The Dark Side of the Moon at 50
Pink Floyd’s singular 1973 masterpiece is more than a popular album — it’s a generational rite of passage.
In last week’s Billboard 200, SZA’s S.O.S. logged its tenth week at №1. The album’s an eclectic tour de force of modern melodic R&B; it deserves to stay perched on the top for a while.
SZA’s a spellbinding, hugely talented artist. Even before making her full-length debut on 2017’s sublime CTRL, industry tastemakers and music adventurists buzzed with confidence in her. She brought a cool, dreamy charm to the 2014 FADER Fort; flexed hard on some Schoolboy Q cuts, and, oh yeah, cowrote the international megahit “Feeling Myself” with Beyonce and Nicki Minaj.
Then CTRL dropped, spawning two of the most delicious pop cuts of the past decade, “Love Galore” and “The Weekend” and launching her to well-deserved fame. That was before her skyscraping feature on “All The Stars” and a record-setting chart run with Doja Cat.
That S.O.S. debuted at №1 is well-deserved and unsurprising; the real stunner lurks at №155, down 23 slots from the previous week. It was the best-selling album of the 1970s, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
On March 1, 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon descended upon us like an alien spacecraft piloted by god. In the now half-century since, it’s grown to become the absolute most perfect, most iconic, most universally beloved slice of recorded popular music ever gifted to us.
That sounds like hyperbole, but … is it?
Cooler heads may quibble and there do exist some (perhaps many!) living, breathing humans who don’t much care for the album or the band. Still, the album has defenders, from the obsessed to the merely enthusiastic. Don’t take my word for it; check the stats.
The Dark Side of the Moon has spent an incomprehensible 972 weeks on the Billboard 200, including 741 consecutive weeks from 1973–1988. Both of those figures are Gretzky-level all-time records that tower above literally every other album ever pressed. It is the world’s third best-selling album ever (after “Thriller” and “Back in Black”), and also the 183rd best-selling album of 2015. The work was selected for inclusion in the US Library of…