Nick Mason is certainly the silent but violent one in Pink Floyd; ie. he hits things for a living and doesn’t open his mouth much. Despite the drummer being the only band member to play on everything the group have ever made, he only ever contributed one vocal – on ‘One of These Days’ from 1971’s ‘Meddle’ – and it was just one line, slowed down to scare the pants off the listener.
Hipgnosis, the team behind most of Pink Floyd’s album covers, actually presented the band with the inverted swimmer that would eventually become the cover of Def Leppard’s iconic ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ album, for ‘Atom Heart Mother’. The band rejected it and opted for the cow instead.
Recorded in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon stayed on the Billboard Chart (top 200) for more than 800 weeks straight, a record that will take some beating.
‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ was the best selling album in the world for a while (it is still third best seller ever), shifting so many units that one in 12 people is said to own a copy.
Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ – the bellwether of concept albums – has sold around 33 million albums to date, someway behind Dark Side of the Moon’s 50 million, but no slouch nonetheless.
The laughter heard on ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ tracks ‘Speak to Me’ and ‘Brain Damage’ came from Peter Watts, a Pink Floyd road manager at the time. Watts died of a heroin overdose in 1976.
Dark Side of the Moon is said to sync perfectly with The Wizard of Oz and led to conspiracy theories that the band had written it with that purpose in mind. To quell the rumours, Nick Mason said they’d intended to soundtrack The Sound of Music instead.
On the cover of ‘Wish You Were Here’, two businessmen shake hands, one of whom is on fire. He was actually on fire, if only briefly. Played by a stuntman in a fire retardant suit under his actual suit (a wig covered a hood too) the shot was done for real (and the wind blowing the wrong way apparently singed the stuntman’s moustache).
One of Pink Floyd’s most iconic covers is ‘Animals’ – Pink Floyd’s 10th studio album – featuring Battersea Power Station and in the distance a flying pig. The porcine balloon and the title were both in reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm which informed much of the lyrical content.
Oddly enough the epic ‘Echoes’ from ‘Meddle’ seems to fit the final sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey rather well, no doubt spotted by another person with too much weed and time on their hands.