Pink Floyd has sold over 250 million records, and “The Dark Side of the Moon” is fourth in the list of worldwide bestsellers, after Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, and the soundtrack to the film “The Bodyguard”. Its iconic front cover, with light refracting from a triangular prism, was created by the graphic designer Storm Thorgerson. There are only six colours, as it was thought that indigo was too similar to the black background of the album. Nowhere on the front cover, back cover or the spine does it say “Pink Floyd” or “The Dark Side of the Moon”.
Speak to Me: the opening track, the bass is the human heart, a metaphor for life. A roadie begins “I’ve been mad for fucking years”, setting the scene for the album’s bleak tone.
Breathe in the Air: is about the stresses and strains of everyday life, with the last, depressing line, “You race towards an early grave.”
On the Run: this track was performed on a new synthesizer and featured an airport PA message. It was used in the NBA in Michael Jordan’s era.
Time: concentrates on the consequences of not líving life to the full — “You fritter and waste the hours ... waiting for someone or something to show you the way.” The track also has one of the most famous lyrics in rock music: “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.”
The Great Gig in the Sky: this song about mortality, features the incredible vocals of Clare Torry, who received just £30 for her contribution. She later sued the band for 50 per cent of the royalties.
Money: with its famous guitar solo, mocks greed and consumerism: “New car, caviar, four-star daydream/Think I’ll buy me a football team/I’m in the high-fidelity, first class travelling set/And I think I need a Learjet”.
Us and Them:mocking the idea that everything in life is black or white, the song says there can be more choices — not just ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Any Colour You Like: the final instrumental on the album — with no singing or talking — the song seems to be about life’s lack of choices.
Brain Damage: is a brutal song about isolation, paranoia and mental breakdown, but there is also empathy and solidarity: “And if your head explodes with dark foreboding too /I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon/The lunatic is in my head.”
Eclipse: the final song features the word ‘all’ twenty times and ‘you’ eighteen times! The ‘moon’ — dangerous ideas — conquers optimism at the end.
The Dark Side of the Moon: 50th Anniversary