50th anniversary of the live release of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon”.
Today, 20 January, marks the fiftieth anniversary of the live premiere of many of the songs that make up The Dark Side of the Moon, one of the masterpieces not only of Pink Floyd, but of international symphonic rock as a whole.
The album was born out of an idea by Roger Waters, the band’s bassist and main songwriter, who proposed making an album that would talk about the things that “drive people crazy”, focusing on the pressures associated with the success the band was experiencing and how it was affecting their lifestyle, and also addressing the mental health problems that had caused their initial leader, Syd Barrett, to leave the band.
All the compositions emerged in December 1971, although several of them came from earlier material not yet fully developed as songs, and were intended to be premiered, fifty years ago today, at a concert held in a Brighton venue, The Dome. Being a concept album, the various songs would be performed in the same order in which they would appear on the album a year later: Speak to Me, Breathe, On the Run (The Travel Section), Time, The Great Gig in the Sky (The Mortality Sequence) and Money. At this point, a series of technical problems forced the band to improvise a different second part of the concert than planned, which continued with songs already known from previous albums. In brackets are the original titles under which the songs were presented to the audience. The following day the band played at the Guildhall in Portsmouth, a city near Brighton, and there they were able to perform the other three songs that had not been heard the previous day – Us and Them, Any Colour You Like (Scat) and Brain Damage (The Lunatic Song). On the next stages of the tour, at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth (22 January), the Guildhall in Southampton (23 January), and the City Hall in Newcastle (27 January), the repertoire was repeated in its entirety. On 28 January, at Leeds Town Hall, the album’s presentation was completed with the premiere of Eclipse, the album’s closing track.