Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ Turns 50


Addison Shepard, Staff Writer

On March 1st, 1973, Pink Floyd released their 8th album. Titled Dark Side of the Moon, the album’s cover was a simple image of light hitting a prism. Now approaching its 50 year anniversary, the album has continued to be widely listened to and gained a reputation as one of the greatest albums ever made.

Dark Side of the Moon has an astounding number of accomplishments. By the time it left the charts after its initial release, Full House was debuting on ABC. It’s still in the Billboard 200 today, with 972 weeks under its belt. Rolling Stone magazine calls it the greatest progressive rock album of all time, as well as one of the best of any genre. 

“The album is groundbreaking, and it’s a musician’s album.” says NAI English teacher Gregory Geibel. “Which means instead of it just being straight-ahead rock or pop at the time, it’s like three level chess.”

Back in the 70s, when vinyls were the prime medium of music consumption, albums were split in half. One half of the songs would be on one side of the record, and the other half would be on the other side. Each side of Dark Side of the Moon is one continuous song. 

Side A starts with a short prelude called “Speak To Me”, which teases the songs coming up. The rest of the side is one song spanning from “Breathe (In the Air)” to “The Great Gig in the Sky”. Side B is also one song, from “Money” to “Eclipse”. This makes the album feel like an ongoing story. Later on in their career, Pink Floyd would take this even further with The Wall, a concept album with a story present throughout.

The album stands out among others of its age and acclaim.  “It’s not an album that sounds ‘dated’ like others might from the 80s or 90s.  It can stand alone.” says Geibel.  “There are things going on that at the time hadn’t been done, musically, thematically, and lyrically.”

“Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” discuss mental health, a topic even more relevant today than in 1973. These were inspired by Syd Barrett, the band’s former frontman who was forced to leave due to his declining mental health . “Time” is about feeling like life has no direction, and “Us and Them” is a cry for peace.

“I think a lot of people find these songs so relatable that they want to listen to them over and over,” Sophomore Madison Cernicky says.  “And I think it being a great album musically helps with that.”

Pink Floyd was, and continues to be, one of the most universal rock bands of all time. Dark Side of the Moon’s iconic cover is one of the most recognizable ever made, no matter how old you are. Their concerts revolutionized the art of live performance, the prime reason we have Super Bowl halftime shows and crazy Grammy’s performances.  “The Great Gig in the Sky” is going viral on TikTok, to be enjoyed by a new generation.

“There are so many artists today who are taking old music and creating new music with it.” Says Cernicky. “It’s a great way to look at the history of where music has been over the years.”