Dark Side Of The Moon
Speak To Me
Starting with te sound of heartbeat, the opening song is a sort of an intro to the album. Apart from the schizophrenic gibberish that reminds us of Syd Barrett's story, it contains the maniacal laughter of Roger The Hat, a manager of another band, who was one of the people that were given paper cards with questions such as "When was the last time you were violent?" or "What do you think of death?". The answers were recorded. Roger The Hat provided some excellent material, including his laughter which is also part of On The Run, unlike Paul McCartney, whose contribution was not used for being too philosophical.
The fact that the song's authorship is credited to Nick Mason, is, according to Waters, a "gift I gave him so that he had at least something on the album. We recorded the whole song at the studio with our manager in one afternoon. He wasn't even in the same fucking room when I wrote it." he added.
Although each of the songs is different, on the last CD edition, like on the original vinyl, this song is listed as one together with Breathe In The Air. Originally they were listed as a) Speak To Me b) Breathe, or just "Speak To Me Breathe."
Breathe In The Air
This song had more than one name. Apart from this one, it was called Breathe, which was easily confused with the song Breathe from Waters' album The Body, by which it might have been inspired, or it was listed as one song together with Speak to me.
Pink Floyd never performed the song individually, always as a part of the whole Dark Side Of The Moon show, although Roger performed it alone on his 1987 tour.
On The Run
The name is Waters' synonym for the word paranoia (Waters is keen on using synonyms like that). The song's theme was illustrated by a video, that was screened on the famous circular screen during live shows: A man in a hospital bed with wheels was seen going through dark hospital corridors faster and faster, without his own or anyone else's effort, just to go out of the building to a runway and fly up to the sky eventually. In the live shows, at this moment, a huge inflatable bed appeared on the stage and exploded in flames.
Most of the song was created on a VCS3 synth and the final shape of it was then finished by sound engineer Parson. In the film Live At Pompeii, we can see Waters trying various sounds for the song on the synthesizer and even the band playing one of its early versions.
In the concerts that preceeded the recording of the album (Pink Floyd always preferred to try new music out on the audience before recording it), the song had a very different sound that relied upon bass guitar and an organ solo.
This song is very famous for its opening clockwork cacophony. Numerous clocks and alarm clocks run off at once, ringing and chiming wildly. This part was recorded as a sort of a test of the EMI studio quadrophonic equipment and can be used to test the quality of speaker systems (those of lower quality just can't cope with that much treble). The whole song was meant to express Waters' fear of getting older and the anxiety he felt when he thought of how time goes by and nothing really happens (which is ironic, considering Waters' story). Later, Gimour and wright sang the song accompanied by backing vocalists.
Gilmour's guitar part is incomparable to anything and his solo has appeared in various guitar textbooks.
The original version was much slower, with higher-pitched vocal.
Waters' lyrics, which mention "quiet desperation" being "the English way" refer to a 1854 autobiographical book by Henry David Thoreau called Walden. In the book, we can find sentences such as "Masses of men spend their lives in quiet desperation."
The song with its dark lyrics is followed by "Breathe Reprise", which is omitted on some editions or is played as a part of Time. It is a short song with lyrics that are much more optimistic than those of Time.
The Great Gig In The Sky
This is surely one of the most eloquent songs about death. It is instrumental, apart from short spoken parts about the author not fearing death at the beginning and the end. What makes the song so extraordinary (apart from Wright's organ) is the vocal of Clare Torry, a former gospel singer, who made it an almost heavenly thing. Clare recorded it several times, changing the pitch of her voice, the melody and tempo and the final recording is a mixture of the best takes. It is also worth mentioning that she was paid a bottle of wine and 30 pounds for her work.
Původní titul skladby byl "The Mortality Sequence".
The original name of the song was Mortality Sequence.
On some of the CD versions the song merges gradually into Money, masking the end of the A-side of the original vinyl.
Another unique song from the album, which marked the definitive end of the era when the fans enjoyed every tone in silent amazement. This song was so rhythmic, lively and popular that many fans (especially in the US) spent the concerts yelling "Money! Money!" The fans changed their attitude towards the band. From the mid 1970' and most of all after the release of Animals, the 1960's symbols were replaced by pig heads (so real, as Pink Floyd realized in horror) impaled on stakes with shades on.
The song is driven by a bass guitar riff, that was recorded many times and then cut and put together tone by tone. The aggressive sax part is the work of Dick Parry. The sounds of the cash desks, torn banknotes and pouring cash were recorded by Waters at his home in just one afternoon. Later he described it saying: "My wife was interested in ceramics at the time and she had this clay mixing machine in the garden. I was always amazed by the sounds it made when a stone got into the clay. So I threw some change in one day and the result was what you can hear."
Waters' remark about the Lear jet is an allusion referring to Mason and Gilmour, who, when they had finished their flying course, bought a jet together.
The song is the most-played in the history of Pink Floyd. From 1973 it was in the band's repertoire in concerts (as an encore on the 1977 Animals tour) and it was also a part of all the solo tours of both Waters and Gilmour. To this day, it has been performed live more than 800 times and it is the most played song ever on American radio stations.
Waters also produced a "pseudo-live" version of the song to be the B-side of a 1987 single.
Gilmour was the guest of Nicky Horne's Radio One show and he was allowed to play back a short portion of the demo, on which we could hear Waters singing over his acoustic guitar recorded into two tracks.
Us And Them
Wright originally wrote this song as a piano instrumental for Zabriskie Point with the unofficial working title The Violent Sequence. Under this name it was only performed once in a 1970 concert Pink Floyd had to play without their usual equipment. Various improvisations and solos made it more than 21 minute long. This version, like Money, features Parry's saxophone,bu here it is much quieter and neater. The early versions were sung by Waters, while later it was usually Gilmour, with Wright, especially at the end.
The lyrics of the song are very anti-war and anti-hierarchy and if it was less philosophical and more direct, it would seem to belong to The Wall.
The original studio version was recorded with more saxophone parts and different mixes.
Any Colour You Like
This is the only song in the history of Pink Floyd to be written by all of the members except Roger Waters, before he left the band.
The name was borrowed from an old Ford Model T ad which featured the slogan: Any colour you like, so long as it's black.
This song could well be considered the title track of the album. It is one of the two songs (with Eclipse) to contain the name of the track in the lyrics.
The two songs are also the only ones on the album to feature Waters' vocal.
They were always performed together as one.
The piece of lyrics about "lunatics on the grass" was taken from an unrecorded song by Waters he wrote for Meddle. Its name? Dark Side Of The Moon!
Eclipse is an example of one of Waters' favourite songwriting techniques called list-o-mania, which means making a sort of a list of one's feelings.
He has used it on all of his solo albums and most of the late Pink Floyd albums. This song was originally not meant to be on the album at all, but after a few live concerts Pink Floyd realized the song needed a more dramatic ending. Waters penned some more lines, but they still did not give the album what it needed. The two last lines about how everything under the sun is included in a single tone and that even the sun itself is getting covered by the moon were added at the very end, as well as the words of Jerry Driscoll, porter of the Abbey Road studios, who said, when he learnt what the title of the album was: "There´s no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark."
Not even that is the very end of the album. It might be just imagination, but on the CD version, after the heartbeat, we can hear a literally inaudible and very short sequence of a string orchestra playing Ticket To Ride by The Beatles to Jerry Driscoll's last words. The phenomenon has not been proved on any other editions, but on some British editions, we can hear a whispering voice at 1'41".
There have been many explanations, from that of a joke from Pink Floyd that was meant to excite the die-hard fans (possibly the only people willing to be concerned with such details), which would not be the first time, to that of an old, badly erased tape being used for the recording or the studio being overcrowded and the sound insulation unsatisfactory. However, all of that sounds very improbable.
|English version by:|
Vít Benešovský, Jan "Johnny" Petrus