By Jim McAllister
Maybe it is because Pink Floyd reminds me of my favorite group, The Electric Light Orchestra, with their blend of soft and hard stuff, that I feel that DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is the best album to come down the pike. Pink Floyd simply put all the correct pieces together with this album and like ELO with EL DORADO, The Beatles with SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEART’S CLUB BAND and The Who’s TOMMY, they pulled out all the stops in concept album production with DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1973) followed later by THE WALL (1979). Pink Floyd had been around for eight years when DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was released on March 24, 1973. At that time there was considerable disillusionment in the world with the frailty of life being exposed through the King and Kennedy killings of 1968 and the casualties of Vietnam. The conceptuality of the album was a look at life and death and the faults of humanity in between. When you listen you will feel that you are listening to one solid block of music but it is actually 9 different tracks brought together with almost unrecognizable bridges. Leading off is "Speak to Me/Breathe" representing the start of life, gradual insanity with "Brain Damage" and finally death with "Eclipse". In between is "Time", discussing how fast life goes, "On the Run" represents escape, "The Great Gig in the Sky" carries religious overtones, "Money" represents greed, "Us and Them" is about war, and "Any Colour You Like" is basically an instrumental bridge between "Us and Them" and "Brain Damage". Running time for the whole album is 42:57. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON incorporates the use of the then new concept of electronic music combined with classic blues/rock. It also used the combination of natural and industrial sounds (concrete) for extra enhancement of some of the cuts. "Time", Money", and "Us and Them" hit the pop charts with "Money" becoming a best seller at number 13. Although all three went well over the established 3 minute length for pop songs, they received plenty of play on FM radio with edited versions used on some stations. Thanks to The Beatles’ "Hey Jude" in the 1960's, the three minute barrier was pretty much gone by 1973. The thing I remember the most about "Time" was the opening montage of several alarm clocks ticking and ringing. A disc jockey in Kansas City (Ron Brothers of KUDL-FM) used that beginning on his morning drive show to wake me many times!