The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress has announced 25 recordings selected for preservation, and Pink Floyd’s legendary The Dark Side of the Moon, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend, is among the additions.
The Registry adds recordings every year based on their “cultural, artistic and historic importance to the nation’s aural legacy,” as they explain in a press release. Dark Side of the Moon received the most public nominations out of this year’s selections. Other recordings added to the National Recording Registry this year include Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”, Simon & Garfunkel’s album Sounds of Silence, Cheap Thrills from Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company, and The Ramones’ self-titled debut album.
The significance of Dark Side is obvious to Pink Floyd fans, but those less familiar with the record may not understand just how innovative the recording of the album was for its time.
The Registry describes in detail the unique recording techniques used by the band:
The album is notable for the close vocal harmonies of Richard Wright and David Gilmour and for the double tracking of voices and guitars. More unusual effects include the flanged choir in “Time,” the precisely placed delays in “Us and Them,” and a tape loop at the beginning of “Money” that was so long a microphone stand had to be used to hold it up. Band member Roger Waters interviewed studio staff and others responding to a series of flash card questions, then used snippets of their answers throughout the album.
So, that last part explains all those crazy voices you hear sprinkled throughout the album. You can hear much of the innovation from the album in the clip above for the instrumental track “On The Run.”
Just keep in mind that they did all this in 1973, when such techniques were barely used or even known.
Those who are wondering “What took them so long!?” should know that the Registry didn’t add any recordings this year from post-1980, and every selection needs to be at least 10 years old. Still, it usually takes longer than a decade for a recording’s true level of significance to be recognized…Even though one could argue Dark Side became significant the second the first batch of vinyls hit the shelves.
The honor comes just in time for Dark Side of the Moon’s 40th anniversary, which CBS Radio has celebrated all week. DJs across America shared their thoughts on the album, while a global listening party is set to take place this weekend. Read an archival interview with the late Richard Wright about Dark Side Of The Moon here.
– Matt Dolloff, 100.7 WZLX.