June 28, 1997: Pink Floyd ‘DSOTM’ 20 Years on Chart

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dark-side-of-the-moon-pink-floydRecorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios between June 1972 and January 1973 and released on March 1, 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon, the eighth studio album by Pink Floyd, was reported on this day to have spent 1,056 non-consecutive weeks – or a little over 20 years – on Billboard‘s album sales charts. Its consistent sales strength–that continues today–has earned the group some 45 million or more copies sold internationally (out of an estimated 250 million sold on all their albums).

Considered a progressive rock masterpiece and a benchmark in innovative recording techniques, it ranks fourth behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller, AC/DC’s Back in Black, and The Bodyguard soundtrack [along with Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell and Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)] – depending on the source – among the all-time best selling albums in the world. Although it only spent one week at #1 on the U.S. chart starting on April 28, 1973, Dark Side‘s first consistent sales chart run lasted 741 weeks from 1973 into 1988.

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Its themes were hardly the usual stuff of pop music. Madness and by inference the deteriorating mental state of Pink Floyd’s founder Syd Barrett are one of its concerns. Serious notions like greed, mortality and human conflict are also among its lyrical concerns. It seemed to capture the social concerns of its era while, like its timeless sound, continuing to be relevant 50 years later.

Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright, Nick Mason, Roger Waters and David Gilmour, in an undated photo in the early ’70s (Photo © Hipgnosis; used by permission)

Although one of the singles from the album, “Money,” takes a rather dyspeptic view of cold hard cash, the success of The Dark Side of the Moon made Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the late Richard Wright very wealthy men. (“Money” failed to chart in the U.K. and peaked at #13 in the U.S.)

A 50th anniversary edition, released in 2023, includes a CD and gatefold vinyl of the remastered studio album and Blu-Ray + DVD audio featuring the original 5.1 mix and remastered stereo versions. The set also features a new Blu-ray disc of Atmos mix plus CD and LP of a concert recording, The Dark Side Of The Moon – Live At Wembley Empire Pool, London, 1974.

Listen to the remastered “The Great Gig in the Sky”

The Dark Side of the Moon is perhaps as instantly identifiable for its Hipgnosis-designed cover as it is for its music. But then there’s this…

The next two links are for a 50th anniversary book.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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