On this day in 1997, the classic Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon spent its 1,056th week on the U.S. album chart.
Generally regarded as Pink Floyd’s masterwork, and probably its best known, the qualities of The Dark Side Of The Moon have perhaps been taken for granted in its recent assessments.
Part of its enduring appeal is the strength of the material – every track bears scrutiny on its own, but contributes to a cohesive listening experience that is greater than the sum of the parts. Pink Floyd members don’t recall planning a magnum opus, although they did acknowledge that they had created something special when it was finished.
The album’s themes, including alienation, capitalism and death, had been crystallised, and the band settled on a title, The Dark Side Of The Moon, only to discover in the course of 1972 that blues-pop duo Medicine Head had already used the title for their own album. Despite a UK #3 hit in May 1973, Medicine Head’s album didn’t chart at all, so Floyd felt free to use it as well.
The album was an immediate and longstanding hit – Pink Floyd’s first #1 album in the US, while peaking at #2 in the UK. It is estimated to have sold more than 45 million copies, and is certainly one of the Top 5 biggest-selling albums of all time.
Only last week, The Dark Side Of The Moon re-entered the Billboard Album chart at No. 47, continuing the record-breaking run of the longest-listed album in Billboard’s history.
However, one pinnacle still eludes it: although it scaled the US chart on 28th April, 1970, its highest position in the UK has been No. 2 (kept off the top spot by ’Flashback Great Hits Of The 60s’ at the time of release).
Now, with Roger Waters touring The Wall to sell-out crowds around the world in 2011, and EMI Records having announced a massive catalogue campaign to launch in September of this year, all that might be about to change.
‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ in its re-released form, which will include the first outing of their Wembley 1974 ‘Dark Side’ concert, plus a collector’s box set, is reported by UK trade paper Music Week to be No. 1 in Amazon UK’s pre-release Chart, which has a distinguished record in predicting the actual commercial chart.
So ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ may finally hit No. 1 in the UK – 38 years and 6 months after its initial release.
2011 looks like being the year of Pink Floyd… again.
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