Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Collaborative Era (1973) | Key Events
Le Pink Floyd Ballet
Pink Floyd’s collaboration with ballet producer Roland Petit was first mooted in 1970, and Dave Gilmour and even Floyd’s manager Steve O’Rourke had talked enthusiastically about working with a 106 piece orchestra and the world-famous dancer Rudolf Nureyev. When performed for French TV on 14 January 1971 the dancers moved to ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ and ‘Careful With That Axe, Eugene’. Petit re-staged the ballet in 1973 and this music was used again as was ‘Echoes’ and ‘Obscured By Clouds’. Part of the first performance was broadcast on French TV on 14 January 1973.
The Dark Side Of The Moon Tour Begins
Pink Floyd embarked on two extensive US tours in 1973. The first opened at the Dane County Memorial Coliseum in Wisconsin on 4 March and these 16 dates ended on 24 March 1973 in Atlanta, Georgia, the day their new album The Dark Side Of The Moon was released Stateside. The band were augmented by three backing singers and Gilmour’s former Joker’s Wild band-mate Dick Parry whose saxophone was a vital part of the track ‘Money’. After three UK performances Floyd returned to the States for a further 13 stadium dates. As well as quadraphonic sound, the visual spectacle that included dry ice, flares, rising platforms, mobile spotlights, strobes and lasers was equal to old favourites like ‘Obscured By Clouds’ and the breathtaking music from their latest album.
The Dark Side Of The Moon
Fittingly, the world premiere of The Dark Side Of The Moon was held at the Planetarium in Baker Street, London, a location the Floyd had always wanted to use as a venue. Sadly, Floyd only appeared as four cardboard cutouts in reception, although Rick Wright was in attendance. The album was played to journalists in the Planetarium itself, although their positive reviews meant little as Dark Side took on a life of its own as fans and even those who had not previously been into the band were eager to hear this seminal album. Musically, this reflection on the pressures of life was a tour de force. From the stately ‘Breathe’ and ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ to the sprightly torque of ‘Time’ every track was – and remains – a classic. Hipgnosis’s cover art – the famed rainbow prism – matched the sheer genius inside. One (rejected) cover idea was to feature Marvel Comics’ Silver Surfer riding a wave, to emulate the Crystal Voyager film shown during live Floyd performances, Storm Thorgerson said in 2003.
Although Dark Side shot to the top of the American album charts, Capitol wanted Floyd to break the AM Top 40 radio market and this meant releasing a single. As Floyd considered themselves an albums’ band and had not released a 7-inch since 1968, they had to be persuaded by the label and manager Steve O’Rourke. The band relented and ‘Money’/‘Any Colour You Like’ reached the US Top 20 in June. Floyd...
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