‘The ultimate stereo test record’: How everything came together on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side

Dark Side of the Moon has become, four decades after its release, not only Pink Floyd’s signature studio effort but one of the most important recordings in rock history.

A confluence of things created its success, drummer Nick Mason says, many of them only becoming evident as sessions continued for the groundbreaking 1973 recording featuring Mason, Roger Waters, Rick Wright and David Gilmour — which ultimately remained on the Billboard charts through 1988.

“My view is that it’s not just one thing, that’s it’s actually a number of facets that give it that sort of importance, I suppose,” Mason tells Sonic Reality. “That includes the songwriting, because I think the lyrics are astonishingly relevent to an age group who were so much older than the band was at the time. Actually, some of Roger’s writing is more relevant to a 50 year old than a 23 year old. That’s important.”

Then there was the music itself, and the sonic quality of the project — as crafted by Pink Floyd and engineer Alan Parsons: “It became renowned for the engineering,” Mason adds. “It was sort of seen as the ultimate stereo test record.”

Mason also recognizes the artistry of Hipgnosis, who designed the iconic cover imagery, as well as Pink Floyd’s label support.


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  • JC Mosquito

    Stereo test record? Yeah, pretty much the only time I listen to it…. or when I’m watching The Wizard of Oz.

  • pw

    Rolling Stone Magazine panned this “record”. Go figure.
    I on the other hand worship it.