Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon': Album-Length Tributes
Pink Floyd soared to No. 13 with the lead single from The Dark Side of the Moon, but the album has always been about much more than "Money." Released in March 1973, it's hailed today as one of rock's best full-length experiences.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of artists were inspired to create their own long-form updates. The following list of entire-album tributes spans both genres and generations, working as a testament to the record's striking longevity.
The Dark Side of the Moon was actually only No. 1 for one week, but it ultimately remained on the charts until July 1988 – for a total of 736 weeks. Pink Floyd then memorably returned to the pages of Billboard for another 15 years with the advent of the Top Pop Catalog chart, which tracks popular older albums.
Even in the modern era of single song-focused streaming, The Dark Side of the Moon lost none of its appeal to music buyers. Decades later, the album was still selling about 200 copies daily. A solar eclipse in 2017 also sent Pink Floyd to the top of the iTunes' Top Album chart.
With that kind of longevity and cultural resonance, is it any surprise that so many others have decided to take on the whole thing? Heck, even members of Pink Floyd themselves have done it. Here's a look back.
Pink Floyd, 'Pulse' (1995)
Pulse chronicled Pink Floyd's Division Bell tour, which turned out to be their last. Towards the end of the American leg, the band began playing The Dark Side of the Moon in the second set, and it carried over to their European dates. That led directly to the release of this live project. "The reason for Pulse is Dark Side of the Moon, obviously," David Gilmour later said. "We weren't going to do a live album for this tour; it seemed a bit superfluous having just done one [1988's Delicate Sound of Thunder] a few years ago."
London Philharmonic Orchestra, 'Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd' (1995)
The London Philharmonic Orchestra did their own deep dive into Pink Floyd's catalog a year after the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, performing updated versions of "Time," "Brain Damage," "Breathe," "Money," "The Great Gig in the Sky" and, of course, "Us and Them." The cover was painted by Roger Dean, best known for his long-running collaboration with Yes.
Phish, West Valley City, Utah (1998)
Phish have traditionally covered entire albums on Halloween. They switched things up in 1998, however, playing The Dark Side of the Moon two days later at the "E" Center in West Valley City, Utah. The band reportedly made the decision, according to phish.net, in the hopes of boosting ticket sales for that night. Before then, the only Dark Side song Phish had performed was "The Great Gig in the Sky."
The Squirrels, 'The Not So Bright Side of the Moon' (2000)
Hailing from Seattle, the Squirrels have gained notoriety for having an irreverent approach to mashing up genres. In 2000, they applied it to The Dark Side of the Moon.
Easy Star All-Stars, 'Dub Side of the Moon' (2003)
This reggae-inspired tribute was recorded by a collection of artists from Jamaica's Easy Star label. Dub Side of the Moon was so successful that they put out a remix of it as Dubber Side of the Moon seven years later.
Dream Theater, 'Official Bootleg' (2006)
Dream Theater covered The Dark Side of the Moon on Oct. 25, 2005, at London's Hammersmith Apollo. They released it the following year as part of the band's Official Bootleg series. A bonus disc featured live versions of seven other Pink Floyd songs; Queensryche guested on "Comfortably Numb."
Various Artists, 'Return to the Dark Side of the Moon' (2006)
Billy Sherwood of Yes has frequently organized tribute albums where all-star bands of progressive rockers cover an artist's catalog. Return to the Dark Side of the Moon featured guest turns by Tommy Shaw, Steve Howe, Aynsley Dunbar, Robby Krieger, Steve Lukather, John Wetton, Tony Levin and Geoff Downes.
Rockabye Baby!, 'Lullaby Renditions of Pink Floyd' (2006)
Rockabye Baby! has been putting out infant-friendly versions of rock songs since 2006. A tribute to Pink Floyd was one of their first installments.
Voices on the Dark Side, 'Dark Side of the Moon a Capella' (2007)
This recording features nine voices – including eight singers and one vocal percussionist – in a recreation of The Dark Side of the Moon done without any other instruments. Dark Side of the Moon a Capella was later nominated for best contemporary pop/rock album by the Contemporary A Capella Society.
Flaming Lips, 'The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing the Dark Side of the Moon' (2009)
It was only fitting that the Flaming Lips took on Dark Side. After all, they are the indie-rock heirs to Pink Floyd's early spacey indulgences. Doing the Dark Side of the Moon was released digitally in 2009; a vinyl edition came out the next year for Record Store Day. The Flaming Lips were joined by Stardeath and White Dwarfs, a psych-rock band from their hometown of Norman, Okla., Henry Rollins (who did the spoken-word passages) and Peaches (who sang "The Great Gig in the Sky").
Poor Man's Whiskey, 'Dark Side of the Moonshine' (2009)
Hailing from Northern California, Poor Man's Whiskey have been mixing bluegrass with a Southern rock/jam-band approach since the early '00s. Their complete-album cover of The Dark Side of the Moon was paired with a second disc of originals.
Mary Fahl, 'From the Dark Side of the Moon' (2011)
Mary Fahl, who fronted October Project in the mid-'90s, handled all of the vocals on this update, while producer Mark Doyle performed the music. From the Dark Side of the Moon was shelved, however, when Fahl's label restructured due to financial difficulties. She released it independently in 2011.
The Sound of Apskaft, 'Apskaft Presents: The Dark Side of the Monkey' (2012)
The Sound of Apskaft is a DIY avant-garde collective founded in 2007 in Sweden by Jonas Lind. Their label's logo is a cartoon monkey, so naturally they titled their Pink Floyd tribute The Dark Side of the Monkey, and replaced the original's prism on the cover with their symbol.
Various Artists, 'Return to the Dark Side of the Moon' (2011)
Mojo asked modern bands like Our Broken Garden, Wolf People and the Pineapple Thief to record new versions of Dark Side songs in conjunction with a special collectors edition of the magazine devoted to Pink Floyd. Return to the Dark Side of the Moon was packaged along with a similar treatment of Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Both tribute records were commercially released on vinyl.
Tom Stoppard penned what he said was a "philosophical comedy" in honor of the Pink Floyd classic's 40th anniversary. Simply titled Darkside, it aired as a radio play on BBC 2. "I used a lot of the album – well, all of it other than the lyrics – as a kind of underscore," Stoppard explained. "I was picking up emotional cues from the music."
Various Artists, 'Dubstep Side of the Moon' (2013)
As the dubstep craze took hold in the early '10s, the sonic connection between EDM and psychedelic rock was deepened by Dubstep Side of the Moon. Various DJs – including Rim Geaper, SaumG and Virus Syndicate – offered remixes of 2006's proggy Return to the Dark Side of the Moon, which was released on the same label.
Gov't Mule, 'Dark Side of the Mule' (2014)
Gov't Mule incorporated a tribute to Pink Floyd into a Halloween show at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, playing the first half of Dark Side plus "Money" and other songs. They released it as Dark Side of the Mule in 2014, then returned to Pink Floyd a year later at Mountain Jam.
Various Artists, 'Doom Side of the Moon' (2017)
Metal seemed to be the only genre that hadn't done its own Dark Side tribute. That was definitively resolved when Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt spearheaded Doom Side of the Moon. “The idea came to me after getting baked and wanting to hear a heavy version of 'Time,'" Shutt said. He got together with some like-minded musicians to fashion their own.
Roger Waters, 'The Dark Side of the Moon Redux' (2023)
This reinterpretation of his former band’s famous album finds Roger Waters stripping down The Dark Side of the Moon into moody, ambient pieces. None of his former bandmates are featured. “I’m immensely proud of what we have created, a work that can sit proudly alongside the original, hand-in-hand across a half-century of time," Waters said in a news release. "The original Dark Side of the Moon feels in some ways like the lament of an elder being on the human condition," he added, but Pink Floyd was "so young when we made it – and when you look at the world around us, clearly the message hasn’t stuck. That’s why I started to consider what the wisdom of an 80-year-old could bring to a re-imagined version."
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