The year 2013 marks the 40th birthday of Pink Floyd’s most popular album: The Dark Side of the Moon. The renowned progressive rock band has delighted millions since it was founded in 1965, but their eighth album was their brightest success. It sold in approximately 50 million copies and remained one of the 200 best-selling music albums in the United States from 1973 to 1988 according to Billboard magazine.
What can explain such a success? The Dark Side of the Moon is more than just a music album. It’s a whole concept. Each side of the album is one piece of non-conventional music with philosophical lyrics. It uses a human voice to describe an emotion without speaking a single word and features music played without its usual constraints. The usage of the voice was so unusual that the singer, Clare Torry, thought her performance had not been successful when she left the recording studio.
Pink Floyd’s album also features tracks of voice recorded from random people, including some staff from the studio. Question cards, with questions such as “Are you frightened of dying” and “Do you think you’re going mad?” were shown to them. Their answers were recorded and a selection of them was used on the album. The questions were based on the various themes of The Dark Side of the Moon such as life, travel, time, death and madness. By doing so, the album pushed boundaries of the usual musical pieces and seduced its listeners.
Forty years later, Pink Floyd is still remembered by everyone it touched. If you are not one of them (too young, perhaps?), I would highly recommend that you take a short break from the usual love songs and discover (or re-discover!) one of the most popular album of all times. You might find that it is still very current.