Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's that time again


Forty years ago today one of the most talked about, analysed, played, sold, hyped, discussed - you choose the adjective - albums was released. I know one person who loathes the album with a passion, well not so much the music as all the hoopla that has surrounded it since its release all those years ago.

'The Floyd' to give them their referential title had been at the forefront of the underground music scene that had been spawned in the 1960's and having gone through their 'pop' phase had produced three or four albums of experimentation which were admired by fans and yet gave no clue as to what would be on their eighth studio album. Dark Side of The Moon would mark the beginning of a new era, gone were the musical doodlings of a group of self indulgent middle class musicians with clearly too much time on their hands. The album Meddle had shown that they good write good 'tunes' - 'One of These Days' still sounds fresh today, whilst at the same time they could go off on one, the second side of Meddle is one twenty four minute track called Echoes. Dark Side of The Moon was the first time since Syd Barrett had left that we actually had a Floyd record with sing-a-long tunes on it.

Much of the credit of the albums sound and ultimate success goes to the engineer Alan Parsons whose role in the recording and attaining of its legendary status cannot be under estimated.  The album is based on Roger Waters idea of things that make people go mad and was called at one point, Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece of Assorted Lunatics.

As long as you don't play it too often the album does reward repeat listenings, fewer these days than in my teenage years. The original vinyl album came with a selection of 'goodies', posters and postcards which remain in a pretty good condition, despite the fact for most of the last ten years I haven't had any medium to play vinyl! When I was at school a friend of mine called Roger Bailey and I would arrive early for double English and perform 'Time' for the class, by the time we got to the classic Claire Torry performance we sounded like a couple of cats being neutered whilst still conscious.

This is a definite lights out, headphones on album, a place to lose yourself for forty two minutes and fifty nine seconds. Of course the album cover itself is one of the most recognisable in the history of music, up there with Mozarts 21st piano concerto (only joking), and on the bands official website over the last few days it has been possible to see a selection of variations on the original Storm Thorgerson design which have been collected and presented in a poster which the band have allowed visitors to download. This is my personal favourite and very topical as it is a tribute to the pop artist style of Roy Lichtenstein currently being reassessed with an exhibition at Tate Modern until the end of May.  

8 comments:

Span Ows said...

Like many (and no doubt abused as knowing nothing) and can happily listen to 'The Great Gig in the Sky' time and again, maybe Clare Torry's vocal gymnastics, not sure.

Paul said...

It's a unique sound, described by somebody as being completely devoid of any lyrical content but none the worse for it.

The Great Gildersleeve said...

Dare I admit...I have never heard this album.

I found out that Smooth Radio was to play the whole album last Friday night at 9pm but then realised I'd miss it as I was at a show watching Richard Digance.

So still haven't heard it!

Paul said...

Ah one of the few Gildy, one of the few.

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