Five Pink Floyd Songs on the Road to ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’
Back in June, I launched a new feature series on the online version of Goldmine Magazine. Calling it “Take 5,” I took the opportunity to dig into some trivia, share some fun historical tidbits, and showcase some often overlooked music. About two months after each of those runs, I archive them here on Musoscribe. Here’s the first of what I hope will be a long series of quick and perhaps even entertaining posts. — bk
After Syd Barrett left the band in 1968, Pink Floyd could have broken up. Barrett was their front man, primary songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist. But instead – with new guitarist David Gilmour – they rallied, and in less than five years they created one of rock’s landmark albums, The Dark Side of the Moon. Here are five little-known songs that charted their development toward that historic release.
“The Embryo” – A rare track that didn’t appear with the band’s permission on an LP until 1983, “The Embryo” was an early ‘70s concert tour de force, making full use of the band’s “Azimuth Coordinator,” a joystick device that brought three-dimensional audio to the concert hall.
“Cymbaline” – One of the band’s most popular pre-Dark Side numbers, it was the “nightmare” section of a conceptual work called The Man and the Journey. “Cymbaline” featured a thrilling live arrangement that its studio counterpart (on More) only hinted at.
“Green is the Colour” – A gentle acoustic number on 1969’s More, this Roger Waters tune developed into a dramatic showpiece live onstage.
“Fat Old Sun” – Never the group’s most prolific songwriter, David Gilmour nonetheless created compelling works. This track from 1970’s Atom Heart Mother is another song that began as an acoustic guitar recording, but onstage it blossomed into an electric guitar soundscape extravaganza.
“Childhood’s End” – 1972’s Obscured by Clouds was made immediately before Dark Side of the Moon, and the two records share some notable sonic characteristics. Loosely inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel of the same name, “Childhood’s End” is one of Gilmour’s finest compositions.
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance, and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, is available now from HoZac Books. Read even more about him here.