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“The Dark Side of the Moon” turns 50: the album that made history and made Pink Floyd a legend

Curious destination that marks some February 17. On that day, in 1904, Giacomo Puccini premiered the famous Madame Butterfly at the La Scala Theater in Milan. Almost a decade later, on the same day in 1913, in a New York theater, Thomas Alva Edison performed the first public test of an attempt at sound film: it was a phonograph located at the back of the screen that tried to synchronize image and sound. . The silent cinema, however, would only begin the end of its reign in October 1927, with the premiere of The Jazz Singer. The same February 17, but in 1929, the filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowski was born. So did Chabelo (1935), Vicente Fernández (1940), José José (1948) or Billy Joe Armstrong (1972). Precisely on the same day that the future vocalist of Green Day came into the world, a musical experiment was also born that would decisively influence the rock history.

In front of a group of specialized journalists, Pink Floyd presented the first name that that work received, by the way, more linked to madness than to astronomy. That February 17, 1972, correspondents from The Times, The Sunday Times or Melody Maker had the privilege of hearing for the first time a revolutionary album -the group’s eighth- that was still in the process of being developed, although some colleagues showed they were not prepared. for such a trip. “Musically, there were great ideas, but the sound effects often left me thinking I was inside a bird cage at London Zoo.”, wrote a confused Melody Maker chronicler who even today, if he lives, must be trying to understand the record. Because when “The Dark Side of the Moon” began to turn, our lives also turned. The future and the past.

The ambition of the artistic intention of Pink Floyd it’s hugewrote Derek Jewell of The Sunday Times. “He is so full of understanding and musical questions at the same time!”, commented, for his part, Michael Wale, from The Times, adding that the interpretation of the British band had moved him to tears.

“When “The Dark Side of the Moon” began to turn, so did our lives. Future and past”

Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rock Wright and Nick Mason had already performed some cuts from this album live, with enthusiastic reactions from the public as well. In fact, the album was about to be called “Eclipse”, since another band, Medicina Head, had also named their latest work Dark Side of the Moon -without the “The”-, although without any relation to the musical concepts of his compatriots. Given the commercial failure of this record, however, Pink Floyd he chose to return to the original name. After the release of Meddle, Waters wanted a record with more direct lyrics, with a clearer intention. Themes such as death, the passage of time, ambition, war or madness were dealt with in compositions written, above all, by Waters, although all the members participated in the creative whirlwind of an album that was finally recorded between June 1972 and January 1973 at Abbey Road Studios, with Alan Parsons as responsible engineer. Its launch – which, given the space connotations of his music, could have taken place quietly at Cape Kennedy and be sponsored by NASA – was scheduled for March 1, 1973. The lunatic is on the grass…

Brain damage

And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear/ You shout and no one seems to hear/ And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes/ I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon” (and if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear / You scream and no one seems to hear / And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon) sang the band on Brain Damage, in clear reference to Syd Barrett, the crazed genius who endowed Pink Floyd of his original sound, until the drugs cornered him in a place in his mind from which he could never rise again. With his departure, Waters somehow took the leadership of the group, guiding it on different paths, not so submerged in the lysergic universes of psychedelia, but reaching levels of creativity and musical avant-garde unknown to the vast majority of the contemporaries of he.

It was Syd Barrett who, in 1966, suggested the name of the group -as is known, taken from the name of two legendary bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council-, who influenced what was learned in this genre for the development of new proposals and who led the first recordings of the band. He also bequeathed compositions that caught the attention of both critics and the public: Interstellar Overdrive, Arnold Layne, Astronomy Domine or Lucifer Sam. However, from 1968 it became more and more difficult to keep him in the band. His problems with LSD and apparently undiagnosed schizophrenia led him to erratic and worrying behaviors.

By 1972, Syd Barrett was totally out of the group, and a little out of the world, too. A legend has been told several times: during the recording of the album Wish You Were Here, which also contained a dedication to the lost former leader, a man with a sad face, overweight, hairless and with shaved eyebrows appeared in the studio of recording, saying nothing, sitting in a corner. The musicians, at first, did not recognize him. Shortly after, he disappeared just as he had arrived. Only then did Roger, David, Rick and Nick realize that it was Syd Barrett. The image of him and the shock it caused them were reserved for the main character in The Wall, a kind of Syd taken to the dystopia of a totalitarian universe that drives him crazy. His influence, however, was decisive. Because almost all the music in the world sounds. Syd’s legacy and the work of his ex-colleagues, he does too, but while he provides scents and paints colors yet to be discovered. Breathe… breathe in the air…

waters reloaded

Roger Waters re-recorded The Dark Side of the Moon on his own”. The rumor that was discussed sotto voce in the world of rock, was already confirmed news at the beginning of this month. “I wrote [el álbum]. Let’s get rid of all this shit! Sure, we were a band, there were four of us and we all contributed, but it’s my project and I wrote it.”, Roger Waters recently declared to The Telegraph, confirming this new one-man project. Of course, for David Gilmour and Nick Mason, the surviving members of the group, it must have come as a surprise, since the estrangement between them and Waters is well known. In fact, in recent weeks what Polly Samson, a British journalist and writer and, at the time, Gilmour’s wife, said about Waters on her Twitter account also made headlines: “cries”, This, after some statements by Waters about the war in Ukraine. Gilmour approved of his partner’s post, stating that “every word is provable and true.” Waters’ CMs described the statements, through his official account, as “inflammatory and incorrect.” Of course, and as the tension and divergent opinions once did with the band itself, the situation has divided their fans.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Waters has only had three collaborators on this new album, which could also be titled “The Dark Side of Pink Floyd”: multi-instrumentalist Gus Seyffert, Syrian singer Bedouine and a Baptist minister who plays the Hammond organ. There are still no known criticisms or possible legal reprisals from his former colleagues. However, for any music fan it is difficult to imagine that someone –even Waters- intends to “correct” an album considered a milestone and a musical revolution in itself.

Of course, it is not the first time that the ego? intervenes in a recording already made. Paul McCartney also did it with Let It Be, to remove the exaggerated influence of Phil Spector in the production, but what happened with The Dark Side of the Moon gives rise to a long discussion. Waters considers that the record, despite everything, was not sufficiently recognized or understood in his time. In addition, he says that he added lyrics to some instrumental pieces such as “On the Run”, which will see the addition of a poem that was “revealed” to the musician in a nightmare.

According to Rolling Stone, so far only The Telegraph journalist -and, we imagine, a handful of collaborators- have had access to this new version of the album. Says the magazine, citing the British newspaper: “It has some parts that are ‘in fact very good’. “’Time,’ that young man’s lament for morality, sounds incredible with its mature man’s timbre,” the article describes. “’Breathe’ is masterfully reimagined as a slow, acoustic groove. A country-tinged ‘Money’ could very well belong to Johnny Cash.” An album that began and ended with the sounds of a beating heart, sheathed in a black cover -the work of the Hipgnosis group- with the most famous prism in rock history, it continues its journey in search of a new soul.

In that brilliant 1972, “The Dark Side of the Moon” It was perhaps the best, but not the only great album. It was also successful among the public and critics, as it sold almost 50 million copies around the world. Also published were ‘The rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ (David Bowie), ‘Transformer’ (Lou Reed), ‘Harvest’ (Neil Young), ‘Exile On Main Street’ (The Rolling Stones), ‘Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles! Live!’ (Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles), ‘Foxtrot’ (Genesis), ‘Pink Moon’ (Nick Drake), ‘Close to the Edge’

(Yes) or ‘On the Corner’ (Miles Davis), which leads us to an almost natural question: What records made today could be viewed with similar admiration 50 years from now? Check your Spotify playlists and respond while you enjoy The Dark Side of The Moon and imagine a world without Malumas or Bad Bunnys.

In fact, as the final phrase of Eclipse says, the last cut of the album, pronounced by Gerry O’Driscoll, doorman at Abbey Road studios: “There is actually no dark side to the Moon. In fact, it’s all dark.”.

Source: Elcomercio

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