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Investigating: "DARK SIDE OF THE RAINBOW"
Once Upon a Time...
Rumors began to circulate about a strange connection between Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and the MGM classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939). The story goes that if you properly synchronize the film and the album, a number of coincidental events occur.
So many, in fact, that there is quite a multitude of fans convinced that Pink Floyd intentionally created Dark Side of the Moon as an alternative soundtrack to the film. Just to cite a few examples, side one of the LP is the same length as the first black-and-white segment of the movie; "The Great Gig in the Sky" begins as the tornado approaches Dorothy's farm, builds as the storm worsens, and slows when Dorothy is knocked unconscious; "Brain Damage" plays as the Scarecrow sings "If I Only Had a Brain"; and the album concludes with the sound of a heartbeat as Dorothy puts her hand on the Tin Woodsman's chest.
Over time this rumor has taken on a life of its own and inspired many people to try to find other "synchronicities" between films and albums.
Also known as Dark Side of Oz
The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title The Dark Side of the Moon and the film's song "Over the Rainbow."
Pink Floyd band members have repeatedly insisted that the phenomenon is coincidence. In an interview for the 25th anniversary of the album, guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour denied that the album was intentionally written to be synchronized with Oz, saying "Some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea with combining Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon." Richard Wright "swore on his family" that the band had not intended to do anything of the sort. When asked about the coincidental events between the album and the movie, Nick Mason stated, "I haven't [watched The Wizard of Oz synchronized with Dark Side of the Moon]. But I hope someone else will do it when I'm there. I can never quite be bothered to do it. I can assure you we never worked with the film when we were working on the track. That would be so convoluted a way of making a record." Alan Parsons, who was the engineer on Dark Side of the Moon, said that no one in the band had discussed The Wizard of Oz while they were making the album.
The record company, EMI-Capitol Entertainment Properties, has made no effort to counter the rumor. In the weeks following the mainstream newsmedia reports, EMI-Capitol reported that they were having trouble keeping up with demand for copies of Dark Side of the Moon, as sales had doubled. Bruce Kirkland, chief of EMI-Capitol, said, "It's happening at an organic, grass-roots level, but we're into fueling it.... Why Not? It's not harmful, it's not exploitative, and nobody died. It's just fun. Yeah, let's get into it."
There is no dark side of the moon over the rainbow
The rumor about the connection between the movie and the film has also changed how we see The Wizard of Oz on television. On July 3, 2000, Turner Classic Movies aired the classic film without commercial interruptions-the first time that it had been broadcast in this way. Then, later in the evening, TCM again showed The Wizard of Oz, but this time they offered Dark Side of the Moon on the Second Audio Program.
It's pretty cool and unbelievable. I find it amusing that people can look at this and insist that it must have been planned. That it couldn't have "just happen" or be a coincidence of a few people's over-active imagination.
If Pink Floyd had intended to produce some sort of soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz, it seems that they would have been more clever about it, maybe developing musical themes for the main characters or a lyrical theme that paralleled the film?
That is not the case, though. In fact, the dark themes expressed in Dark Side of the Moon are not at all consistent with the sentimental outlook of The Wizard of Oz, but an argument could be made that Dorothy and Pink Floyd are expressing the same desire to find a place where a person can live in harmony with their surroundings.