Saturday, May 03, 2003


BBC 2 highlights the thirtieth anniversary of Pink Floyd's multiple platinum-selling 'Dark Side of the Moon' with a television documentary about its making tonight (strictly, tomorrow) at 12.40 am. The album marked the end of an era of artistic creativity in mainstream popular music which began (or, at least, found its iconic moment) with 'Sergeant Pepper'. King Crimson's 'Red' and Yes' 'Relayer' represented (with brooding 'metal for intellectuals' and steely jazz-rock, respectively) the most adventurous limits of non-underground progressive rock the following year. The BBC guide has it about right:

"Contextually speaking this was the Floyd's saving grace. By 1972 they'd firmly claimed the avant garde (read: musically unadventurous but prone to hitting large gongs and setting fire to stuff onstage) art rock mainstream as their own playground. Yet these middle-class boys still craved, like, bread, man. After a prolonged period of fumbling soundtracks for European arthouse movies they'd finally emerged from under the shadow of founder/visionary/lost-marble icon, Syd Barrett with a coherently beautiful album, 'Meddle'. Roger Waters had some big ideas about madness, life, death and all that deep stuff. EMI had a rather splendid studio with some top-notch engineers. Six months later...voila!"

Actually, the album that really deserves to be remembered from 1973 is the wrongly derided and much misunderstood Yes epic, 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'. About which, more anon...

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