Dark Side of the Moon, for some, is like having the bible- you may not even touch it that much while its there in your house, but it might be a comfort that it is. Like only a handful of albums I can think of, Pink Floyd's immeasurably successful Dark Side of the Moon has been bought probably by more people than any other album since Louis Armstrong's peak in the 30's. It had the stream of consciousness effect that goes beyond surrealism, just into the realm of the unknown, and that plus its themes, played phenomenally to what its core audience was at the time (of the late 60's people, who remembered very freshly the days of the brilliantly insane Syd Barrett). But like all timeless pieces of music (I'm not sure if it's comparable to the great classical masterpieces of Mozart and Bach and Stravinski, but some may want to), it outlasts the sort of 'period' appeal; it was many years ahead of its time, leaping off on the possibilities of electronics and synthesizers that got its first grounding by Townsend with Who's Next. And like most works of art, its totally open to interpretation- a wild dream, a science-fiction parable (I would almost compare it to Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced as one of the all-time champions of a kind of sci-fi rock of sorts), a fusion of blues and "progressive rock"? And it contains some of Floyd's best songs; my personal favorites are "Us & Them", "Time", and "The Great Gig in the Sky", the later of which doesn't seem to get as much airplay as the rest of the album, but is as emotional (i.e. goosebumps) to listen to as an aria would be for an Opera lover.
But one could go on and on talking and analyzing the album. Here, we have another in the series of "classic album" videos, here with all of the original members of the Dark Side sessions in interviews. We get from Roger Waters details on how the album's themes came to him and how he would start off the recording process with demos. Then, with Alan Parsons as their sort of 'technical adviser', they leaped off into just any territory they could go; this was a logical progression from their previous work, Meddle. One interesting anecdote for me is that Michelangelo Antonioni, who used some of Floyd's songs for his one and only American film Zabriskie Point (with the unforgettable ending featuring "Careful with that Axe, Eugene). Although it is a downer that Antonioni didn't know the great song at his feet they presented "Us & Them", Waters' imitation of Antonioni's response after first hearing it is amusing. We also get the original members playing parts of the songs (as is expected with these specials), and going through and taking apart the songs track by track. This is engrossing even if you're not much of a Floyd fan- to see how these different parts came together, notably the blue-collar and random voices on some tracks- is to see how music changed radically in the 70's.
My one complaint about the special, as is with the other 'classic albums' specials I think, is that we don't get at least one full performance. We get samplings of "Us & Them" (with some good accompanying music-video type footage here and there) and "Money", but nothing really complete. In a way I liked more so how the Dark Side sessions were covered in the 1972 film Live at Pompeii, where the band were still recording the album and still laying down tracks, there you heard complete sections as the band played individually in looping. Here its more nostalgic in the interviews, and not as imaginative "it's like, extensions of our heads", David Gilmour once said. If only it were a little more complete unto itself. Still, this is a minor squabble, and it shouldn't interfere with any Floyd fan, or maybe just curious music fan, to check it out. The extras on the DVD version are also memorable, more Waters musings, and a few more musical bits. One thing that can be said, they don't make em' like this anymore.