Saturday, April 28, 1973

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon hit #1

First posted 4/28/2012; updated 3/30/2019.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)
  1. Speak to Me (Mason) [1:16]
  2. Breathe (Gilmour/ Waters/ Wright) [2:44]
  3. On the Run (Gilmour/ Waters) [3:33]
  4. Time/Breathe Reprise (Gilmour/ Mason/ Waters/ Wright) [7:06] (live – 12/10/88, #34 AR)
  5. The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright/Torry) [4:44]
  6. Money (Waters) [6:32] (5/7/73, #13 US, #37 AR)
  7. Us and Them (Waters/ Wright) [7:40] (2/4/74, --)
  8. Any Colour You Like (Gilmour/ Mason/ Wright) [3:25]
  9. Brain Damage (Waters) [3:50]
  10. Eclipse (Waters) [2:04]

Released: March 1, 1973


Charted: March 17, 1973


Sales (in millions): 18.0 US, 3.91 UK, 45.0 world (includes US and UK)


Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, 1 AU, 1 CN


Genre: classic psychedelic/progressive rock


Quotable: “One of the most consistently popular albums of all time.” – Tim Morse, Classic Rock Stories


Review:

Dark Side of the Moon is that rare album to garner astronomical sales…, staggering chart success (a record-setting 14 years+ on the Billboard album chart and “294 weeks on the UK album chart” CA and near-reverential critical acclaim.

No one could have foreseen the impending success based on Floyd’s first five years. They burst out of the gates with 1967’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, an album spearheaded by then-leader Syd Barrett. When he “disappeared into a psychedelic haze” BN and mental instability, the band carved out a new identity, with leanings toward more progressive rock. With Dark Side of the Moon, “Pink Floyd…finally ditch their primal Syd Barrett psychedelia” Q by crafting an album “that is discovered anew by each generation of rock listeners.” AMG

“There's…something reassuringly obscure” SM about the album. “Setting aside [its] historical baggage,” PK “it is fascinating that an album whose central theme is madness” CRS “or things that drive people mad” CA “would become one of the most consistently popular albums of all time.” CRS “The band could hardly be accused of going for populist themes;” SM they tackle “death, violence, and paranoia” SM as well as “alienation, insanity and the tragedy of the human condition.” RV Perhaps because of that, the band received “the kind of cult adoration usually only granted to those whose critical cachet is in direct inverse to their popular appeal.” SM Put another way, “it's a long way from Saturday Night Fever.” SM

“The subtly textured music…evolves from ponderous, neo-psychedelic art rock to jazz fusion and blues-rock before turning back to psychedelia.” AMG “The sound is lush and multi-layered;” RS it's dense with detail, but leisurely paced.” AMG “Pink Floyd doesn’t rush anything; the songs are mainly slow to mid-tempo, with attention paid throughout to musical texture and mood,” AZ consquently “creating its own dark, haunting world.” AMG

“The primary revelation of Dark Side of the Moon is what a little focus does for the band.” AMG As far as previous endeavors went, “there was a lot of self-indulgent nonsense before this album happened along.” CDAtom Heart Mother and Meddle had hinted at Floyd's potential,” Q the latter of which “pointed the way forward with its epic ‘Echoes’ track, but this time the concept would be carried through the entire album.” SM “By condensing the sonic explorations of Meddle to actual songs and adding a lush, immaculate production to their trippiest instrumental sections, Pink Floyd inadvertently designed their commercial breakthrough.” AMG

Dark Side of the Moon isn't as much a concept album as a continuous, masterful” RV “piece of music.” DD ”The success of the album owes more to the cohesiveness of the record as a whole, rather than the strength of any individual songs.” PKDark Side of the Moon isn't ten of the greatest tracks ever written…it's ten tracks that work brilliantly in combination - a whole more than the sum of its parts.” AD


The History:

Initially, Waters came up with “an idea for a song about insanity…during the Meddle sessions. A little later, the group found themselves in Nick Mason’s kitchen discussing the idea of a suite of songs all linked together. The insanity idea was held - madness, death, aging” AD and “Waters wrote a series of songs about mundane, everyday details which aren't that impressive by themselves.” AMG In fact, “they resemble a philosophical treatise much more than the outlook of an emotion-full poet…this is Doctor R. Waters, Ph.D., who has just finished adding rhymes to his latest thesis.” GS Still, “when given the sonic backdrop of Floyd's slow, atmospheric soundscapes and carefully placed sound effects, [the songs] achieve an emotional resonance.” AMG

While “Roger Waters’ [possesses an] almost peerless genius for writing profoundly evocative, yet unforced lyrical metaphors,” RV “the album [also] exemplifies Pink Floyd's musical range and technical virtuosity.” RV “David Gilmour’s “vocals are at their best” PK and his “guitar throughout is inspired, mixing jagged blues playing with atmospheric slide motifs and chords.” SM This “catches the band at its peak -- more musically varied than the spaced-out folkie-experimental music of Floyd's earlier albums, and less prone to Roger Waters' oppressive worldview than later albums.” PK

”Much of the album had been performed live under the title of Eclipse for some time before the Floyd even entered the studio, which accounts for it's instrumental cohesion. It also allowed the band time to experiment with the various segues and moods.” SM

The album “was recorded at the world famous Abbey Road Studio's in London, from June 1972 through to January 1973.” CA “By now the band were acknowledged masters of technology, and they utilised the latest facilities Abbey Road had to offer, ably assisted” SM by “their long-time engineer, Alan Parsons.” CD

“From an audiophile’s standpoint” CRS “technology wise, [Dark Side] was way ahead of it’s time.” CA “Copies…could always be found in hi-fi stores. Because of it's sound production, it was frequently used to demonstrate the latest range of turntables/amps/speakers as they came onto the market.” CA “Cosy couples happy in their new homes rushed out to buy copies…to play on their newly installed state-of-the-art Seventies hi-fi equipment, safe in the knowledge that here was the very best audio quality the world had to offer.” AD The album became “one of the great headphone albums and…the album of choice for a generation of herbal adventurers.” SM

”No previous album boasted such an immaculate production or such a huge load of special effects.” GS “This record is a follow-up to [The Beatles’] Sgt. Pepper with its wide variety of sound effects… and studio trickery” CRS “from stereophonically-projected footsteps and planes flying overhead (‘On the Run’) to a roomful of ringing clocks (‘Time’)” CD to “Money” with its “sampled sounds of clinking coins and cash registers turned into rhythmic accompaniment.” AZ The effects “are impressive, especially when we remember that 1973 was before the advent of digital recording techniques.” AZ

“Further adding to the record's mystique” CD is the “use of disembodied voices;” SM that is, “barely audible spoken passages [that] were sprinkled throughout--a result of hours interviewing random Abbey Road occupants about their views on insanity, violence and death.” CD

“The band would hold up cards with questions…such as ‘When was the last time you hit someone?’ or ‘What do you think of death?’ The most useful answers came from Abbey Road's Irish doorman - who contributed the album's stark final line: ‘There is no dark side of the moon really, matter of fact it's all dark’ - and roadie Roger the Hat, whose manic laughter was particularly apposite. Paul and Linda McCartney also took part, but their answers lacked the spontaneity of the others and weren’t used.” SM The “taped speech fragments may be old hat, but for once they cohere musically.” RC


The Songs:

As for the actual songs, the album kicks off with Speak to Me, a song composed by Nick Mason, which “gives us a good indication of what's to come throughout the rest of the album.” CA

“The screaming that ends ‘Speak to Me’…flows wonderfully” AD into the “sweeping glissando” SM of Breathe. “When David Gilmour finally sings…it's like being pulled up from the bottom of the ocean gasping for air.” RV “Waters rewrote ‘Breathe’ after its appearance on his and avant-garde composer Ron Geesin's score for The Body, a surreal medical documentary.” CD The track is “so laid back and relaxing, you'll be almost horizontal.” CA

“The non-vocal On the Run is a standout with footsteps racing from side to side” RS that “really does give the effect of being chased.” CA The song “evolved in the studio” SM as “an opportunity for the band to dabble and experiment with the (then) new VCS3 Synthesizer.” CA

“As ‘On the Run’ fades out oh so quietly, the clocks and ringing of Time literally leap out and grab your ears and tear them from the side of your head.” AD Pair that with David Gilmour’s “blistering guitar solo” CA and this “fine country-tinged rocker” RS may well be “the highlight track on the album.” CA “’Time’ illustrates one of the leading factors of insanity…Waters’ lyrics point out, ‘You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today / And then one day you find 10 years have got behind you.’” RV

”There's more laid-back stuff on the reprise of ‘Breathe’ before going on to hear a superb vocal performance by session singer Clare Torry, on The Great Gig in the Sky. “She puts everything she's got into her part;” CA she “enriches the already beautiful Rick Wright composition…with some terrific vocal wailing.” AD The song “is spooky; it's glorious perfect music.” AD

On Money, “cash registers rattle and coins chink from left speaker to right speaker on the introduction.” CA The song, which “illuminates humanity's greed behind the fa├žade of charity,” RV features “another excellent…trademark guitar solo” CA from Gilmour and a bass line which is truly “something special.” GS The song “is broadly and satirically played with appropriately raunchy sax playing by Dick Parry,” RS “a long time friend of the band.” CA The song “has had loads of airplay over the years on radio stations all over the world” CA and while it “became a breakthrough hit for the group in the U.S.,” AD there were actually “no singles…taken from the album in the U.K.” AD

”The music to Us and Them…had been kicking around the Floyd camp since 1969.” CA “Originally titled ‘The Violence Sequence,’” CD the song “evolved from a piano piece Rick Wright had written for the soundtrack of Zabriskie Point,” SM “a study of American materialism from a foreigner's perspective.” CD The song “starts off quietly, but builds…into a really big production.” CA The song is also blessed with another “wonderfully-stated, breathy solo” RS from saxophonist Parry.

”The instrumental Any Colour You Like is a fantastic little track that once again uses the synthesizer to maximum effect; it will give your stereo a good testing.” CA

The lyric ”’the lunatic is on the grass’ opens Brain Damage,” AD “complete with manic ramblings in the background.” CA The song “clearly draw inspiration from [Syd Barrett’s] fate as rock’s most celebrated acid casualty.” SM

“Another gem of a track, the superb Eclipse,” CA “sounds like the end of a film, the end of an opera or stage show. It fades out to mirror the sound of a heart beat, the same kind of sound that opened the album.” AD Hence, Pink Floyd conclude their “dark symphony…it's clear that the entire world has gone mad and there may be no hope for anyone.” RV It then wraps up with the aforementioned words of Abbey Road’s doorman: “there is no dark side of the moon really, as a matter of fact it's all dark.”

Dark Side of the Moon was a benchmark record…[it] changed things considerably for Pink Floyd.” CD “The enormous success…was a double-edged sword…the band suddenly found itself playing football stadiums to huge crowds…Creatively, it almost finished them. They briefly toyed with the idea of making an album using nothing but household objects, which must have enthralled their record company.” SM

“Pink Floyd may have better albums,” AMG but “when it comes to their best album, however defined, it's just too hard to avoid Dark Side of the Moon. Sure, its insights are probably more meaningful to stoned teenagers with headphones than to adults listening carefully to the lyrics. But…it still makes for a consistently enjoyable listening experience.” PK “No other record defines them quite as well as this one.” AMG Dark Side of the Moon is that rare album to garner astronomical sales (45 million worldwide, making it one of the top three best-selling albums of all time), staggering chart success (a record-setting 14 years+ on the Billboard album chart and 294 weeks on the UK album chart), CA and near-reverential critical acclaim.


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Monday, April 2, 1973

April 2, 1973: The Beatles released two compilation albums

Originally posted March 27, 2008. Last updated September 15, 2018.

Beatles Compilations

These are some of the most prominent Beatles collections released over the years.

  1. 1962-1966 (aka “The Red Album”)
  2. 1967-1970 (aka “The Blue Album”)
  3. 1

Click here to see all the album tracks featured on the above collections.


Genre: pop/early rock


Related DMDB Link(s):

The Beatles: 1962-1966 (aka “The Red Album”)

Recorded: Recorded: 1962-1966


Released: April 2, 1973


Sales (in millions): US: 7.5, UK: 0.6, IFPI: --, World: 30.0


Peak: US: 3, UK: 3, Canada: 4, Australia: 9

Awards:

Review:

“Assembling a compilation of the Beatles is a difficult task, not only because they had an enormous number of hits, but also because singles didn’t tell the full story; many of their album tracks were as important as the singles, if not more so.” E-R Of course, there’s also the matter that all of the Beatles individual albums are essential enough that once you’ve gathered them up, is there any need for a compilation?

Well, yes. Compilations are targeted at the more casual fan. Of course, when the Beatles released not one, but two double-album compilations on the same day in 1973, it was hard to guess who it was for. A four-album greatest hits is a bit hefty for a casual fan. However, at that time, many of these songs had not been released on any Beatles’ albums, so the two sets were pretty near must haves.

“The double-album 1962-1966, commonly called The Red Album, does…surprisingly well [at] hitting most of the group’s major early hits and adding important album tracks like You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, and In My Life. Naturally, there are many great songs missing from the 26-track 1962-1966, and perhaps it would have made more sense to include the Revolver cuts on its companion volume, 1967-1970, yet The Red Album captures the essence of the Beatles' pre-Sgt. Pepper records.” E-R

The Beatles: 1967-1970 (aka “The Blue Album”)

Recorded: 1967-1970


Released: April 2, 1973


Sales (in millions): US: 8.0, UK: 0.6, IFPI: --, World: 29.8


Peak: US: 11, UK: 2, Canada: 3, Australia: 8

Awards:

Review:

“Picking up where 1962-1966 left off, the double-album compilation 1967-1970, commonly called The Blue Album, covers the Beatles’ later records, from Sgt. Pepper through Let It Be. Like The Red Album, The Blue Album contains a mixture of hits, including singles like Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, and Revolution that were never included on an LP, plus important album tracks like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, A Day in the Life, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Come Together. Like its predecessor, 1967-1970 misses several great songs, but the compilation nevertheless does capture the essence of the Beatles’ later recordings.” E-B

The Beatles: 1

Recorded: 1962-1970


Released: November 14, 2000


Sales (in millions): US: 12.41, UK: 3.23, IFPI: 9.0, World: 31.5


Peak: US: 18, UK: 19, Canada: 15, Australia: 19

Awards:

Review:

1962-1966 and 1967-1970 effectively serve as the Beatles’ box set, albeit focusing on the big hits and single-only releases and not rarities or alternate recordings (that would come on the three-volume, six-disc Anthology series). However, “there was [still] a gap in the Beatles’ catalog…all the big hits weren’t on one tidy, single-disc compilation. It’s not the kind of gap you’d necessarily notice – it’s kind of like realizing you don’t have a pair of navy blue dress socks – but it was a gap all the same, so the group released The Beatles 1 late in 2000, coinciding with the publication of their official autobiography, the puzzlingly titled Anthology.” E-1

“The idea behind this compilation is to have all the number one singles the Beatles had, either in the U.K. or U.S., on one disc, and that's pretty much what this generous 27-track collection is.” E-1 Of course, one can’t help but notice that 27 cuts makes for exactly half of the output on the 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 compilations – and yet those collections were spread out over a total of four discs.

“It’s easy, nay, necessary, to quibble with a couple of the judgment calls” E-1 not only in how the Beatles compilations were packaged, but what songs made it and what didn’t. “Please Please Me should be here…and it’s unforgivable to bypass Strawberry Fields Forever.” E-1 Besides, there’s been a long standing debate about whether or not “Please Please Me” may have, in fact, deserved #1 status in the U.K. and “Strawberry Fields Forever” was the B-side of a #1 hit (Penny Lane) and this collection included other B-sides of #1 hits (Something and Eleanor Rigby) that technically were B-sides and didn’t achieve #1 status on their own. Still, “there’s still no question that this is all great music.” E-1

After all, “there is a bit of a rush hearing all these dazzling songs follow one after another. If there’s any complaint, it’s that even if it’s nice to have something like this, it’s not really essential. There’s really no reason for anyone who owns all the records to get this too – if you’ve lived happily without the red or blue albums, you’ll live without this. But, if you give this to any six or seven year old, they’ll be a pop fan, even fanatic, for life. And that’s reason enough for it to exist.” E-1

Album Tracks – All Collections

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Check out the DMDB Beatles’ singles page for a complete singles discography.


Disc 1 (1962-1966):

  1. Love Me Do (10/5/62, #1 US, #17 UK) 1
  2. Please Please Me (9/62, #3 US, #2 UK)
  3. From Me to You (4/18/63, #41 US, #1 UK) 1
  4. She Loves You (8/29/63, #1 US, #1 UK) 1
  5. I Want to Hold Your Hand (11/29/63, #1 US, #1 UK. 4x platinum single) 1
  6. All My Loving (3/28/64, #45 US)
  7. Can’t Buy Me Love (3/26/64, #1 US, #1 UK, 3x platinum single) 1
  8. A Hard Day’s Night (7/16/64, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  9. And I Love Her (7/20/64, #12 US)
  10. Eight Days a Week (2/15/65, #1 US, gold single) 1
  11. I Feel Fine (12/3/64, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  12. Ticket to Ride (4/15/65, #1 US, #1 UK) 1
  13. Yesterday (9/25/65, #1 US, #8 UK, gold single) 1

Disc 2 (1962-1966):

  1. Help! (7/29/65, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  2. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away (1965)
  3. We Can Work It Out (12/9/65, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  4. Day Tripper (12/9/65, #5 US, #1 UK. B-side of “We Can Work It Out”) 1
  5. Drive My Car (1965)
  6. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (1966)
  7. Nowhere Man (3/5/66, #3 US, gold single)
  8. Michelle (1966)
  9. In My Life (1966)
  10. Girl (1966)
  11. Paperback Writer (6/11/66, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  12. Eleanor Rigby (8/11/66, #11 US, #1 UK. B-side of “Yellow Submarine”) 1
  13. Yellow Submarine (8/11/66, #2 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1

Disc 1 (1967-1970):

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever (2/23/67, #8 US, #2 UK. B-side of “Penny Lane”)
  2. Penny Lane (2/23/67, #1 US, #2 UK, gold single) 1
  3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/ (1967)
  4. /With a Little Help from My Friends (9/16/78, #71 US, #63 UK)
  5. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (1967)
  6. A Day in the Life (1967)
  7. All You Need Is Love (7/12/67, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  8. I Am the Walrus (11/29/67, #56 US)
  9. Hello Goodbye (11/29/67, #1 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  10. The Fool on the Hill (1967)
  11. Magical Mystery Tour (12/13/67, #2 UK - EP)
  12. Lady Madonna (3/20/68, #4 US, #1 UK, platinum single) 1
  13. Hey Jude (9/4/68, #1 US, #1 UK, #41 AR. 4x platinum single) 1
  14. Revolution (9/4/68, #12 US. B-side of “Hey Jude”)

Disc 2 (1967-1970):

  1. Back in the U.S.S.R. (7/10/76, #19 UK)
  2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1969)
  3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (11/20/76, #49 US, #39 AC)
  4. Get Back (4/23/69, #1 US, #1 UK. 2x platinum single) 1
  5. Don’t Let Me Down (5/10/69, #35 US. B-side of “Get Back”)
  6. The Ballad of John and Yoko (6/4/69, #8 US, #1 UK, gold single) 1
  7. Old Brown Shoe (1969)
  8. Here Comes the Sun (1969)
  9. Come Together (10/18/69, #1 US, #4 UK, #25 AR. 2x platinum single) 1
  10. Something (10/18/69, #3 US, #4 UK, #17 AC. B-side of “Come Together”) 1
  11. Octopus’s Garden (1969)
  12. Let It Be (3/14/70, #1 US, #2 UK, #1 AC. 2x platinum single) 1
  13. Across the Universe (1970)
  14. The Long and Winding Road (5/23/70, #1 US, #2 AC, platinum single) 1

1 These songs appeared on the single-disc compilation, Beatles 1.


Review Source(s):