Some Fun Facts About Dark Side of the Moon, Released 40 Years Ago This week

It was March 1, 1973, when Pink Floyd startled everyone by releasing an album that was parsecs better than just about anything they had ever done since forming in 1968.  Dark Side of the Moon would go on to sell more than 40 million copies (a best guess) and define prog-rock, headphone-rock and stoner rock for several generations.

Some facts:

–It spent 741 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album charts from 1973 to 1988. It was only removed from the chart because of a change in rules.

–Can you name the woman wailing on “Great Gig in the Sky?” That’s Clare Torry, a then 22 year-old session vocalist who wasn’t all that keen to work with Pink Floyd.  She performed three takes with the version we hear being a composite of all three.  She was paid £30.  A 2005 lawsuit over royalties went in her favour, giving her a co-writing credit on every copie sold since.

–The laughing maniac heard throughout the album is Peter Watts, the band’s road manager and sound engineer.

–The ringing alarm clocks on “Time” were originally recorded by engineer Alan Parsons for a quadraphonic project and not for the album.  

–The reason you can’t tap your foot to “Money” is because much of it is written in 7/4 time.

–A roadie named Peter “the Hat” Manifold contributed the line about a “short, sharp, shock.”  Dig it? He’s also the guy heard saying “Live for today, gone tomorrow.  That’s me.”

–Other voices on the album are people rounded around Abbey Road.  Roger Waters showed each of them flashcards with questions like “What is your favourite colour?” and their responses were recorded.

–The spoken word passage that begins “I’m not frightened of dying” and the final words “There is no dark side of the moon, really.  A a matter of fact, it’s all dark” was courtesy of Gerry O’Driscoll, the doorman at Abbey Road.

–The line “I don’t know.  I was really drunk at the time” comes from Henry McCullough, a member of Paul McCartney’s band.  McCartney was working in another studio at Abbey Road at the time.

–Finally, you’ve heard about the weird Wizard of Oz synergy, haven’t you?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Some Fun Facts About Dark Side of the Moon, Released 40 Years Ago This week

  • March 5, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I would argue this is the best album of all time and not Sgt Pepper.


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