This is the third of the “50 Albums to Christmas 2019” series.
It is possible that in this day and age of information and music overload where nearly every piece of music recorded is at your disposal, you may not have heard of Dark Side of the Moon or Pink Floyd yet. It is also entirely true (especially in the UK) that everyone older than you will look at you in astonishment if you admit said fact aloud. Or tut while slowly shaking their head. So here are a few simple facts for you about Dark Side and the Floyd.
This is not a review. Dark Side is one of the world’s best ever selling albums with over 45 million sales so far and counting. For comparison’s sake, Taylor Swift’s albums have sold that many combined. At some point, that might not be true so bear in mind that Pink Floyd have actually solde more than 250 million albums to date. Which is quite a few really.
Unlike albums today which are collections of songs generally designed to be played by themselves or in any order, all of Dark Side was recorded on the same tape (yes, tape) with just as much care taken on the segues between the songs as the songs themselves. This sequencing is enforced by the fact that vinyl players don’t have a shuffle button.
In case you were wondering, vinyl LPs are the large black thin discs some people play lossless recordings from on large expensive boxes in their houses called hi-fis. These are becoming more popular again having been succeeded as music format du jour by the compact dics, or CD. CDs can also be found in music shops , are smaller than LPs and are cunningly disguised as variously decorated circular mirrors in a box. Which they are not.
Dark Side is a concept album about the collective pressures of life covering topics such as wealth (Money) , armed conflict (Us and Them), squandered existence (Time) and death (Great Gig in the Sky). One of the reasons it has sold so many copies is because it is genuinely about something that resonates with each new generation of disaffected people. The music’s pretty good too.
In fact, as much as the words are bandied about, this work is genuinely, not facetiously, iconic and revered. Some popular songs are covered by other artists. Dark Side has been covered in its entirety four or five times, as have many of the individual songs, the album cover, and David Gilmour’s guitar tone. Covered - but never bettered. It even has its own set of conspiracy theories developed about it. Which are fun. But not true.
OK 3 wasn’t entirely about Dark Side.
Ok I’m just gabbing on now, but Pink Floyd were one of the last big bands to hold out against putting their back catalogue online. Which means you have no excuse not to listen to it now. Just don’t press shuffle.