Photo: Chris So/Toronto Star/Getty Images
The Making Of Pink Floyd's The Wall
Producer Bob Ezrin recalls the building blocks of Pink Floyd's GRAMMY Hall Of Fame-inducted album
(Since its inception in 1973, the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame has enshrined nearly 1,000 recordings across all genres. The Making Of … series presents firsthand accounts of the creative process behind some of the essential recordings of the 20th century. You can read more Making Of … accounts, and in-depth insight into the recordings and artists represented in the Hall, in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition book.)
(As told to Tammy La Gorce)
It was Roger [Waters'] wife, Carolyne [Christie], who approached me about doing The Wall. She had actually worked with me on an Alice Cooper project years before in London. The idea was, because this was so much Roger's own project and not a group effort, he needed a kind of referee between him and the rest of the band — someone who could help him realize his vision and deal with the rest of the band without creating problems between him and them.
In the beginning we had a very long demo that Roger had written. We started to separate out the pieces, and when we looked at the storyline we realized what we needed was a through line, something to get us from start to finish.
I started writing, and in the process of doing that I began to realize, "I'm writing a script." It took one night in my flat in London. I closed my eyes and wrote out the movie that would become The Wall.
The next day in the studio, we made copies of the script and handed them out, and we all sat down for a table read.
We laid down the bits of music we had from the demo, and obviously there were songs missing, bits of the script where we didn't yet have a song. We'd mark those "TBW" — "to be written." "Comfortably Numb" was a TBW song. With the screenplay, we had a real framework for how things would go, and it proved crucial.
I think it was remarkable how fast we finished it. When you add it all up, we spent maybe seven or eight months in the studio. We started in England, then we went to the South of France, and we finished up in Los Angeles. Think about it: You can read stories about some of the more indulgent albums, like [Guns N' Roses'] Chinese Democracy, where 10 or 12 years were spent on something that ends up with a whimper and not a bang. When you think about that, we worked pretty quick.
Overall, [The Wall] was a fantastic experience. An amazing accomplishment.
(Tammy La Gorce is a freelance writer whose work appears regularly in The New York Times.)
Photo: ZIK Images/United Archives via Getty Images
15 Reissues And Archival Releases For Your Holiday Shopping List
2023 was a banner year for reissues and boxed sets; everyone from the Beatles to Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones got inspired expansions and repackagings. Here are 15 more to scoop up before 2023 gives way to 2024.
Across 2023, we've been treated to a shower of fantastic reissues, remixes and/or expansions. From the Beatles' Red and Blue albums, to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, to the Who's Who's Next, the list is far too massive to fit into a single article.
And, happily, it's not over yet: from now until Christmas, there are plenty more reissues to savor — whether they be mere vinyl represses, or lavish plumbings of the source material replete with outtakes.
As you prepare your holiday shopping list, don't sleep on these 15 reissues for the fellow music fanatic in your life — or pick up a bundle for yourself!
X-Ray Spex - Conscious Consumer (Vinyl Reissue)
Whether you view them through the lens of Black woman power or simply their unforgettable, snarling anthems, English punks X-Ray Spex made an indelible mark with their debut 1978 album, Germfree Adolescents.
Seventeen years later, they made a less-discussed reunion album, 1995's Conscious Consumer — which has been unavailable over the next 27 years. After you (re)visit Germfree Adolescents, pick up this special vinyl reissue, remastered from the original tape.
That's out Dec. 15; pre-order it here.
Fall Out Boy - Take This to Your Grave (20th Anniversary Edition)
Released the year before their breakthrough 2005 album From Under the Cork Tree — the one with "Dance, Dance" and "Sugar, We're Goin Down" on it — Fall Out Boy's Take This to Your Grave remains notable and earwormy. The 2004 album aged rather well, and contains fan favorites like "Dead on Arrival."
Revisit the two-time GRAMMY nominees' Myspace-era gem with its 20th anniversary edition, which features a 36-page coffee table book and two unreleased demos: "Colorado Song" and "Jakus Song." It's available Dec. 15.
Coheed and Cambria - Live at the Starland Ballroom
Coheed and Cambria is more than a long-running rock band; they're a sci-fi multimedia universe, as well as a preternaturally tight live band.
Proof positive of the latter is Live at the Starland Ballroom, a document of a performance at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, in 2004 — that hasn't been on vinyl until now. Grab it here; it dropped Nov. 24, for Record Store Day Black Friday.
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark Demos
Joni Mitchell Archives – Vol. 3: The Asylum Years (1972–1975), from last October, is a terrific way to do just that; its unvarnished alternate versions strip away the '70s gloss to spellbinding effect.
Which is no exception regarding the Court and Spark demos, which got a standalone release for RSD Black Friday.
P!NK - TRUSTFALL (Deluxe Edition)
The dependable Pink returned in 2023 with the well-regarded TRUSTFALL, and it's already getting an expanded presentation.
Its Deluxe Edition is filled with six previously unheard live recordings from her 2023 Summer Carnival Stadium Tour. Therein, you can find two new singles, including "Dreaming," a collaboration with Marshmello and Sting. Pre-order it today.
Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle (30th Anniversary Edition)
After his star-making turn on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, 16-time GRAMMY nominee Snoop Dogg stepped out with his revolutionary, Dre-assisted debut album, Doggystyle.
Permeated with hedonistic, debaucherous fun, the 1993 classic only furthered G-funk's momentum as a force within hip-hop.
Revisit — or discover — the album via this 30-year anniversary reissue, available now on streaming and vinyl.
As per the latter, the record is available special color variants, including a gold foil cover and clear/cloudy blue vinyl via Walmart, a clear and black smoke vinyl via Amazon and a green and black smoke vinyl via indie retailers.
Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys 20
Alicia Keys has scored an incredible 15 GRAMMYs and 31 nominations — and if that run didn't exactly begin with 2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys, that album certainly cemented her royalty.
Her heralded second album, which features classics like "Karma," "If I Was Your Woman"/"Walk On By" and "Diary," is being reissued on Dec. 1 — expanded to 24 tracks, and featuring an unreleased song, "Golden Child."
The Sound of Music (Super Deluxe Edition Boxed Set)
Fifty-seven years has done nothing to dim the appeal of 1965's The Sound of Music — both the flick and its indelible soundtrack.
Re-immerse yourself in classics like "My Favorite Things" via The Sound of Music (Super Deluxe Edition Boxed Set), which arrives Dec. 1.
The box contains more than 40 previously unreleased tracks, collecting every musical element from the film for the first time, along with instrumentals for every song, demos and rare outtakes from the cast.
Furthermore, an audio Blu-ray features the full score in hi-res plus a new Dolby Atmos mix of the original soundtrack. And the whole shebang is housed in a 64-page hardbound book with liner notes from film preservationist Mike Matessino.
ABBA - The Visitors (Deluxe Edition)
With their eighth album, 1981's The Visitors, the Swedish masterminds — and five-time GRAMMY nominees — stepped away from lighter fare and examined themselves more deeply than ever.
The result was heralded as their most mature album to date — and has been repackaged before, with a Deluxe Edition in 2012.
This (quite belated) 40th anniversary edition continues its evolution in the marketplace. And better late than never: The Visitors was their final album until their 2021 farewell, Voyage, and on those terms alone, deserves reexamination.
Aretha Franklin - A Portrait of the Queen 1970-1974
A Portrait of the Queen 1970-1974 compiles her first five albums of the 1970s: This Girl's In Love With You, Spirit in the Dark, Young Gifted and Black, Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky), and Let Me In Your Life.
Each has been remastered from the analog master tapes. The vinyl version has a bonus disc of session alternates, outtakes & demos. Both CD and vinyl versions are packaged with booklets featuring sleeve notes by Gail Mitchell and David Nathan. Grab it on Dec. 1.
Fela Kuti - Box Set #6
From the great beyond, Fela Kuti has done music journalists a solid in simply numbering his boxes. But this isn't just any Kuti box: it's curated by the one and only Idris Elba, who turned in a monumental performance as Stringer Bell on "The Wire."
The fifth go-round contains the Afrobeat giant's albums Open & Close, Music of Many Colors, Stalemate, I Go Shout Plenty!!!, Live In Amsterdam (2xLP), and Opposite People. It includes a 24 page booklet featuring lyrics, commentaries by Afrobeat historian Chris May, and never-before-seen photos.
The box is only available in a limited edition of 5,000 worldwide, so act fast: it's also available on Dec. 1.
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (The Baskerville Edition) / Hounds of Love (The Boxes of Lost Sea)
Kate Bush rocketed back into the public consciousness in 2022, via "Stranger Things." The lovefest continues unabated with these two editions of Hounds of Love, which features that signature song: "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God.)
The Rolling Stones - December's Children (And Everybody's), Got Live If You Want It! And The Rolling Stones No. 2 (Vinyl Reissues)
These three '60s Stones albums have slipped between the cracks over the years — but if you love the world-renowned rock legends in its infancy, they're essential listens.
No. 2 is their second album from 1965; the same year's December's Children is the last of their early songs to lean heavily on covers; Got Live If You Want It! is an early live document capturing the early hysteria swarming around the band.
On Dec. 1, they're reissued on 180g vinyl; for more information and to order, visit here.
Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother (Special Edition)
No, it's not half as famous as The Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall — but 1970's lumpy Atom Heart Mother certainly has its partisans.
Rediscover a hidden corner of the Floyd catalog — the one between Ummagumma and Meddle — via this special edition, which features newly discovered live footage from more than half a century ago.
The Black Crowes - The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
After endless fraternal infighting, the Black Crowes are back — can they keep it together?
In the meantime, their second album, 1992's The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, remains a stellar slice of roots rock — as a sprawling, three-disc Super Deluxe Edition bears out. If you're a bird of this feather, don't miss it when it arrives on Dec. 15.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Gus Stewart/Getty Images
Lou Reed's 'Berlin' Is One Of Rock's Darkest Albums. So Why Does It Sound Like So Much Fun?
Lou Reed's third album is a harrowing examination of addiction, abuse and suicide. Yet the bleakness lands because it's so beautifully counterweighted.
Lou Reed's Berlin begins with a nightmarishly tape-destroyed German count-in — eins, zwei, drei, zugabe — followed by the "Happy Birthday" song. It ends with a bloody suicide in a bed.
Wait, that's the second-to-last track; Berlin actually ends as the narrator callously brushes off said suicide — which happened to be of the mother of his children. The lynchpin track, "The Kids," features a harrowing soundbite of children screaming for their mother.
In between, Reed relates the tale of a relationship that spins out into addiction, prostitution and domestic abuse against the backdrop of the titular city — which, at the time, Reed had never been to.
Berlin profoundly alienated some critics. Rolling Stone castigated it as one of "certain records so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them...a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide."
Likewise, Robert Christgau called the notion of Berlin's artistic accomplishment "horses—" and added that the story of the couple "lousy," with the ambitious, operatic music "only competent." By all accounts, the incomprehension hurt Reed; he pulled a 180 with 1974's glammy Sally Can't Dance.
But despite the content, and the chaos in Reed's personal life at the time — fathoms of drugs, a failing marriage — Berlin is no druggie disaster. In reality, it's one of the crown jewels of the GRAMMY winner's voluminous discography, and a masterclass in finding beauty in the sordid depths of the human condition.
And it's difficult to imagine Berlin's story landing without utterly gonzo music — and a fair amount of ink-black humor.
The key to the former is the GRAMMY-nominated producer Bob Ezrin, who's helped craft any number of epic, ridiculous, fall-on-your-face rock classics. Case in point: a year prior to Berlin, he'd produced Alice Cooper's School's Out; just after, he'd helm Aerosmith's Get Your Wings.
Berlin followed 1972's Transformer — his second album and breakthrough, by way of the epochal "Walk on the Wild Side." Both the album and single's successes were helped along by a very high-profile producer — an ascendant David Bowie.
But as Anthony DeCurtis lays out in his 2017 biography Lou Reed: A Life, Bowie had been attracting credit for Transformer, and Reed started to look like his imitator.
"From the industry perspective, the aesthetic differences between Bowie, Reed and Cooper were meaningless," DeCurtis explains in the book. "Broadly speaking, they were all working the same side of the street — bending gender categories and stunning conventional sensibilities."
Given this perception — and a brawl they'd undergone in a London club over Reed's habits — it was time for Reed to untether from Bowie, just as the latter launched into the stratosphere.
"Lou is out of the glitter thing. He really denounces it," crowed Reed's manager at the time, Dennis Katz. "He's not interested in glam rock or glitter rock. Lou Reed is a rock and roller." Reed and Katz went with the 23-year-old Ezrin, who was riding high on Alice Cooper's success — and seemed like the obvious choice.
With the success of Transformer in the rearview, Ezrin and Reed felt emboldened to devise a work of boundless aspiration. It would be a rock opera — a double concept album with an elaborate booklet, with photographs that depict the downfall of the central couple, Caroline and Jim.
Ezrin booked a wild backing ensemble — including keyboardist Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic; bassist Jack Bruce of Cream; drummer B.J. Wilson of Procol Harum; and Michael and Randy Brecker, respectively on tenor sax and trumpet. As the sessions rolled on, hype broiled around the project.
"It's not an overstatement to say that Berlin will be the Sgt. Pepper of the seventies," blustered Larry "Ratso" Sloman in Rolling Stone. Which is laughable today — but it helps frame Berlin in its time and context.
"When people thought of a concept album, they thought Sgt. Pepper," singer/songwriter Elliott Murphy, who befriended Reed around this period, tells GRAMMY.com. "And Berlin is kind of the Antichrist of Sgt. Pepper."
Just as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band used childhood and nostalgia as a launching pad rather than a set of rigid parameters, Berlin — which ended up being a single-disc release — doesn't simply bludgeon you with misery for 49 minutes.
Berlin takes flower from its title track, a barely-there sketch of a romantic scene in the titular city, originally released on Reed's self-titled 1972 debut. As DeCurtis opines in Lou Reed: A Life, "Perhaps it was the song's unfinished quality that appealed to them, leaving space for them to fill with their fantasies of what it might become."
Whatever the case, Reed had a natural facility for expansive narratives. As author Will Hermes explains, Reed's early "mentor and model" was Delmore Schwartz, his English professor at Syracuse University.
"There's humor and there's pathos in equal parts," says Hermes, whose sprawling, fascinating biography, Lou Reed: The King of New York, was released Oct. 3. He's referring to Schwartz and his work, but this extends to his mentee: "Reed was a hilarious guy, from everybody I spoke to, and certainly reading his interviews. So that darkness and humor came together. I don't think a lot of people got that about Berlin when it was first produced."
Reed had taken a theater class at Syracuse, loved Federico Fellini in college, and remained a cinephile for life. By its very nature, the episodic, operatic format of Berlin precludes monotony; each song examines this doomed coupling from a different angle.
Sure, every facet of the Berlin tale is cursed. But Reed explains why it's cursed — including from Jim and Caroline's warring perspectives, as on "Jim Says," "Caroline I" and "II" and beyond. Which gives it innate narrative variety, as the listener ping-pongs through the sordid tale.
"'The Bed' and 'The Kids' are very powerful experiences, but not really a hoot," Stickles says of Berlin's B-side. "But the A-side is a pretty big hoot. Like, 'Caroline Says I' rocks. 'How Do You Think It Feels' — these are fun, big rockers, and it's got the funny flutes and clarinets as well."
And while Reed is unflinching in his depictions of violence and suffering, that quality doesn't render him a bore on Berlin — Reed being Reed, it makes him a live wire.
"Berlin is not that one-dimensional; it's not a single-note record," singer/songwriter and Reed head Jerry David DeCicca, who's just released his latest album New Shadows, tells GRAMMY.com. "It might be shades of some of those things, but that's what makes it interesting."
This eclecticism extends to the music, which never rolls over and cries in its milk, but frequently detonates with goofy, stadium-sized, Meat Loaf-esque jubilance. But despite its pedigree and context within a specific chapter of hard rock, Berlin sounds oddly singular.
Patrick Stickles, the lead singer of the rock band Titus Andronicus and a Reed acolyte, calls Berlin "far more proggy than your typical Lou Reed material."
"It's very ornate, but it doesn't really sound like Yes or King Crimson or whatever was going on at that time," Stickles tells GRAMMY.com," because he's still writing with his favorite two or three chords."
"It just doesn't sound like a lot of records from that time period," DeCicca says. "So I don't think he was trying to fit in."
DeCicca then considers the wider scope of Reed's catalog: "He made another record after that, the next year, that was just incredibly different [Sally Can’t Dance]. Which I'm sure was in some part a reaction to it. But how conscious or unconscious is probably a little bit debatable. I mean, he was not somebody who wanted to repeat himself."
In the end, Berlin resonates due to Reed's boundless audacity — and the sheer oddness that permeates its grooves, from start to finish.
"That's probably his No. 1 virtue as a writer — that he always goes there," GRAMMY nominee Will Sheff, who's struck out solo after two decades fronting Okkervil River, tells GRAMMY.com. "I think his main innovation is that he took the guardrails off of subject matter." (Tonalities, too: whether this was intentional or not, Sheff calls 1967's The Velvet Underground & Nico "one of the most f—ed up, cheap, amateurish things that you've ever heard.")
Sheff and his Okkervil River bandmates clung to Berlin during desperate, ragged tours of yore: today, he marvels at the contradictions of its studio dynamic.
"Based on a lot of the accounts, it sounds a little bit like Bob Ezrin was kind of dragging him through the process of making it," Sheff says. "It kind of sounds like a f—ed up, surly, stuck in molasses guy, who's being sort of dragged out of bed and forced into the studio, where there's a string section waiting for him."
(Was Reed on fire in the studio, or being "dragged" by Ezrin? "I think it was a bit of both," Hermes says. "There were a lot of drugs and alcohol involved, but they were working really hard, being really ambitious.")
However checked out Reed was or wasn't, Ezrin brought his consummate showmanship to the party. "And that's part of what makes Berlin fun — he really honors Lou Reed's ambitions, maybe more than Lou was honoring them at the time. I wouldn't call it joyous, but there is a lot very butch [energy], like, 'I'm just a guy strutting down the street in Berlin, and I'm a tough man.' I find that stuff very charming."
Sure, Berlin may be exactly how Sheff describes it: "excessively dark…sick, diseased, kind of broken heart of a masculine anger and sorrow." Against that pitch-black backdrop, every overenthusiastic drumfill, expensive string flourish and brutal joke truly sparkle. (As per the latter: ("This is a bum trip," Caroline complains about domestic battery.)
Despite the sting of critical rejection, Reed continued pursuing long-form, narrative works throughout his career. These included what Hermes calls "three experimental quote-unquote musical theater pieces.") These were with the visionary Robert Wilson — one based on H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, another based on Edgar Allen Poe, and another in Lulu, which germinated into a polarizing 2011 album of the same name with Metallica.
And Reed always felt strongly about Berlin. In 2006, he revived it for a stage show, which would be released two years later as Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse. As Hermes put it, "The performance was frequently gorgeous and a bitter pill: magnificent, overwrought, pretentious, full of thematic misogyny." In other words, it's a lot — and it deals in far more than you-know-what quality.
"Lots of content in life is depressing," DeCicca says, "but that doesn't mean you write off people's experiences as not being worth engaging with."
Half a century on, Berlin isn't merely worth engaging with — it remains brazen and captivating, a looking glass into the heart of darkness.
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
What Was 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' Almost Called? 5 Facts About Pink Floyd's Masterpiece Ahead Of The 50th Anniversary Boxed Set
Pink Floyd's 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' has maintained its philosophical, psychological and exploratory power for 50 years. Here are five off-the-beaten-path things to know about it.
Rarely do a mere prism and spectrum of light signify so much.
The cover of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon is recognizable by all denizens of the Western world, rock fan or not. For so many, it also opens a treasure box of associations: The themes of irth and death, greed and madness, and the relentless tick-tock of time. An ecstatic vocal aria. The specter of a departed Syd Barrett. The lunatic on the grass. Money: it's a gas.
After half a century of headphone-clad zone-outs and The Wizard of Oz re-rewatches, The Dark Side of the Moon transcends mere codification and ubiquity; it remains a work of uncommon perceptiveness, concision and ingenuity. And the arrival of a new boxed set invites listeners back through the gates of its mind-expanding, incisive, philosophical universe.
The Dark Side of the Moon — 50th Anniversary Boxed Set, out Mar. 24, encompasses a lavish array of ways to re-experience this classic rock staple. The set includes CD and gatefold vinyl of the newly remastered studio album, as well as Blu-Ray/DVD audio featuring the original 5.1 mix and remastered stereo versions, as well as a diamond-sharp Atmos mix.
Just as enticing is a CD and LP of The Dark Side Of The Moon - Live At Wembley Empire Pool, London, 1974, which illuminates how an album that stretched the boundaries of the studio took on new dimensions on stage. When you see Roger Waters continue to stage ambitious, polemic productions across the globe, trace a line backward to Floyd's culture-shaking live show 50 years ago.
Roger Waters Sought Unprecedented Lyrical Clarity
The Dark Side of the Moon wasn't just a leap forward aurally, or conceptually: the band had never been so vivid and specific with their words.
"I think we all thought — and Roger definitely thought — that a lot of the lyrics that we had been using were a little too indirect," Gilmour told Rolling Stone in 2003, referring to past albums like Obscured by Clouds and Meddle. "There was definitely a feeling that the words were going to be very clear and specific. That was a big leap forward."
Thus, the band produced a work of thematic depth and concision, full of unforgettable one-liners like "All you touch and all you see/ Is all your life will ever be" and "There's someone in my head/ But it's not me."
Clare Torry Was Paid Just £30 For Her Vocal Performance
Despite the singer's lack of name recognition, millions and millions have heard Clare Torry's voice. Her cyclonic, wordless aria on "The Great Gig in the Sky" — they nixed a first attempt, partly on account of the word "baby" — is one of the most memorable parts of The Dark Side of the Moon.
So it might be surprising to hear that Torry was paid a standard rate of £30 for her work — and ended up suing the band in 2004 for a songwriting credit and lost wages. (The case was settled out of court.)
It Could Have Been Called Eclipse, With The Silver Surfer On The Cover
When a now-obscure band called Medicine Head released an album called Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd's desired title seemed under threat.
"We weren't annoyed at Medicine Head," Gilmour later said. "We were annoyed because we had already thought of the title before the Medicine Head album came out." But when Medicine Head's album failed commercially, the door was open to proceed as planned.
And, accordingly, while Pink Floyd desired the prismatic cover as soon as they saw it, the band had previously kicked around the idea of a Marvel superhero on the album sleeve.
"We were all into Marvel Comics, and the Silver Surfer seemed to be another fantastic singular image," Aubrey Power of art design group Hipgnosis remembered. "We never would have got permission to use it. But we liked the image of a silver man, on a silver surfboard, scooting across the universe. It had mystical, mythical properties. Very cosmic, man!"
The Band Performed The Album In Its Entirety A Year Prior To Release
Throughout 1972, the band performed a proto version of The Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics (its addendum at the time) in sequence. They also refined the song cycle as one continuous piece, with transitions at all, eventually landing on the continuum of music we know and love today.
That being said, there were significant differences in these nascent live versions — for example, "On the Run" was a guitar and keyboard jam, and "The Great Gig in the Sky" was hung on an organ solo, not a vocal solo.
There's A Beatles-Related Easter Egg Near The End
Paul McCartney, then finishing Wings' Red Rose Speedway, was among the various interview subjects interspliced into the finished project — but as his appearance was a comedic put-on against the band's wishes, they scrapped his appearance. But that doesn't mean there's no Fabs on The Dark Side of the Moon.
Near the end of "Eclipse," during the famous "Matter of fact, it's all dark" quip an orchestral version of "Ticket to Ride" can be faintly heard. This detail among so many others is more audible than ever in the new remaster — where the light shines through clearer than ever.