The Great Gig in the Sky

This month marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most seminal rock albums of all time: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, which was released in March of 1973.

220px-Dark_Side_of_the_MoonDark Side of the Moon, with its iconic album cover of a prism and rainbow on a black background, holds the American record for most weeks spent on the album charts – 741 weeks. That’s  more than 14 years!  Johnny Mathis had been the previous record holder, at 10 years on the charts. Most major music lists consistently place the album in the top 50 rock albums of all time.

Dark Side became Pink Floyd’s most successful album at more than 50 million copies sold, more than double their hugely successful 1979 rock opera, The Wall.  The album was Pink Floyd’s first attempt at a concept album, loosely following former bandmate Syd Barrow’s decent into mental illness, as later would The Wall.  Interspersed among the lyrical 12-string guitar solos and ethereal synthesizers are snippets of conversation, clocks, helicopters, and of course, the rhythmic banging and chiming of cash registers at the start of Money – an early melodical version of Stomp!, combined with classic rock beats and timeless lyrics.

I received my first copy of the album sometime around 1978 – so long ago I had the album on 8-track!  Now, on CD, it remains perhaps one of my top-20 favorite albums, wonderful for relaxing to or as a background music for writing or painting. My favorite way of listening to it?  With noise-canceling headphones, in total darkness, where the quadraphonic effects bounce around you out of nowhere, the music carries you away, and you lose all track of time.  If you haven’t experienced the album, give this piece of music history a try.  If you have, it’s the perfect chance to reacquaint yourself with a classic.

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