7 Things You Knew About ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ But Were Too Stoned to Remember
Put on your giant headphones, turn on the black light you bought at Spencer’s, sit back in your bean bag chair and let that thought sink in: 50 years, man. Far out.
In honor of the occasion, we’re going to remind you of seven things you used to know about Dark Side of the Moon before you succumbed to the banality of modern life.
1. It Sold Hundreds if Not Millions of Copies.
Dark Side of the Moon spent over 14 consecutive years on the Billboard Top 200. It’s the best-selling album of the 1970s and with over 45 million copies sold, it’s No. 4 on the best-selling albums of all time. It’s certified 14 times platinum in the U.K. Basically, everyone owns this album. You might even own several reissues on various obsolete audio formats. You can soon buy one more:
2. It’s Not to Be Confused With the Album of the Same Name by Medicine Head.
What? You don’t remember Medicine Head, the British blues/rock band that recorded the 1972 album Dark Side of the Moon? Pink Floyd was going to change the name of their new album to Eclipse, until the Medicine Head record faded into obscurity and there was no longer any concern about using their original title.
3. We Have Monty Python and the Holy Grail Because of Dark Side of the Moon.
Pink Floyd members watched a lot of Monty Python’s Flying Circus during the recording of this album. So when the Monty Python comedy troupe couldn’t conjure up the cash to make Holy Grail, the band used some of their Dark Side earnings and helped finance it. So one masterpiece lent itself to the creation of another. The Black Knight always triumphs!
4. You Still Have That Cover on a Poster/T-Shirt Somewhere.
Pink Floyd made SCIENCE! cool with the famous Dark Side cover and its profoundly simple yet complexly cosmic image of a beam of light passing through a triangular prism and refracted into the rainbow spectrum. The cover was created by artists and designers of Hipgnosis, which has made some of the most iconic images in rock music. No doubt you had this cover on a T-shirt and wore it down to the bare threads, or you had a poster of it adorning the walls of your apartment until your spouse decided that the decor should be less Pink Floyd and more Pottery Barn.
5. The Album Title Is Astronomically Incorrect.
Much to the dismay of astrophysicists the world over, the fact that the album is called Dark Side of the Moon does not mean there actually is such a thing. SCIENCE! explains why:
If you jack up the volume near the end of the final track, “Eclipse,” you’ll hear Abbey Road Studios doorman Gerry O’Driscoll say, “There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.” Woah.
6. Naomi Watts’ Dad Does Some of the Background Chatter.
Speaking of all that random speaking that appears throughout the album, Pink Floyd had some standard questions and recorded interviews with a number of people to grab these sound bites. Road manager and sound engineer Peter Watts, the late father of actress Naomi Watts, can be heard cackling on two tracks. Roadie Chris Adamson contributed the line “I’ve been mad for fucking years – absolutely years.” Henry McCullough of the band Wings contributed the eminently quotable “I don’t know, I was really drunk at the time.”
7. The Wizard of Oz Thing Is Worth Trying Once.
One of my sons’ classmates, age 12-ish, is a big film buff and mentioned that he dislikes The Wizard of Oz movie but has yet to watch it synced up with Dark Side of the Moon. I was happy to know that this lore is still making its way to the kids these days. As the “Dark Side of the Rainbow” legend has it, playing The Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon simultaneously will reveal all sorts of harmonious cosmic conjunctions between the events of the film and the lyrics and music of the album. My roommates and I did this in the mid 1990s, and while there were a few interesting moments, it remains as one of the most overrated cultural experiences I’ve ever had. I have a feeling you could sync Oz up with Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required and get your mind equally blown. Not that I’d ever recommend such a thing.