Welcome back to Viva La Vinyl, Music Feeds‘ bi-monthly record club where we kick back with a classy Merlot and have ourselves a yarn about some of the iconic albums that every vinyl lover should own.
This time around, we’re un-sleeving yet another timeless classic — Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side Of The Moon.
It’s appropriate timing, too, since the solar eclipse which just captivated the US has seen the legendary album surge back into the charts, with its sales ballooning by a whopping 160 per cent and hitting #1 on iTunes US according, thanks to sky-gazers wanting the perfect soundtrack to witness the moon block out the sun.
Here’s why The Dark Side Of The Moon is a deadset must-have for any self-respecting vinyl collector’s record crate, and not just in the event of a once-in-a-century celestial phenomenon.
If you need a quick refresher, The Dark Side Of The Moon has seen 44 revolutions around the sun since its release back in ’73. The self-produced record was Pink Floyd’s eighth, but it became the band’s crowning achievement. In fact, it became the crowning achievement of the entire prog rock genre, scoring a level of commercial success and pop cultural influence unmatched by almost any other album.
Dark Side hit #1 on the Billboard album charts immediately after its release and continued to chart for a batshit insane 821 weeks — from 1973 all the way through to 1988. It remains one of the best selling albums of all time, coming in at #3 after Michael Jackson’s Thriller and AC/DC’s Back In Black, and it’s been named on more ‘Greatest Albums Of All Time’ lists than we can bloody well name.
Pink Floyd used some of their massive profits from Dark Side to fund the production of Monty Python’s classic flick The Holy Grail.
Unlike other top-selling LPs, Dark Side wasn’t an album of singles, and actually only ever charted two hits — ‘Money’ and ‘Time’. But those classics are far from the disc’s only musical highlights. The lustrous cinematic soul requiem that is ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’, the haunting glam symphonia of ‘Brain Damage’ and the paranoid instrumentation of ‘On The Run’ are all noteworthy musical moments, but it would be sacrilege to try to break this record down into its individual parts. Dark Side is a concept album, meant to be enjoyed altogether as a whole.
The Dark Side Of The Moon‘s impact on music has been immeasurable. It was a groundbreaking concept album and a game-changing moment in rock history. The way Pink Floyd articulated their reveries on the mundanity and madness of daily life with such interstellar musical scope — exploring new frontiers of art rock, jazz fusion, blues, soul and psychedelia — influenced generations of great bands to come, from Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins to Erykah Badu and Cut Copy. And who could forget the Flaming Lips and friends’ track-for-track Dark Side covers project?
But its legacy also transcends the musical. Pink Floyd’s seminal album has become a pop cultural touchstone, soundtracking countless planetarium light shows, spawning its own urban myths (see ‘Dark Side Of The Rainbow’ below), inspiring numerous collisions with TV and movies (such as Krusty the Clown’s Dark Side of the Moonpie) and of course its ubiquitous artwork, which continues to live on thanks to society’s obsession with retro T-shirts, and a whole new generation of memes.
Finally, as previously mentioned, right now, in the year 2017, the iconic album has surged to chart-topping cultural prominence once again — 44 years after its release — thanks to something as simple as a solar eclipse. Yep, it’s legacy will very likely last as long as there’s life on this planet.
Why Own It On Vinyl?
If you’re a vinyl head, then this one’s an absolute no-brainer, and you can pick it up right here.
From its tripped-out instrumentals and lush soundscapes, to its Alan Parsons-led studio innovations and intricately woven sound effects (like the heartbeat at the start of ‘Speak To Me’, the clock cacophony at the start of ‘Time’ or the coin-dropping, till-clanging jangle that kicks off ‘Money’), to its emotionally wrought themes of madness, greed and death; the dark, haunting world of Dark Side comes to life on vinyl. Many a life-changing revelation has been found within its grooves.
Best Enjoyed With…
A) A glass of wine and a profound existential crisis
B) The Wizard Of Oz (Dark Side syncs up perfectly with the iconic 1939 Judy Garland film, and conspiracy theory-loving fans reckon Pink Floyd may have planned this. Go on, drop the needle after the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion’s third roar and see the #DarkSideOfTheRainbow for yourself)
C) A solar eclipse. Sadly, Aussies will have to wait until the year 2028 for that to happen, but that’s no reason not to be prepared well in advance.
In the immortal words of Leonard Nimoy, “The cosmic ballet goes on…”
Browse the full Viva La Vinyl catalogue and start beefing up your own collection right here.