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Old 01-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
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I 'heart' The Dark Side of the Moon

Speak to me

"Speak to Me" is the first track[1] from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, on which it forms an overture. Drummer Nick Mason receives a rare solo writing credit for the track; Roger Waters subsequently claimed this was a "gift" to Mason, one which Waters came to regret after his acrimonious departure from the group.


The song is considered to be a representation of birth, with a relief from labour. Its lyrics, written by Roger Waters, beseech the listener to pause in their seemingly-endless labours and take notice of more meaningful pursuits in life.

On the run

It is an instrumental that deals with the pressures of travel (which Rick Wright said would often bring fear of death), and is a VCS3 synthesizer-led piece.


Each clock at the beginning of the song was recorded separately in an antiques store. This is followed by an eerie two-minute passage dominated by Nick Mason's rototoms and backgrounded by a tocking sound created by Roger Waters picking two muted strings on his bass. With David Gilmour singing lead on the verses and with Richard Wright singing lead on the bridges and with female singers providing backup vocals, the lyrics of the song deal with Roger Waters's realization that life was not about preparing yourself for what happens next, but about grabbing control of your own destiny.

The Great gig in the sky

In an interview,[2] Torry mentioned that she was trying to emulate an instrument. It was, from all published accounts, an improvisation with Torry apparently using her songwriting skills to give it form and function. In fact, she mentions in her interview that she was never clearly told that the song was about death. In a different interview on the DVD The Dark Side of the Moon (Eagle Vision EV 30042-9 US NTSC version), Richard Wright mentions that she began singing words and they knew they didn't want that. Published interviews mention that she recorded the takes very quickly — on the DVD, the track sheet shows two tracks (four takes) used for her vocals.
In her interview, she mentions that an accountant at Abbey Road Studios called her; other interviews with band members mentioned that Alan Parsons suggested her.

Chris Thomas, who was brought in to assist Alan Parsons in mixing the album mentions that they were actually in mixdown at the time. On the DVD, various members mention that they had this song and weren't quite sure what to do with it. Wright further mentions that when she finished, she was apologetic about her performance even though those present were amazed at her improvisation.
In Torry's interview she mentions that she left thinking that it wouldn't be included on the final cut. In fact, she states that the only way she knew it was used was when she saw it at a local record store, saw her name in the credits and purchased it.


Among other things, "Money" is notable for its unusual time signature. Despite relatively recent remarks by bassist and principal composer Roger Waters and guitarist David Gilmour, that the song had been composed primarily in 7/8 time,[2] it was actually composed in 7/4, as Gilmour previously acknowledged in an interview with Guitar World magazine in 1993.[3][4] Most rock music is written in 4/4, or common time, and most of the exceptions are in 3/4 or a similar triple meter. The typical rock offbeats on two and four are instead on two, four and six, leaving two notes in a row without a beat.
The song is also notable for its dramatic change to 4/4 time for an extended guitar solo, after which the song returns to 7/4, then ends in 4/4. Gilmour suggested the change in time signature was likely introduced to make things a little easier for him. The first of three choruses which comprise his solo was recorded using real-time double-tracking. That is, Gilmour played the chorus nearly identically in two passes recorded to two different tracks of a multi-track tape machine. The doubled effect for the third chorus was created using automatic (or "artificial") double-tracking (ADT).[2]
The form and chord progression are based on the standard twelve-bar blues in the key of B minor. Two twelve-bar verses are followed by a twelve-bar instrumental section that features a funk-style tenor saxophone solo along with keyboard, bass, and drums.

Us and them

"Us and Them" is rather quiet in tone and dynamics. It has two saxophone solos in it, one at the beginning and another towards the end of the song. Rick Wright introduces the song with harmonies on his Hammond organ, and put a piano chordal backing and short piano solo afterwards on the arrangement. The verses have a unique, jazz-influenced chord progression: Dsus2, D6(add9), Dminor major7 and G (with D in the bass, sustained as a pedal point throughout). The D6 with an added 9th is not unlike an Esus2 with a D in the bass, but because the bass line also provides the fifth, it is more accurately described as a kind of D chord. The D minor chord with a major seventh is a rarity in 1970s rock music.[2]
In the middle, there is a break during which roadie "Roger the Hat" speaks (during the recording of the album a number of interviews were laid down, including with Paul and Linda McCartney who were recording in the same studio). Before its release, the song was known as "The Violent Sequence" which is available on bootlegs.

The tune was originally written on the piano by Rick for the movie Zabriskie Point in 1969; this is where the "Violent Sequence" title came from. Director Michelangelo Antonioni rejected it on the grounds that it was too unlike their "Careful with That Axe, Eugene"-esque work, which was the style of music he wanted to use. As Waters recalls it in impersonation, Antonioni's response was, "It's beautiful, but too sad, you know? It makes me think of church." [3]. The song was shelved until Dark Side of the Moon.
It was also re-released on the 2001 greatest hits album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd, where it is the seventh track of the second disc.

Any Colour you like

While the song is instrumental, it has been speculated that the song ties to The Dark Side of the Moon concept by concerning the lack of choice one has in the human society, while being alluded to thinking that he does. It is also speculated that the song is about the fear of making choices. The origin of the title is unclear. One possible origin of the title comes from an answer frequently given by a studio technician to questions put to him: "You can have it any colour you like", which was a reference to Henry Ford's apocryphal description of the Model T: "You can have it any color you like, as long as it's black."

Brain Damage

Roger Waters has stated that the insanity-themed lyrics are based on former Floyd frontman Syd Barrett's mental instability, with the line "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" indicating that Waters felt that he related to Barrett in terms of mental idiosyncrasies. The line "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes..." is referential to Syd Barrett's behaviour towards the end of his tenure with the band; due to his mental problems, there were more than a few occasions where Barrett would actually play a different song than the rest of the band in the middle of a performance. The song features a rather famous opening line, "The lunatic is on the grass...", whereby Waters is referring to areas of turf which display signs saying 'PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS' with the exaggerated implication that the disobeying of such signs might be an indication of insanity. The tongue in cheek nature of the lyrics is further emphasised by Waters' assertation in the 2003 documentary "classic Albums: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon" that not letting people on such beautiful grass was the real insanity. The line, "Got to keep the loonies on the path" supports this, suggesting the social rule that people must not walk off the path and step onto the grass, but conform to the standards of normal 'sane' society. Incidentally, Waters has said that the particular patch of grass he had in mind when writing was to the rear of Kings College, Cambridge.


At the end of "Eclipse", after or during the spoken words of 'There is no dark side...', a small chamber string orchestra can be heard playing a light tune which sounds like it's heard from a small radio in another room. To be able to hear this, one must listen especially carefully with headphones and the volume at maximum level. On some copies of the album, an orchestral version of The Beatles' song "Ticket to Ride" can be heard playing in the background during the fade but only on one stereo channel. Fans have tried to find a meaning behind this, but it was likely just an artifact of the recording process, such as an improperly erased tape. The recording has been identified by some as having come from George Martin's orchestral adaptation of the Beatles album Help!. Coincidentally, Paul McCartney and Wings were recording in the same studio.

Classic Albums series


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Old 01-25-2009, 03:18 PM   #2
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Love it too

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Old 01-25-2009, 06:41 PM   #3
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I liked this album when I was 15 and stoned.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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Great album but Animals is far superior.

The Great Gig In The Sky.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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My dad was pink floyd mad
had all the Lp's on vinyl

It took me years to like them. Only last year i got Dark Side and think its amazing. Time is the best song for me. That guitar solo is immense. I also like the album Wish You Were Here. The others i have not got, but i am aware of The Wall due to the song Another Brick in the Wall.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GirlsAloudFan View Post
I liked this album when I was 15 and stoned.
So you liked it this morning then?
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:25 PM   #7
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The DVD-audio (original master Alan Parsons) is so amazing you can hear the dialogue in the background very clearly.

It's one of the few records I can actually play from beginning to the end with no songs skipped.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Screwtape2 View Post
Great album but Animals is far superior.

The Great Gig In The Sky.
Animals fucking rules. DSOTM less so, but it's also quite wonderful. Basically, everything Pink Floyd released after Ummagumma and before The Final Cut is enjoyable for me, with some great scattered songs before and after that.

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Old 01-26-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
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I love Animals as well, but I still rate DSOTM higher, along with WYWH.
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Old 01-26-2009, 04:15 PM   #10
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Dark Side of the Moon is number 1 on my All Time Top 50 albums. Us and Them is my favorite song on the album.

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