Saturday, April 28, 1973

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

Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd

Released: March 1, 1973

Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, 16 CN, 11 AU

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

Genre: classic psychedelic/progressive rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Speak to Me (Mason) [1:16]
  2. Breathe (Gilmour/ Waters/ Wright) [2:44] (3 CL)
  3. On the Run (Gilmour/ Waters) [3:33]
  4. Time/Breathe Reprise (Gilmour/ Mason/ Waters/ Wright) [7:06] (2/4/74, 1 CL; live – 12/10/88, 34 AR)
  5. The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright/Torry) [4:44] (13 CL)
  6. Money (Waters) [6:32] (5/7/73, 13 US, 37 AR, 1 CL)
  7. Us and Them (Waters/ Wright) [7:40] (2/4/74, 2 CL)
  8. Any Colour You Like (Gilmour/ Mason/ Wright) [3:25] (26 CL)
  9. Brain Damage (Waters) [3:50] (1 CL)
  10. Eclipse (Waters) [2:04] (1 CL)

Total Running Time: 43:09

The Players:

  • Roger Waters (bass, vocals)
  • David Gilmour (vocals, guitar)
  • Nick Mason (drums, percussion)
  • Richard Wright (keyboards)


4.664 out of 5.00 (average of 30 ratings)

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

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

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

“Speak to Me/Breathe”

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

“On the Run”

“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

“Breathe (Reprise)/The Great Gig in the Sky”

”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

“Us and Them”

”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.

“Any Colour You Like”

”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

“Brain Damage/Eclipse”

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

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/22/2008; last updated 8/21/2021.

Saturday, April 21, 1973

Tony Orlando & Dawn hit #1 with “Yellow Ribbon”

First posted 12/9/2020.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree

Tony Orlando & Dawn

Writer(s): L. Russell Brown, Irwin Levine (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 3, 1973

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 11 HR, 12 AC, 14 UK, 12 CN, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 1.0 UK, 6.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 24.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” was based on a true story. A man who had been in prison for three years for writing bad checks wrote a letter to his wife before he was released. He asked her to tie a yellow ribbon around the oak tree in their hometown’s city square if she still loved him. When the bus taking him home pulled into White Oak, Georgia, the passengers cheered and the man cried at the sight of a yellow ribbon around the tree. BR1

In 1971, newspaper columnist Peter Hammill wrote a piece called “Going Home” for the New York Post which was a slight variation on the story, WK which apparently was a folk story which had floated around in different versions for decades. SF After it was reprinted in Reader’s Digest in 1972 and aired as an ABC-TV movie starring James Earl Jones, L. Russell Brown suggested to his songwriting partner Irwin Levin that they write a song about the incident. Brown said the song was based on a story he heard about a soldier returning home from the Civil War. WK

The tradition does, in fact, date back to a 19th-century tradition of women wearing yellow ribbons in their hair to represent their devotion to significant others serving in the U.S. Cavalry. WK The symbol became widely known in civilian life in the ‘70s as a reminder to loved ones in jail or the military that they would be welcomed home upon their return. WK The song saw a revival when the American hostages in Iran were freed in 1981 after 444 days. Coast-to-coast, people tied yellow ribbons around trees to welcome them home. BR1

Producers Hank Medress and Dave Appell brought the song to Tony Orlando, Telma Hopkins, and Joyce Wilson of Dawn. Orlando “thought it was corny” and didn’t want it on the next album. However, he said, “I kept singing it around the house” BR1 and noted that Hank saw the song as “a nice sature of the American dream, that it gently kids the fact that we love stories about turmoil, lyrics with suspense, doubt about a happen ending, as long as we know we are gonna get the happy ending in the last line.” BR1

The song made it to the top 10 in ten countries, topping the charts in eight of them. WK It is the second most-recorded of the rock era (only behind the Beatles’ “Yesterday”) with over a thousand cover versions. BR1

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Tony Orlando
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 332.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia