Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" - A Look at the Numbers

By Robert Herriman

As a long-haired youth growing up in the suburbs of a Northeastern city in the 1970's, there were 4 albums I could remember that everyone I knew, inside and outside of school owned; Led Zeppelin IV, The Eagles Greatest Hits, Frampton Comes Alive and of course the granddaddy of progressive "head" music, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".

Today in 2010, I still have two vinyl albums in varying condition, a cassette and a CD. The artwork was fantastic, the enclosed poster that came with the album was plastered everywhere and the music and memories that go along with that album are priceless.

There is another thing that is highly impressive about this record, and that's the numbers. Let's take a look:

1. Record sales: According to an article in, the album is estimated to have sold 45 million copies. This is under Michael Jackson's Thriller and just under AC/DC's Back in Black.

2. Weeks on the Billboard Top 200: It has been on Billboard's Top 200 for an astounding 763 weeks (over 14.6 years). That includes 741 weeks for the original release (1973-1988) plus re-releases. In addition, it has been on Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Album's chart for 960 weeks. That is well over 30 years on Billboard with no sign of slowing!

3. According to the British Recording Music Industry, Dark Side ... was the sixth best selling album in the British Isles.

4. According to Glenn Povey, author of the book Echoes, one out of every fourteen people in the US under the age of 50 is estimated to own, or to have owned, a copy.

5. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Dark Side of the Moon, 35th in their 1987 "Top 100 Albums of the last 20 years". Then again in 2003, it was 43rd in the "500 Greatest Albums of all time".

6. And it's not just the music that has received so many accolades. The cover art, the classic prism, was chosen as VH1's 4th greatest album cover of all time.

And this list doesn't even include the numbers from iTunes, the singles, and other interesting stats.

"Dark Side of the Moon" was released on March 10, 1973 and has been a driving force in rock music ever since. Albums come and go ... oh, except "Dark Side of the Moon".

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