best-selling albums of all time, (not counting compilations and various artists soundtracks), and is in the top 25 of a list of best selling albums in the United Statesmarker. Although it held the number one spot in the US for only a week, it remained in the Billboard 200 for 741 weeks. The album re-appeared on the Billboard charts with the introduction of the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in May 1991, and it has been a perennial feature since then. In the UK it is the sixth-best-selling album of all time.

In the US the LP was released before the introduction of platinum awards on 1 January 1976. It therefore held only a gold disc until 16 February 1990 when it was certified 11× platinum. On 4 June 1998 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album 15× platinum, denoting sales of fifteen million in the United States alone—making it their biggest-selling work there (The Wall is 23× platinum, but as a double album this signifies sales of 11.5 million). "Time" and "Money" remain radio favourites; in the US, for the year ending 20 April 2005, "Time" was played on 13,723 occasions and "Money" on 13,731 occasions. "Money" has sold well as a single in its own right. Industry sources suggest that worldwide sales of the album total about 45 million. Between 8,000 and 9,000 copies are sold each week, and a total of 400,000 were sold in 2002, making it the 200th-best-selling album of that year—nearly three decades after its initial release. According to a 2 August 2006 Wall Street Journal article, although the album was released in 1973, it has sold 7.7 million copies since 1991 in the US alone and continues to log 9,600 sales per week domestically. To this day, it occupies a prominent spot on Billboard's Pop Catalogue Chart. It reached number one when the 2003 hybrid CD/[[Super Audio CD|SACD]] edition was released and sold 800,000 copies in the US alone. On the week of 5 May 2006 ''The Dark Side of the Moon'' achieved a combined total of 1,500 weeks on the ''Billboard'' 200 and Pop Catalogue charts.{{Citation | title = Roger Waters Revisits The 'Dark Side' | url = | last = Waddell | first = Ray | date = 2006-05-05 | publisher = | accessdate = 2009-08-02}} It is estimated that one in every fourteen people in the US under the age of fifty owns or has owned a copy. In 1987 ''Rolling Stone'' listed ''The Dark Side of the Moon'' 35th on its list of the "top 100 albums of the last 20 years",{{Harvnb|Reising|2005|p=7}} and six years later the album polled in 43rd position on the magazine's list of the [[Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time|500 greatest albums of all time]].{{Citation | title = The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time | url = | date = 2003-11-18 | publisher = | accessdate = 2009-03-22}} and in 2006 it was voted "My Favourite Album" by viewers and listeners to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation,{{Citation | title = My Favourite Album | url = | publisher = | accessdate = 2009-03-22}} ''[[NME]]'' readers voted the album eighth in their 2006 "Best album of all time" online poll,{{Citation | title = Best album of all time revealed | url = | publisher = | date = 2006-06-02 | accessdate = 2009-11-22}} and in 2009 [[Planet Rock]] listeners voted the album the "greatest of all time".{{Citation | title = Greatest Album poll top 40 | url = | publisher = | year = 2009 | accessdate = 2009-11-22}} The album is also number two on the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time, a list made by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers "in celebration of the art form of the record album".{{Citation | title = Definitive 200 | url = | publisher = | accessdate = 2009-03-28 | year = 1954 | month = May | author = Benmansour, H; Cochet, P | volume = 4 | issue = | pages = 309–11 | issn = 0081-1270 | pmid = 13230828 | journal = Bulletin des societes d'ophtalmologie de France}} It came 29th in ''The Observer'''s 2006 list of "The 50 albums that changed music",{{Citation | title = The 50 albums that changed music | url = | publisher = | date = 2006-07-16 | accessdate = 2009-11-22}} and 37th in ''The Guardian'''s 1997 list of the "100 best albums ever", as voted for by a panel of artists and music critics.

Reissues and remastering

In 1979 The Dark Side of the Moon was released as a remastered LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, and in April 1988 on their "Ultradisc" gold CD format. The album was released by EMI on the new compact disc format in 1984. In 1992, the album was re-released as a remastered CD in the box set Shine On. This version was re-released as a 20th-anniversary box set edition with postcards in 1993. Cover design was by Storm Thorgerson, designer of the original 1973 cover. Some have suggested that on later CD pressings a faintly audible orchestral version of The Beatles's "Ticket to Ride" can be heard after "Eclipse", over the heartbeats that close the album. This may have been the consequence of a remastering error. This is not audible on the original vinyl.

The original quadraphonic mix, though commissioned by EMI, was not endorsed by the band. To celebrate the album's 30th anniversary however, an updated surround version was released in 2003. Some surprise was expressed when the band elected not to use the older quadraphonic mix from Parsons (mixed shortly after the original release), and instead chose to have their current engineer James Guthrie create a new 5.1 channel surround sound mix on the SACD format. Guthrie has worked with the band since co-producing and engineering their 1979 release, The Wall, and had previously worked on surround versions of The Wall for DVD-video, and Waters's In the Flesh for SACD. Speaking in 2003, Alan Parsons expressed some disappointment with Guthrie's SACD mix, suggesting that Guthrie was "possibly a little too true to the original mix", but was generally complimentary to the release.

Speaking of the surround sound mix for "On the Run", Parsons said: "After hearing his mix for a while, I think I'm hearing stereo with a bit of surround." He praised the mix for other songs, particularly "The Great Gig in the Sky": "I tip my hat to James for sorting out the correct bits of Clare's vocals. And he has improved on the stereo mix, which is a bit wishy-washy. The stereo is heavy on the Hammond organ, and Clare's a little too far down. In my quad mix, the Hammond is barely there, which shows you I really wasn't being faithful to the stereo mix. The quad sounds pretty good, but James still has the edge. His mix is definitely cleaner, and he's brought Clare out a bit more." This 30th-anniversary edition won four Surround Music Awards in 2003, and has since sold more than 800,000 copies. The cover design was created by a team of designers which again included Storm Thorgerson. The image is a photograph of a custom-made stained glass window, built to match the exact dimensions and proportions of the original prism design. Transparent glass was used in place of the opaque colours of the original, held in place by strips of lead. The idea is derived from the "sense of purity in the sound quality, being 5.1 surround sound ..." The image was created out of a desire to be "the same but different, such that the design was clearly DSoM, still the recognisable prism design, but was different and hence new ..."

The Dark Side of the Moon was also re-released in 2003 on 180-gram virgin vinyl (mastered by Kevin Gray at AcousTech Mastering) and included slightly different versions of the original posters and stickers that came with the original vinyl release, along with a new 30th anniversary poster. In 2007 the album was included in Oh, by the Way, a box set celebrating the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd, and a DRM-free version was released on iTunes.


The success of the album brought previously unknown wealth to all four members of the band; Richard Wright and Roger Waters bought large country houses, and Nick Mason became a collector of upmarket cars. Some of the profits were invested in the production of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Engineer Alan Parsons received a Grammy Award for "best engineered album" for The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973 and would go on to have a successful career as a recording artist. Waters and Gilmour have on occasion downplayed his contribution to the success of the album, but Mason has praised his role. In 2003 Parsons reflected: "I think they all felt that I managed to hang the rest of my career on Dark Side of the Moon, which has an element of truth to it. But I still wake up occasionally, frustrated about the fact that they made untold millions and a lot of the people involved in the record didn't."

The enduring legacy of The Dark Side of the Moon is in its influence on modern music, the musicians who have performed cover versions of its songs, and even in modern urban myths. Its release is often seen as a symbolic point in the history of rock music, and comparisons are sometimes drawn between between Pink Floyd and Radiohead—specifically their 1997 album OK Computer—which has been called The Dark Side of the Moon for the 1990s whereby the two albums share a common theme: the loss of a creative individual's ability to function in the modern world.

Covers and samples

One of the more notable covers of The Dark Side of the Moon is Return to the Dark Side of the Moon: A Tribute to Pink Floyd. Released in 2006, the album is a progressive rock tribute featuring artists such as Adrian Belew, Tommy Shaw, Dweezil Zappa, and Rick Wakeman. In 2000 The Squirrels released The Not So Bright Side of the Moon, which features a cover of the entire album. The New York dub collective Easy Star All Stars in 2003 released Dub Side of the Moon. From the Dark Side of the Moon is a song-by-song "re-imagining" of the album by former October Project vocalist Mary Fahl, but because of the V2 Records label's reorganisation, the recording has not been officially released. The group Voices on The Dark Side released the album Dark Side Of The Moon A Cappella, a complete a cappella version of the album. The bluegrass band Poor Man's Whiskey frequently play the album in bluegrass style, calling the suite Dark Side of the Moonshine. A string quartet version of the album was released in 2004. In 2009 The Flaming Lips announced plans to release a track-by-track remake of the album.

Several notable acts have covered the album live in its entirety: jam-rock band Phish performed a semi-improvised version of the entire album as part their show in West Valley City, Utahmarker.. Progressive metal band Dream Theater have several times covered the album in their live shows.

A range of performers have used samples from The Dark Side of the Moon in their own material. Milli Vanilli used the tape loops from Pink Floyd's "Money" to open their track "Money", followed by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch on Music for the People.

Dark Side of the Rainbow

The Dark Side of the Rainbow, or The Dark Side of Oz are names commonly used in reference to rumours circulated on the Internet since at least 1994—that the Dark Side of the Moon was intentionally designed to function as a soundtrack to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Observers playing the film and the album simultaneously have reported apparent synchronicities, such as Dorothy beginning to jog as the band sings "no one told you when to run". David Gilmour and Nick Mason have both denied a connection between the two works, and Roger Waters has described the rumours as "amusing". Alan Parsons has stated that the film was not mentioned during production of the album.

Track listing


Pink Floyd

Additional musicians


Chart performance

Chart Peak
UK Albums Chart 2
U.S. Billboard 200 1
Australian album chart 11
Belgian album chart (Flandersmarker) 42
Belgian album chart (Walloniamarker) 28
Finnish album chart 10
French album chart 94
Italian album chart 2
Netherlands album chart 30
New Zealand album chart 1
Norwegian album chart 2

Selected album sales

Country Certification Sales Last certification date Comment Source(s)
Argentinia 4× Platinum 240,000+ 1 August 1994
Australia 11× Platinum 770,000+
Austria 2× Platinum 60,000+ 15 May 2003
Canada 2× Diamond 2,000,000+ March 2003
Germany 2× Platinum 400,000+ 1993
Poland Platinum 100,000+ 2003
United Kingdom 9× Platinum 3,956,177 as of 14 June 2009 15 April 2005 Sixth-best-selling album in UK
United States RIAA 15× Platinum 15,000,000+ 6 April 1998 11x Platinum in 1990
United States Soundscan 8,360,000+ Since 1991 – February 2007





Further reading

External links

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