It’s a quite night with a chill still holding in the air. My wife is at her mothers, I have the house to myself for the evening. A good time to put life on pause for a few hours. I thought to myself what do I enjoy, what has relaxed me in times gone by… The companionship of a good dog has always brought me comfort so I brought Tarrna in, after a little bit of playtime she settles down beside me, content with my hand on her back. The smooth creamy taste of an Irish Stout for some reason gives me the feeling that everything will be OK so I opened a Guinness, I poured it quickly into a pint glass allowing the thick foam to build. I could have sat there on the floor for the next few hours feeling the warmth of Tarrna’s head laying across my leg and sipping the creamy brew till I decided to go to bed, letting the world chart its course without me.
Still my mind began to wonder, thoughts of what I had to do tomorrow, thought of what’s going on at work, and thoughts of the daily upheavals I’m exposed to continue to surface. I needed just a touch of a distraction to occupy my thoughts, just a little something to lead me to the moment of solitude I was seeking, I needed a bit of music. My music collection is quite extensive and varied, ranging from the pounding rhythms of Aerosmith, the classics Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven, to the twang of Hank Williams (Sr. and Jr.), the rhythm blues of Robert Johnson and on and on. As I scrolled through looking for just the right tone, the right mood, I came across the familiar picture of a prism being struck on one side by a single intense beam of light while emitting a rainbow of color from the other side, it was Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon.
Released in March 1973, the music is 40 years old now. I thought back to when I was very young, putting the vinyl album on the little record player in my room, listening to the mixture of sound effects spliced with the electronic synthesized arrangements’ of Richard Wright’s keyboard, the bluesy notes from David Gilmore’s Guitar, the primal beat of Nick Mason on the drums and all being linked with the subtle rhythm of Rodger Waters on bass guitar. The music for the evening was selected and I drifted off to a simpler time, if but for a little while.
Dark Side of the MoonSpeak To Me / Breath In The Air (4:00) This two part arrangement starts with dizzying sound effects building then going directly into the haunting drawn out sound of Gilmore’s lap steel guitar, the vocals are like a sirens call beckoning, smooth and reassuring.
On The Run (3:33) A repetitive volley of synthesized effects fused with clips of nondescript vocals. A sound version of the rush and stress of life. As harsh as it begins, it maintains its energy throughout to an explosive end.
Time (7:06) The ticking of clocks builds to a defining crash of bell and alarms only to subside into ebb and flow of drums and guitars that take a hurried pace then just as suddenly dipping to a peaceful loll. The vocals tell a story of time passing and of years quickly lost. It almost hits a little close to home… one of my favorites.
The Great Gig in the Sky (4:44) Operatic, mixed with a bit of the early Floyd psychedelic , a female voice (Clare Torry) leads this arrangement in a hypnotic journey. I picture a building storm at sea, the crashing waves as the storm tightens its grip, then picture its passing and the gentle rocking calm that follows. Just close your eyes and enjoy… The Great Gig in the Sky
Money (6:32) A staple on Classic Rock stations still, the tale of greed and envy could come out of today’s headlines “MONEY… Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie”
Us And Them (7:40) This is the “ONE”… If I were told I could have only one jewel from this box of gems it would be this one. Beginning with an alluring combination of keyboard and saxophone followed by the vocals of David Gilmore, feels like a warm blanket of sound is being draped over you. The warmth gives way to a powerful choirs but quickly returns to the comfortable warm blanket. This track sets the tone for the finish of the album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_Yayz5o-l0
Any Colour You Like (3:25) An instrumental continuation of Us and Them with more synthesized lead and a bit of a chance for Gilmore to showcase his guitar greatness.
Brain Damage (3:50) The music is inviting and whimsicle, you could almost picture a child dancing around on a playground but the dark story being told by Roger Waters lyrics soon commands your attention. This dark story ended up being a glimpse of what would follow on the next few albums. Dark… but powerful, the loss of Syd Barrett from the band due to mental illness had left its mark… the loss had left its scars…
Eclipse (2:04) A perfect closing to the journey this album took, the pace seems to quicken as voice after voice joins the choirs only to fade into the sound of a single beating heart that too, fades into silence.
Upon release, Dark Side of the Moon topped Billboard’s Top LP chart and remained on the chart for 741 weeks (1973-1988) selling well over 50,000,000 copies (DSotM is still ranked #1 for consecutive weeks on the chart, the next closest LP spent 490 weeks on the chart). Rolling Stone Magazine has it listed at #43 in its list of “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”. I would have ranked it a bit higher not only for the music and cutting edge recording techniques used by Alan Parsons, but also for the influence it had on generations of bands that followed.
Pianist/Keyboardist/Singer/Songwriter, passed away 15, Sept. 2008
Singer/Songwriter, the founder and original inspiration for Pink Floyd, passed away 7, July 2006.
I know some of you may have been looking forward to my usually critical stories on political figures and their egregious behaviors and activities… but even I have to step away from their lunacy once & awhile, and wallow in my own.
“See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon”