50 Years of Darkness

2023 marks 50 years since the release of Pink Floyd’s classic Dark Side of the Moon.  The group’s eighth studio album, Dark Side of the Moon is a conceptual work dealing with mental illness and how the pressures of modern life (particularly the life of a rock band…) can exacerbate it. As with much of Pink Floyd’s work, the shadow of founder Syd Barrett, by then a recluse due to mental illness and drug abuse, hangs over the album.

Sessions took place at EMI Studios in London with the album being released on 1 March 1973. Although the music was written by all four band members, bassist Roger Waters was by this point responsible for all the lyrics. As well as its musical strengths the album also showcased another Floyd trademark via its extensive use of sound effects.

Dark Side of the Moon would top the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic and has at the time of writing sold in the neighbourhood of 45 million copies. It spent an astonishing 741 non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard Top 200, only finally slipping off on 8 October 1988. The two singles from the album, “Money” and “Time” are among Floyd’s most well-known songs and remain staples of classic rock radio.

The iconic sleeve was designed by Storm Thorgerson, an English graphic designer who would go on to design similarly distinctive covers for several other Pink Floyd albums (showcased in Mind over matter : the images of Pink Floyd / Thorgerson, Storm).

Since its release, Floyd have frequently returned to the album and several acts have paid tribute to it, the following is what’s available at Wellington City Libraries.

The dark side of the moon [remaster] / Pink Floyd
The original masterpiece is available in several different cd and vinyl versions, the most recent in the collection being the 2011 remastering on vinyl.



The dark side of the moon : live at Wembley, London, 1974 / Pink Floyd
Recently released as park of a 50th anniversary package, this captures a widely bootlegged concert at Wembley Arena where the newly released album was performed in its entirety.


Pink Floyd : The dark side of the moon
Originally released in 2003, this is an 84-minute documentary on the making of the album, featuring interviews with all four members of the classic Floyd lineup.




Pulse : Pink Floyd in concert / Pink Floyd
A document of the bands Division Bell tour of 1994, Pulse contains a complete performance of DSOTM alongside a career spanning set of Floyd classics. This link refers to the DVD, the performance is also available in the libraries CD collection.



Dub side of the moon / Easy Star All-Stars
Released in 2003 by Easy Star All-Stars, a New York based reggae collective known for covering classic albums in a reggae/dub style. In addition to DSOTM, they have also covered such albums as Kid A, Thriller, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; all of which are held in the Wellington Libraries Collection.


Dubber side of the moon / Easy Star All-Stars
A bass-heavy remix of the aforementioned Dub Side of the Moon.




The dark side of the moon / Flaming Lips
A full-length cover of DSOTM, with guests Stardeath and The White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins and Peaches. The Flaming Lips have also recorded a cover of Sgt. Pepper titled With a Little Help from My Fwends, also available from Wellington Libraries.


Return to the Dark side of the Moon : Mojo proudly presents Pink Floyd’s classic 1973 album re-imagined
Produced specially as a giveaway with a 2011 issue of the titular magazine, this features various English indie and psychedelic acts reinterpreting songs from DSOTM. In a nice bonus, this also includes versions of tracks from Dark Side’s equally excellent follow-up Wish You Were Here.