All Songs Considered
5:05 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side,' 40 Years Later

Originally published on Sat March 2, 2013 10:04 am

It begins with a heartbeat. Released in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was Pink Floyd's eighth studio album. It would become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and its iconic cover image still hangs in college dormitories everywhere.

The record turned 40 this week. To mark the occasion, Weekend Edition asked All Songs Considered hosts Robin Hilton and Bob Boilen where they were when they heard Dark Side for the first time. Hear the full version of this story by clicking the audio link on this page.


BOB BOILEN: Back in 1972, I worked in record stores in Rockville, Md., and a huge Pink Floyd fan. They were coming to the Kennedy Center, and I was totally, totally psyched. My hair was down on my shoulders, much like the band members. I'd give anything to have that hair back.

They came out and performed this piece of music. Everybody in the audience, no doubt, their jaws just dropped. You had no idea what it was — and you have to understand, in 1972, if you don't know what it is, there's nowhere to look it up. It was like, "OK, when am I ever going to hear this amazing music again?"

It was nearly a year later. The truck that was carrying that record, I knew where it was gonna show up so I could get the record, like, four hours earlier than I would have had I waited for it to come to the store I worked in.

ROBIN HILTON: I was probably 12 years old, and I was with a friend who had brought the record over. We were playing chess, and it just blew my little mind.

I remember the song "Time." I can't tell you how many college roommates I awakened in the middle of the night by blasting the alarm clocks going off. There's this line in the song "Time" that still resonates with me today. I still think of it all the time, it says, "You're young and life is long and there's time to kill today." Boy, the older I get, that sure turns out to be true.

It was so crazy to imagine how they could even pull this off; technically, how could they create these sounds? We're hearing so much crazy stuff now in music and nobody gives it any thought — because you can do anything now, right? But when I listen to Dark Side of the Moon now, 40 years later, it still sounds fresh.



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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The album starts with a heartbeat.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREATHE")

SIMON: "The Dark Side of the Moon" was Pink Floyd's eighth album. And though it's still often played, it came out 40 years ago this week - and it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. On this anniversary, we asked a few of our colleagues at NPR Music to tell us what they think makes this album special.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREATHE"])

BOB BOILEN, BYLINE: I'm Bob Boilen. I'm the host of NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED. Back in 1972, I worked in record stores in Rockville, Maryland and a huge Pink Floyd fan. And they were coming to the Kennedy Center, and I was totally, totally psyched. My hair was down on my shoulders, much like the band members. I'd give anything to have that hair back.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MONEY")

BOILEN: And they came out and performed this piece of music. Everybody in the audience, no doubt, their jaws just dropped.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MONEY")

PINK FLOYD: (Singing) Money, I get away. Get a good job with more pay and you're OK.

BOILEN: You had no idea what it was - and you have to understand, in 1972, if you don't know what it is, there's nowhere to look it up. It was like, OK, when am I ever going to hear this amazing music again? It was nearly a year later. The truck that was carrying that record, I knew where it was going to show up so I could get the record, like, four hours earlier than I would have had I waited for it to come to the store I worked in.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

ROBIN HILTON, BYLINE: I'm Robin Hilton and I'm a producer for NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED and co-host of the show. I can so vividly remember where I was when I first heard this. I was probably 12 years old, and I was with a friend who had brought the record over. And we were playing chess, and it just blew my little mind.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME")

HILTON: I remember the song "Time." I can't tell you how many college roommates I awakened in the middle of the night blasting the alarm clocks going off. And there's this line in the song "Time" that still resonates with me today. I think of it all the time. It says: You're young and life is long and there's time to kill today.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME")

FLOYD: (Singing) And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you.

HILTON: Boy, the older I get, that sure turns out to be true.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME")

FLOYD: (Singing) You missed the starting gun.

HILTON: When I listen to "Dark Side of the Moon" now, 40 years later, it still sounds fresh. And that's why you're always going to see the "Dark Side of the Moon" poster hanging in college dormitories for the next 50 years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TIME")

FLOYD: (Singing) (unintelligible)...

SIMON: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton of NPR Music. This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.