Pink Floyd this weekend. Most of what I have been running on the site since the start has been Pink Floyd of the Syd Barrett era- an era which, admittedly I am partial to. And after that, Pink Floyd of the post-Syd Barrett/picking up the pieces era. But I haven’t run any Pink Floyd concerts or sessions from this pivotal period; the Dark Side of The Moon era, the period which spelled a distinct game-changer for the band, and certainly ushered in one of the most influential and important periods of the bands career.
Often referred to as “Pink Floyd At The BBC” because this concert was broadcast shortly after it was performed, on November 16, 1974 at the legendary Wembley Empire Pool in London. It was issued commercially in Japan via EMI’s Tokyo affiliate Toshiba Records in 2011. So it’s been available to fans and collectors for a while.
But in the event you haven’t heard about this performance, or are coming to discover Pink Floyd just recently (a lot are), this concert will give you some idea of what the band were like during this milestone period.
Here is a snapshot assessment of the era and the initial reactions to the album, as presented by Pink Floyd’s Wikipedia page:
Pink Floyd recorded The Dark Side of the Moon between May 1972 and January 1973, with EMI staff engineer Alan Parsons at Abbey Road. The title is an allusion to lunacy rather than astronomy. The band had composed and refined the material on Dark Side while touring the UK, Japan, North America and Europe. Producer Chris Thomas assisted Parsons. Hipgnosis designed the album’s packaging, which included George Hardie’s iconic refracting prism design on the cover. Thorgerson’s Dark Side album cover features a beam of white light, representing unity, passing through a prism, which represents society. The resulting refracted beam of coloured light symbolises unity diffracted, leaving an absence of unity. Waters is the sole author of the album’s lyrics.
Pink Floyd performing on their early 1973 US tour, shortly before the release of The Dark Side of the Moon
Released in March 1973, the LP became an instant chart success in the UK and throughout Western Europe, earning an enthusiastic response from critics. Each member of Pink Floyd except Wright boycotted the press release of The Dark Side of the Moon because a quadraphonic mix had not yet been completed, and they felt presenting the album through a poor-quality stereo PA system was insufficient. Melody Maker’s Roy Hollingworth described side one as “utterly confused … [and] difficult to follow”, but praised side two, writing: “The songs, the sounds … [and] the rhythms were solid … [the] saxophone hit the air, the band rocked and rolled”. Rolling Stone’s Lloyd Grossman described it as “a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement.”
Throughout March 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon featured as part of Pink Floyd’s US tour. The album is one of the most commercially successful rock albums of all time; a US number 1, it remained on the Billboard chart for more than fourteen years, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide. In Britain, the album peaked at number 2, spending 364 weeks on the UK chart.Dark Side is the world’s third best-selling album, and the twenty-first best-selling album of all time in the US. The success of the album brought enormous wealth to the members of Pink Floyd. Waters and Wright bought large country houses while Mason became a collector of expensive cars. Disenchanted with their US record company, Capitol Records, Pink Floyd and O’Rourke negotiated a new contract with Columbia Records, who gave them a reported advance of $1,000,000 (US$4,962,213 in 2017 dollars). In Europe, they continued to be represented by Harvest Records.
Enjoy. Play loud.