Alright, now let’s get to brass taxes here. It is 1997, the spring of that year. You’re in fifth grade, ready to embark on the next chapter of your life as you enter middle school. Music at the time was great. Raging from Smashing Pumpkins, Michael Jackson, and Radiohead was blaring on the radio before the dreadful sounds of what would be known as the boy band-era, and the horseshit nonsense of the Spice Girls.
You want something that is fresh, something powerful, something swirling around you. Music was always an escape for me, KKRW Classic Rock 93.7, The Arrow was my choice of radio music along with Oldies 94.5 KLDE where I heard not just The Beatles, but The Who, Led Zeppelin, ‘60s Motown, ‘50s rock-and-roll, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and of course, Pink Floyd.
If you had enough money by helping your mom out, you would go to Soundwaves and buy Dark Side of the Moon for the first time. While The Wall was my introduction to the band’s music, their eighth studio album was where the term “game changer” had begun.
I first became aware of Dark Side when my dad took me to the Burke Baker Planetarium where I saw them do a Laser Show presentation originally of The Beatles’ 1967 classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band many Milky Way’s ago at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
For a young kid like myself, discovering Dark Side of the Moon for the first time, as they played the album with all the glorious display of the laser lights, coming from one place to another, it was both an eye, and an ear listening experience from top to bottom. And yes, people did get stoned after the show!
This was a chance during that time frame, to jump onto the gravy train, and get into this band’s music and become a fan. And for nearly 26 years, their music still holds up to me. And I still have it in my iPod touch where it will never be deleted.
Reaching number 1 on the Billboard charts for nearly 18 years for 972 weeks, they weren’t mainstream, they were never superstars, but they’ve chose their music to present to audiences across the world. And please don’t get me started on the whole Wizard of Oz synchronicity, please don’t get me started on that do-goody-good, bullshit.
Whenever I would go with my parents either to Corpus Christi, Austin, or San Antonio, their music had stayed with me, for nearly 26 years. And why, why is it that Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking masterpiece still holds up? I guess it because that it speaks volume about what was it like, living in the modern world by balancing on the biggest wave, and hanging desperation is the English way.
Roger Waters’ lyrical textures, detail the themes of life, death, greed, corruption, and traveling. It’s the empathy of what we do for our daily lives. From the swirling VCS3 sounds of a pummelling arrangement with ‘On The Run’, the gospel-like vocalisations of Clare Torry’s soaring textures from ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’, the weirdest time-signature with a bluesy-funky midsection of Wright’s wah-wah organ pedals for ‘Money’ thanks to Dick Parry’s sax solo, or Gilmour’s psychedelic improve between the harder rock vibes on ‘Time’ and ‘Any Colour You Like’ before segueing into the climax insanity of ‘Brain Damage’ and ‘Eclipse’, the Floyd spoke volume.
Roger, David, Nick, and Richard, made sure that they kept the spirit of Syd Barrett in this album. Knowing that continuing on without him after he left in April 1968 as they became an underground band from their early years until hitting the big time, Pink Floyd was, and still is, the joy that carries with us from the past, present, and now.
While Syd and Rick have passed on into the afterlife, and whatever we may think of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Nick Mason, the legacy of the Floyd’s music will keep on going. So if the dam breaks open, many years too soon, and if there is no moon upon the hill. And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.
So put on Dark Side of the Moon now. Because it will never, ever, ever die. It will stay with you for years to come. And inspired the next generation to discover the band’s music for the first time. And as Babe Ruth from The Sandlot once said, “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid.”