Floyd's 'Dark Side' Celebrates Chart Milestone
On March 17, 1973, a band in musical transition named Pink Floyd hit the Top 200 chart with the release of its new album, "Dark Side of the Moon." It entered the chart at No. 95, the top debut that weOn March 17, 1973, a band in musical transition named Pink Floyd hit the Top 200 chart with the release of its new album, "Dark Side of the Moon." It entered the chart at No. 95, the top debut that week. And then a funny thing happened: It never left. Or almost never, anyway.
More than 14 years later -- 736 weeks to be precise -- in July 1988, it finally fell off The Billboard 200. Add in a later run on that chart and another 759 weeks on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, and Pink Floyd, with this issue, reaches the staggering plane of 1,500 weeks on the charts.
It's difficult to contextualize just how singularly dominant a chart -- and cultural -- force the album has been. The runner-up for time served on The Billboard 200, Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend," is several years behind, and Floyd's lead in total chart weeks is greater Marley's by an almost 2-1 margin.
Label sources say "Dark Side" has sold roughly 40 million copies worldwide and still routinely moves 8,000-9,000 copies on a slow week. In fact, the album still often outpaces the low end of The Billboard 200, and every song on the more than 30-year-old record still gets radio play, with some among the most-played songs at classic rock stations monitored by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.
"When the record was finished, I took a reel-to-reel copy home with me, and I remember playing it for my wife then, and her bursting into tears when it was finished," Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters tells Billboard. "And I thought, 'This has obviously struck a chord.' I was kinda pleased by that. I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is a pretty complete piece of work,' and I had every confidence that people would respond to it."
As previously reported, Waters plans to play the album in its entirety on his upcoming tour, an idea he says spawned from a request by Formula I.
"Somebody rather fancifully suggested Pink Floyd playing 'Dark Side of the Moon, and somebody else rather fancifully approached various people who said, 'Are you f***ing insane? It's not going to happen.' So they asked me ... The more I've worked on it, the more the idea has grown on me. I'm going downtown as we speak to work on visuals for 'Dark Side of the Moon' and the rest of the show. I've got a great band together, and I have every hope that we will do the work justice."
Additional reporting by Christa Titus and Ray Waddell.