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Run rabbit run: 30 Years of Dark Side of the Moon

A friend just alerted me to one of those facts that make you feel oh, so old.
Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon turned 30 this year.

floyd2.gifI was only eleven when it was released, so I didn't pick up on it until a couple of years later when rummaging through an older cousin's albums. Even then, I just listened to Money because I liked the cash register sounds. Oh yes, I also liked to say the bullshit line real loud because I was under the impression that if you were singing a song, cursing didn't count and God couldn't smite you.

I picked the album up again in high school and it immediately became the soundtrack to our smoke-filled, hazy nights. We sat around debating the whole concept of the record. We had theories and guesses and every lyric was a metaphor for life and death and all the crap that comes in between.

Mary (whose car, a big white boat of a vehicle, was named Floyd) had an egg-shaped chair in her basement that had speakers built into it. Sort of a pre-cursor to today's surround sound, but with an embryonic feel to it. So I would sit there in this womb of a chair, Dark Side playing over and over, the tightly rolled joints and whatever other illicit substances we came up with for the night being passed around and I drifted off into other worlds, worlds where - in the folly of my youth - only Pink Floyd and some nice Panama Red could take me.

I miss listening to music on vinyl because I miss those anticipatory scratches and pops that emitted from the speakers when you first put the needle down.

Crackle. Hiss. Scratch.

Breathe, breathe in the air...

And thus began my journey. Every song held the secret key to life. Every lyric was profound.

Speak to me/Breathe was sort of a desolate song. The words that seemed so deep and meaningful under the cloud of smoke were rather succintly summed up better by the Godfathers many years later: Birth, School, Work, Death.

In fact, the whole album could be summed up in those four words. But unlike my obsession with other bands of the time, Pink Floyd was more than the sum of their poetry. It was the music. My fling with the Doors was based on the words of Jim Morrison; I really didn't care for the music at all. Waters and company changed that. It was the sheer art of the music that lifted me out of that egg chair and into other planes.

The brooding melody of Us and Them often made me feel as if I were drowning in sorrow, as if it were a funeral dirge.

The slow, haunting tune of Brain Damage, the eventual build up of sounds in Eclipse and the feeling as if you had been dropped off of a cliff when the album ended and the pops and scratches faded to black as the needle picked itself up off of the vinyl.

Again, one of us would whisper, and the needle would drop once more and all would be quiet while we each took our own personal musical journeys through the Dark Side of the Moon.

30 years later and the album still holds up well, better than some 30 year old people I know. The lyrics are still relevant, the music is still at once disquieting and soothing, alternating in waves of musical madness that could certainly form the soundtrack to anyone's journey through birth, school, work and death.


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A great album that you really have to listen to on vinyl. It just doesn't sound the same on CD. I remember the first time I listened to it was in college. A dangerous time to listen to such things and to read Hemingway and take it too seriously.

Dark Side of the Moon is the ONLY album that I can remember the time I first heard it.

I was a sophomore in HS &, since I was moving, a few of my friends kidnapped me & threw me a going-away party in the woods.

We dropped a Duraflame into a trashcan, lit a few bombers, and listened to DSotM over & over.

In the 70s, friends didn't let friends listen to anything else when they were stoned.

Dark Side of the Moon was my preview to The Wall. It's still a better album by itself. I had it on my turntable whenever there wasn't a Beatle, Who or Ramones record playing.

I just forced my son to watch The Wall with me. He wasn't all that impressed.

Somehow if you don't sit alone in your dark bedroom, brooding about how unfair life is, listening to the album on headphones a hundred times beforehand, it just looks like a weird movie. But I still got chills when Comfortably Numb started.

I just bought this album (y'know the vinyl type) at a swap meet two years ago, along with a few original Led Zeppelin and Hendrix albums.

I still have my vinyl copy, and a CD for traveling purposes.

If I remember correctly, DSOTM was the very first CD issued by Capitol Records.

I find it profoundly unfair that I have this album on SACD with a great surround sound system in my home, and I don't do drugs anymore.

I remember the sticker on your bedroom door vividly. I once asked you if Pink was his name... Hey - I was only 10... Later when I got Wish You Were Here, I cracked up when I heard him say "Oh by the way, which one's Pink".

Mom (an avid Floyd fan herself) bought me Dark Side on casette for Christmas around 1984. Listened to it, but didnt truly appreciate it until a few years later.

When I come home cold and tired...

Ah yes, I have posted here before about the first time I listened to this masterpiece. I was at a drive-inn with a girl that was way out of my league, that was actually an x-girlfriend of a distant friend. He showed up, in his bug with kick butt stereo, offered me up some cheeba, so I told her I would be back in a few, got into said bug, he had DSOTM going (Hey...have you ever heard this?),,,and I never moved the rest of the night.

They got back together. I bet he really likes that album. I really liked his pot. Everyone was happy. Yay.

I still spin it on vinyl. You are so right (as per usual) about the crackling, hissing and scratching.

We should all celebrate it's birthday by watching the Wizard of Oz sometime in sync with this legendary album. If you have never done this (ya right) you are in for a treat. It still blows my mind every time.

For more on that...

(among many other sites on this subject)

Thanks for reminding me, Michele.

oh my god michele
that makes me feel so $%#^&# old
we dont need no education
we dont need no thought control
that was my anthem in highschool
ok so 30 years ago i was 8
but shit
30 years!

im going for BOTOX
right now
see ya later

Far away across the fields
the tolling of the island bells
calls the faithful to their knees
to hear the softly spoken magic spell.

I've never used drugs, but that album played at significant volume in a dark room while wearing a premium set of headphones is a mind-trip unto itself - one that I have enjoyed on numerous occasions.

But I believe it does sound better on CD than on vinyl.

Ooh! Peat, I almost forgot about that. Here's an even more detailed version at Pink Floyd Online.

that cd is one of the few that physically affects me when i hear it, particularly eclipse, which gives me chills, brings me to tears, and shows me a snapshot of how small we are in the universe. floyd is a rare band, one whose lyrics and music could both stand alone as phenomenal, but are unmatched when combined.

i love this cd, and i wasn't born yet when it was released. my kids love it, and they are only 9, 7, and 3. we play "name that tune" in the car, and my son can identify nearly any floyd song in three bars or less, although i only own DSOTM and the wall (which i will play for them when they are older).

nice tribute to a most deserving work of art.

Of course, there is the whole Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of The Moon thing that just adds to the allure of this album.

Kevin is right. It does sound better on CD. Listen to it with headphones on and you can hear everything.

John & Ken, now on KFI in LA, have a story of growing up wanting to be a DJ; John noticed that about half the songs stations played really sucked. Much later he learned in the trade that those are for girls. I hadn't realized that there are two distinct markets out there.

John must know his stuff. He can identify any song in three notes.

One more ridiculous comment like that and you're out of here Ron. I've had just about enough of your silliness.

Ron said something here about women being inferior to men but I can't remember what it was. Sorry.

You can find some of my comments on Andrea's blog. I believe I left honorably when asked? Check it out.

Perhaps if you engaged in some discourse that didn't involve bringing the "battle of the sexes" into every single comment thread, you'd be welcome.

I'm not trying to be welcome. That's up to you. I write what seems important to me. We agree on it or not.

Kindly restore my comment above, or delete your version; it goes under my name and I don't think it's fair to change it with my name on it.

Andrea left mine, for instance, if you need a role model.

If you want to spend time writing what's important to you, then get your own blog.

I say above that I don't mind off-topic comments, but let's be serious here. You're using my bandwidth to goad me into a fight or to test my comment policy. I don't even think you believe half the things you write.

Wow... that album is a few months older than me :)

Where do you get the idea that I don't believe it? I can defend any of it.

Much comes from Vicki Hearne, Bandit, the chapter ``Beastly Behaviors'' where she goes into testosterone poisoning.

Some from eg. Stanley Cavell Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare the Introduction.

The fact is that men and women are not obsessed by the same delusions and it shows up all over. Here, is shows up in songs. The J&K observation is real.

I'm astounded that it's even controversial.

<getting up, trying not to hear my joints popping>

Andrea, I need another beer. Y'want another Coke?

I got the SACD version a few weeks ago and it is awesome. Fair warning, however--the CD layer on the SACD version is not good. The mastering engineer compressed it, for unknown reasons. Get one of the other remastered CD versions instead (the MFSL and the 25th Anniversary versions show up on eBay a lot).
Or if you have a decent record player, the new vinyl LP version is superb.
First time I heard it I was at a swimming pool with my pals, and I was 13. Ancient history....

When I was 18 I got a CD player for Christmas, and a gift certificate to a record store. I bought DSoTM and Blizzard of Oz as my first two CD's. I still have that DSoTM CD - 17 years later.

Ok, so I'm not one to appreciate covers of legendary albums, but a good friend turned me onto the Easy Star All Star's cover of DSoTM, Dub Side of the Moon. I-shit-you-not, it's a Reggae cover by some very respectful and prominent artists, and its very cool. Check it out, you wont be dissapointed. Just my .02.

Just seeing that album cover started music in my head so loud that I'm having trouble concentrating...

Its nice to see an album older than me that actually DOES live up to its hype... in this case, it actually exceeds it. And I'm sure I'll feel the same when we hit the 50th aniversary release...

"And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon."

My first PF experience was actually with their "Ummagumma" album released in 1969 (but heard 2-3 years later at the tender age of 11), namely: "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict."

I was 16 when it was released and to make it even better, the first unchaperoned concert I ever got to go to was pink floyd during this tour. Saw them in Jersey City at an outdoor arena (Roosevelt Stadium). They had a rocket ship land on stage. To this day, best show I ever saw!!!!!

Joe, you are lucky...

Jim, I heard parts of that reggae thing on NPR - sorry, but I don't share your enthusiasm.

DSoTM is a very fine album, but "Wish You Were Here" is the best ever (only talking about bands). "In The Court of The Crimson King" is a very close second.

Michele, I am older than you:-)

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.

No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
30 years... how did that happen?
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines

Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over,

Thought I'd something more to say.