Friday, March 1, 2013

the dark side of the moon

Pink Floyd found their consummate collaborative balance and changed the face of popular music with the sophisticated studio artistry, out-of-this-world sonic brilliance, and broad thematic scope of this mind-blowing masterpiece.  Building on the successful experiments of 'Meddle' the band produced 'The Dark Side of the Moon'  at Abbey Road Studios with engineer Alan Parsons.  The sessions featured David Gilmour on vocals, guitar, synthesizers, and production; Nick Mason on percussion, tape effects, and production, Roger Waters on bass guitar, vocals, synthesizers, tape effects, and production; and Richard Wright on keyboards, vocals, synthesizers, and production; with Dick Parry on saxophone on "Money" and "Us and Them"; Clare Torry on  vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky" and background vocals; and Lesley Duncan, Barry St. John, Liza Strike, and Doris Troy on background vocals.  

Most of the music had been performed live before the band even went into the studio.  Gilmore recalls:    "It began in a little rehearsal room in London. We had quite a few pieces of music, some of which were left over from previous things. The 'On the Run' sequence came in at the very last minute when we were nearly finished recording. We replaced another 'On the Run' sequence which was more of a guitar jam thing, and the little synthesizer piece came along when the synthesizer arrived. Someone turned up with a synthesizer and showed us how to work it, and that came from that. The rest of it, like I say, we were in a rehearsal room and at some point during the proceedings, I don’t remember exactly when it was, Roger came up with the idea of making it a piece about madness and all the other things that it’s about. We did have it fairly completed a long time before we recorded it and in fact, performed it live in America and in England under the title 'Eclipse' long before the record came out...long before it was all recorded."

The underlying theme of madness was inspired by the band's former lead singer Syd Barrett, who had left Pink Floyd after their debut 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn'.  Waters considers:   "There is a residue of Syd in all of this. Syd had been the central creative force in the early days, and so his having succumbed to schizophrenia was an enormous blow. And also, when you see that happening to someone you've been very close friends with, and known more or less your whole life, it really concentrates the mind on how ephemeral one's sensibilities and mental capacities can be. For me, it was very much 'There but for the grace of God go I.' That was certainly expressed in 'Brain Damage'."

The album included snippits of voices from various interviews the band conducted with random people that were around the studio.  Gilmore says:   "This is Roger’s idea. He wanted to use things in the songs to get responses from people. We wrote a series of questions on cards and put them on a music stand, one question on each card, and got people into the studio and told them to read the first question and answer it. Then they could remove that card and see the next question and answer that, but they couldn’t look through the cards so they didn’t really know what the thread of the questions was going to be until they got into it. We interviewed quite a few people that way, mostly roadies and roadies’ girlfriends, and Jerry the Irish doorman at Abbey Road. But we also interviewed Henry McCullough ’cause Paul McCartney and Wings were recording in the other studio at Abbey Road at the time. We did that in number three at Abbey Road, and they were in number two. We also had Paul and Linda McCartney interviewed but they’re much too good at being evasive for their answers to be usable...Things like, 'When did you last hit someone?' and then the next question would be 'Were you in the right?' and 'Would you do it again if the same thing happened?' Another question like, 'What does the dark side of the moon mean to you?' Of course, understanding that 'The Dark Side of the Moon' was not yet the title of the album as far as anyone was concerned. So they were actually asking people, what does the other side of the moon mean? And Jerry the Irish doorman said, 'There is no da’k side o’ de moon really, it’s all da’k.' And stuff like that, when you put it into a context on the record, suddenly developed its own much more powerful meaning."

'The Dark Side of the Moon' was an unprecedented success, going to ninety-four in France; twenty-eight in Belgium; eleven in Australia; ten in Finland; two in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK; and number one in Canada, New Zealand, and the US.  It spent only one week at number one in the US; but remained on the album chart for seven hundred and forty-one consecutive weeks from 1973 to 1988.  It is the third biggest selling album of all time worldwide with more than fifty million copies sold.  

Gilmore:  "I don't think any of us were in any doubt that we were moving in the right direction, and what we were getting to was something brilliant - and it was going to be something more critically and commercially successful than anything we'd done before...I knew that we were moving up a gear; but no one can anticipate the sales and chart longevity of that nature."

Waters:  "With that record Pink Floyd had fulfilled its dream...we'd kind of done it ... We’d cracked it. We’d won the pools. What are you supposed to do after that? 'Dark Side Of The Moon' was the last willing collaboration: after that, everything with the band was like drawing a teeth ... If I'm honest, I have to accept that at that point, I became a capitalist. When you suddenly make a lot of money, you have to decide whether to give it away to poor people or invest it. I decided to give some of it away to poor people and invest the rest. I was faced with that dilemma, coming from the background I did. I could no longer pretend that I was a true socialist, but twenty-five percent of my money went into a charitable trust that I've run ever since. I don't make a song and dance about it. One of the good things about being a capitalist, is that you become a philanthropist, to a certain extent."

Wright:    "It's changed me in many ways, because it's brought in a lot of money, and one feels very secure when you can sell an album for two years. But it hasn't changed my attitude to music. Even though it was so successful, it was made in the same way as all our other albums, and the only criterion we have about releasing music is whether we like it or not. It was not a deliberate attempt to make a commercial album. It just happened that way. We knew it had a lot more melody than previous Floyd albums, and there was a concept that ran all through it. The music was easier to absorb and having girls singing away added a commercial touch that none of our records had."

Mason:  "I think that when it was finished, everyone thought it was the best thing we'd ever done to date, and everyone was very pleased with it, but there's no way that anyone felt it was five times as good as Meddle, or eight times as good as Atom Heart Mother, or the sort of figures that it has in fact sold. It was ... not only about being a good album but also about being in the right place at the right time."

'The Dark Side of the Moon'
full album:

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of The Moon (Full Album) from El Muro De Pink Floyd on Vimeo.

All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

Side one
1. "Speak to Me" Mason Instrumental 1:30
2. "Breathe" Waters, Gilmour, Wright   Lead vocals:  Gilmour 2:43
3. "On the Run" Gilmour, Waters Instrumental 3:30
4. "Time" (containing "Breathe (Reprise)") Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour     Lead vocals:  Gilmour, Wright 6:53
5. "The Great Gig in the Sky" Wright, Clare Torry  Lead vocals:  Clare Torry 4:15
Side two
1. "Money" Waters   Lead vocals:  Gilmour 6:30
2. "Us and Them" Waters, Wright   Lead vocals:  Gilmour 7:51
3. "Any Colour You Like" Gilmour, Mason, Wright Instrumental 3:24
4. "Brain Damage" Waters   Lead vocals:  Waters 3:50
5. "Eclipse" Waters   Lead vocals:  Waters 2:03

classic albums:

Classic.Albums.Pink.Floyd.The.Making.of.The... by selimkalkandelen


'Dark Side of the Rainbow / Dark Side of Oz'
Although Waters finds the rumors that the album was conceived as a soundtrack to 'The Wizard of Oz' "amusing"; the band denies that the syncronicities fans have found were deliberate.  Parsons says that the movie was never mentioned during the production of the album. 

Dark Side of The Rainbow from xRandomVidz on Vimeo.

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