November 2018

The Dark Side of the Moon

A Pink Floyd Playlist

The Classic Album Covers column in the November issue of In Tune discusses the cover for The Dark Side of the Moon, the 1973 LP by Pink Floyd. Everything about this album – the progressive nature of the music, the sophisticated-yet-emotive lyrical themes, the mystique of the band, the state-of-the-art audio quality, the iconic cover art – resonated not only in the moment but also across the decades. The Dark Side of the Moon remained on the Billboard album chart for an astounding 741 weeks, from 1973 until 1988. It even re-entered the chart in 2009, having sold by now some 45 million copies. The LP yielded a hit single, “Money,” but The Dark Side of the Moon remains one of the great examples of the full album as art form, akin to a great novel. Neither the band name nor the album title appears on the cover, leaving the prismatic image to speak for itself in representing the songs, which reverberated with themes of alienation and tribalism, materialism and psychosis, as well as love, loss and the inescapable passing of time. The sheer richness of the music transfigures the dark character of the words, with the album somehow evoking cosmic uplift when experienced as a whole. The cover’s designer, Storm Thorgerson, said: “The refracting glass prism referred to the Pink Floyd light shows. Its outline is triangular and triangles are symbols of ambition, and are redolent of pyramids, which are both cosmic and mad in equal measure – all of these ideas touching on themes in the lyrics.”

Bradley Bambarger