This week’s moment is shorter than usual for a couple reasons. One is work commitments. The other is more basic: what else can you really say about Dark Side Of The Moon? The latter means I’m not going to talk about content as much as another notable element of the LP — its chart history.
Released in the U.K. on March 24, 1973, Dark Side had been released a week earlier in the U.S. As a result, it hit the Billboard charts before Pink Floyd’s fellow Brits had a chance to hear the LP. The band, however, began performing it in concert in 1972 and a bootleg was circulating about a year before the album came out. It alone reportedly sold more than 100,000 copies.
Dark Side debuted at number 95 and would remain on the Billboard Top 200 chart for the next 736 weeks, more than 14 years. In fact, as of this week the LP was number 12 on Billboard’s “Top Pop Catalog” and has spent 1,646 weeks — more than 32 years — on both it and the Billboard 200 charts. More than 34 million copies of the recording have been sold worldwide and, in fact, as of 2006, roughly 8,000 to 9,000 copies were still being sold each week. And, for what it’s worth, Pink Floyd’s official web site reports that in in 1990 Australian radio listeners voted it the best album to have sex to.
I heard Dark Side countless times in the years after its release. Despite that, I didn’t actually get around to buying it until CDs existed. In fact, if memory serves I bought it because it fell off the charts in 1988 and I was hoping that if people like me went and bought copies, it would make it back to the charts. But in light of all the chart longevity there’s two facts that I find most interesting:
Dark Side was the number one album for only one week, beginning April 28, 1973. And the album that replaced it at the top of the charts? Elvis Presley’s Aloha From Hawaii – Via Satellite, the King’s first number one LP in a decade.
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.
“Brain Damage,” Pink Floyd, Dark Side Of The Moon