The thing that most surprised me was how long the intro to 'Time' is. I got the feeling that there was a serious lack of panic about losing the listener's interest. In the intervening years, people have become obsessed with attention spans, loath to leave anything too long. I seem to recall the sessions for the album were very relaxed, but at the same time we were striving as hard as we could - I know we were jolly keen to have a hit record.
The album came together in two ways. We went and worked in a rehearsal room near Swiss Cottage (London) and we sort of pottered about in a room there and people would come in with their ideas. And I did quite a lot in the shed in the back of my garden. My wife was a potter and had an industrial food-mixer that she used to mix clay in. I threw handfuls of change into it, and recorded the coins you hear at the start of 'Money'.
You can see 'On the Run', the synthesiser piece, being made in the film Pink Floyd at Pompeii, using a VC8 synthesiser. I've still got one. It's a strange and simple device. It has good quality oscillators in it - very good for wind and train noises and that's about it. Voltage-controlled keyboards are impossible to tune, so you tend to spend your time making them sound like explosions or big doors banging - anything rather than actually play the thing.
I'm still very fond of Rick Wright's chord sequence which forms the piano part of 'Us and Them'. He'd written them ages before. And I like 'The Great Gig in the Sky'. I think the album is easy listening. There's something satisfying about the structure and it has one or two brilliant ideas on it. I liked the voices, which we got by sitting people down in front of a microphone and asking them questions - anyone from the EMI doorman to Paul McCartney (the McCartney contribution was not used). A spoken voice part can attach ordinary life to a song. And there's a lot about ordinariness on this album.
A lot of people have said the record is about Syd Barrett. To be honest, I don't think I was very conscious of him at that point. 'Shine on You Crazy Diamond' on Wish You Were Here was specifically about Syd, because he had re-emerged at that point and had started coming to sessions again. But all that stuff in 'Brain Damage' about 'if the band you're in starts playing different tunes', I think this was more for me than for Syd. In the line 'the lunatic is on the grass', the grass referred to there is specifically that square bit of lawn between King's College Chapel and the river in Cambridge.
I don't know why people keep going back to it.
'The Dark Side of the Moon' is re-released this week
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