The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 1 March 1973 by Harvest Records. The album built on ideas explored in earlier recordings and live shows, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterised their earlier work. Its themes explore conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by the deteriorating mental state of founding member and principal contributor, Syd Barrett.
Developed during live performances, an early version was premiered several months before recording began; new material was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road in London. The group used some advanced recording techniques at the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesizers were prominent in several tracks, and snippets from recorded interviews with Pink Floyd’s road crew and others provided philosophical quotations throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was responsible for many distinctive sonic aspects and the recruitment of singer Clare Torry. The album’s iconic sleeve was designed by Storm Thorgerson; following keyboardist Richard Wright’s request for a “simple and bold” design, it depicts a prism spectrum, representing the band’s lighting and the record’s themes.
The Dark Side of the Moon was a commercial and critical success. It topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week and remained in the chart for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most successful album and one of the best-selling worldwide. It has been remastered and re-released several times, and covered in its entirety by several acts. It produced two singles, “Money” and “Us and Them”. It is often ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time.