Tag Archives: Meddle

July 24th 1973

“Went to get £3.50 from the Halifax – difficult job. Went up Trev’s for the day and borrowed Fragile, Dark Side of the Moon + Greasy Truckers Party”

I wonder why it would have been difficult for me to have withdrawn £3.50 from the Halifax? Perhaps it threatened to bring down the entire UK banking system?

Both Yes’ “Fragile” and the live compilation album “Greasy Truckers Party” have been commented on in these pages before. The only thing I find odd is why I would have borrowed them both again – as those previous entries would seem to suggest I had already committed them to tape. Maybe I was forced to ration my own C-90’s, taping over recordings on more of a regular basis than I would have (probably) liked?

I’m not sure what I can add by way of online comments to the third album I refer to in today’s diary entry… but why don’t I give it a shot?…

Who, in 1973, could have predicted what Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” would achieve over the next 35+ years in terms of sales and/or influence?

Music industry figures suggest that this 1973 album has sold in excess of 45 million copies worldwide since its release. That’s Forty-Five MILLION copies!

At it’s time of release I guess it was relatively unique, most certainly in terms of its packaging.

Once again – just as they did with Floyd’s prior “Atom Heart Mother” and “Meddle” – Hipgnosis design founders Storm Thorgeson & Aubrey Powell conjured up something special. George Hardie was actually the artist who came up with the (now iconic beyond belief) prism cover, a design that, apparently, was ‘merely’ one of at least ten presented to the band for their eventual approval. (I wonder if we will ever see the nine rejected ideas?)

The album sleeve opened up to reveal how the prism’s light source had morphed into “heartbeat” soundwaves, accompanied by song lyrics. The prism design was repeated (but reversed) on the rear of the sleeve, specifically, it has been suggested – and this was a masterful decision if true – to enable record stores to display visually-impressive continuous lines of the album in their storage racks.

To complete the packaging, Thorgeson and Co included not just a pair of fold out posters inside the sleeve (both destined for dorm roon walls across the world ad infinitum), but also a pair of small peel-back (crackback) stickers depicting the prism/pyramid theme.

Pink Floyd’s name is mentioned nowhere except on the “concert” poster. Just as with their prior albums EMI hated this notion, but were forced to accept it as part of their contractual agreement with the band.

To say this album pushed Floyd into the musical stratosphere is something of an understatement. Sure, the band had enjoyed commercial success – of a kind – with “Meddle“, but DSOTM took them to an entirely different level altogether.

The cut “Money” was released as a single in the USA reaching #13 in the Billboard charts, propelling sales of the album beyond the band’s wildest dreams. (No singles were released in the UK).

It was the #1 album in America for – and this seems astonishing now – just ONE solitary week in April 1973, BUT then remained in the Billboard “Hot 200″ for 741 consecutive weeks thereafter (that’s 14 years and 3 months) before sales rules were changed and it was ‘demoted’ (stupidly in my opinion) to no more than a ‘back catalogue” album. Even now, some 26 years after its release, its estimated that it sells almost 10,000 copies a week in the USA alone. There are artists out there who would probably donate a body part for sales like that per ANNUM, let alone per week.

Not bad for a concept album about mental illness and what makes us mad.

I’ve listened to the album WAY too many times to even begin to remember what I might have initially thought about it in July 1973. (Not – as most of you will have come to realise – there’s much of a chance I would have remembered anyway, but you know what I mean)

There’s no doubting how much of a musical classic it is, even if parts of it have begun to grate on me over the years. “Money” is, sadly for me, another of those played-too-often-in-rotation cuts on “Classic Rock” stations across the entire USA… to such a degree that I am now heartily sick of hearing it. Also, and perhaps sacrilegiously for some, “Great Gig in the Sky” has always appeared somewhat ‘dirge’-like to me. When I used to play the vinyl, I would always listen to it, but when I got the album on CD it was a track I would invariably skip. (Now, I don’t think I even have the cut on my i-Pod?)

Like a lot of other people though it’s an album I wouldn’t want to be without. I’ve almost lost count of how many copies I’ve owned since that (doubtless recorded) tape version in 1973. Several vinyl copies, a legal cassette version for the car and almost every CD issue and reissue. It’s almost impossible to calculate how many babies might have been conceived – or virginities might have been taken – or plans may have been hatched – to the aural sounds of this album, but I bet the figures are staggering. It’s just one of “those” albums that everybody has and thinks they should have.

I wish I had one tenth of one tenth of half the royalties/residuals Roger Waters receives every quarter for sales of – and to give it’s full and PROPER title… which not everyone realises – The Dark Side of the Moon

Finally, for this lengthy post… some Dark Side of the Moon irrelevant trivia…
• The album was originally going to be entitled “The Dark Side of the Moon” until Floyd and EMI realised that the band Medicine Head had just released an album of the same name. Waters retitled the album “Eclipse” but it was swapped back to TDSOTM when the Medicine Head album disappeared without trace in terms of sales or recognition.
• Wings’ guitarist Henry McCullough supplied the spoken line “I dunno, I was really drunk at the time”, whilst actress Naomi Watts’ dad was one of the insane chucklers during “Brain Damage” and “Speak to Me
• Some of the early profits from the album were used to help make the movie masterpiece “Monty Python & the Holy Grail
• Yes – and perhaps predictably – my wife and I have attempted the “Dark Side of the Rainbow” phenomenon which suggests that the album’s core concepts and lyrics line up perfectly as a mildly head-tripping soundtrack to the movie “The Wizard from Oz“. You need to try the experiment yourself and decide whether it works or not.


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September 16th 1972

“went up trevs for afternoon – bor’d Meddle, Argus, If 2 / City 2, Spurs 1”

City spank Tottenham whilst I apparently purloin three more albums to commit to tape…

Pink Floyd’s Meddle was the band’s 1971 precursor to “Dark Side of the Moon“. It includes amongst its 6 cuts the fantastic freefall 24-minute opus, “Echoes“, which is an ambitious meandering testament to ‘all that is prog’. 

Meddle is an album recorded so perfectly – at least to my ears – that I actually used (Side 1, Track 1) “One of These Days” as my ‘hi-fi tester’ for years afterwards, the cut’s sonic extremes often pushing speakers to their limits, proving their worth or (more often) not.

(Sidenote:- I herein wish to unreservedly apologise to all those ‘stereo salesmen’ who I have inadvertently pissed off over the past 3½ decades!)

Meddle also features the track “Fearless“, which sticks in most people’s minds – including mine – not just for Waters & Gilmour’s self composition but also for interpolating a recording of an emotional (is there another kind?) kop-full of Liverpool FC supporters singing the football ‘hymn’ “You’ll Never Walk Alone“.

Trivia freaks may care to know that “You’ll Never Walk Alone“, far from being a Gerry Marsden composition (as many people wrongly assume), was actually written by Rodgers & Hammerstein for the cheesy 1945 musical “Carousel

Personally, I deem Meddle to be WAY up there with Floyd’s best output and I think it has benefited over the years from not being over-exposed like DarkSOTM. (American “classic rock” radio really does have a way of overplaying such a tiny handful of songs until you are completely sick of them… I count Floyd’s “Money” amongst that handful)

Voted Sounds’ Best Rock album of 1972, Argus was the big one for Devon’s Wishbone Ash.

The band’s twin-guitar sound (guitarists Ted Turner and Andy Powell) – an idea ripped off, but not copied, from The Allman Brothers – finally paid dividends on Argus, with cuts such as “Time Was” and “Blowin’ Free” ensuring the album its rightful place amongst prog rock classics.

More recently I have – for want of a better phrase – ‘rediscovered’ this album. I’ve found it to be the perfect accompaniment to my early morning walks in and around the neighbourhood we now live, it’s rhythms often marrying my stride beat for beat. Now, considering I have almost 900 albums loaded on my i-Pod that’s no small testimony to how well it has stood the test of time!

The band if  (they always wanted it spelled in lower case) are hardly a household name some 36-years later, but in the seventies they were the closest thing the UK had to mirroring the jazz/rock brassy rhythms US bands such as Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago were pumping out across the Atlantic.

To be fair, it was probably their very diversity that stifled them from becoming a mainstream success. They didn’t exactly fit the ‘prog rock’ category very well – too many horns – and they were far too heavy a sound for jazz purists.

I don’t know how long I kept my tape recording of if2, but I’m being honest when I say I couldn’t name you one cut or recognise one track from this album if it was played to me now. However, remembering it via this diary entry has made me somewhat nostalgically curious as to what it sounded like, so I think I may have to find a preview or two online for old times sake… if only to discover if what I hear stirs up any memories.

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