Every Track on Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ Ranked

Note for note, track for track, Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, might just be the best and possibly the most memorable album in the history of classic rock. From the iconic front cover—the dark background, the prism, and the rainbow of light—to the 10-song track list, it’s just perfect.

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But what about when you break down the album, itself? Instead of comparing the LP to its peers, what happens when we take each of the 10 songs and compare them to each other? Which is the best and which is the least memorable on the record?

[RELATED: Roger Waters Announces Fall Release for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon Redux’]

Sit back, turn on your neon lights, get your copy of The Wizard of Oz fired up, and let’s rank every song on Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

1. “Time”

Recorded from 1972-1973, The Dark Side of the Moon was built from experimental live performances leading up to the album. It featured songs about the life of a rock star as well as those born from the departure of the band’s early co-founder, Syd Barrett.

“Time,” which opens with the sounds of ticking clocks and alarms, deals with themes not only germane to the album concept but to everyone. Namely, the passing of time, the reality of getting older, and the idea of a life worth living. It opens with such doom and trepidation, warning the listener: “Don’t let others make your choices for you.”

2. “Great Gig in the Sky”

Back-to-back on this list and on the LP, “Time” is followed by the soaring “Great Gig in the Sky,” which features the singer Clare Torry, who performs the celestial, heavens-like vocal improvisation on the song during its instrumentals. To date, this song is often referenced when considering the biggest, most iconic vocal performances.

3. “Money”

Like “Time,” this song is about a theme many of us grapple with daily, or even hourly. The song opens with a memorable bass riff from Roger Waters, which plays over sound effects like receipt paper ripping, cash registers opening and change rattling. Money, it’s a gas / grab that cash with both hands and make a stash, sings David Gilmour. The song also includes a memorable, growling sax solo, performed by Dick Parry.

4. “Breathe (In The Air)”

The album’s second song, “Breathe (In the Air)” is moody and mellow, featuring psychedelic slide guitars and vocal harmonies. While The Dark Side of the Moon is known for syncing up to the movie The Wizard of Oz, there’s a line in “Breathe (In The Air)” that provides an important moment in the link between the two. When Dorothy is walking on a fence, the lyric balanced on the biggest wave comes in at the right moment.

5. “Us and Them”

When playing the record with The Wizard of Oz, “Us and Them” links up to Dorothy meeting people from Oz for the first time. While Pink Floyd has denied any connection between the album and the classic movie, there sure are a lot of coincidences between the dreamy works. That connection aside, this nearly 8-minute song is all about the idea of foreigners, whether that be spatially, mentally, or even inter-dimensional. Aside from the subject matter, the song features blissful gang vocals and serene-though-surreal lyrics.

6. “Brain Damage”

The most crazed song on the album, “Brain Damage” features vocals like those on the inside of an insane person’s mind. It includes the lyric, the lunatic is on the grass and the lunatic is in the hall. It’s the song on the album that makes the listener feel as if they’re inside an insane asylum. In that way, it’s exciting, albeit a bit disorienting. It also includes the song title as part of the lyrics.

7. “Any Colour You Like”

This blues-rock instrumental is both a palate cleanser and crazed meandering through music. With echoing synths and strange improvised solos, “Any Colour You Like” is like a magic mushroom.

8. “On the Run”

Another disorienting song, with sonic sampling that comes in and out like faces in a nightmare, “On the Run” was brought on by the band’s fear of air travel. And when syncing up with The Wizard of Oz, the third track on the LP links up with Dorothy flying in the twister to Oz.

9. “Eclipse”

The album’s final song, “Eclipse” is the culmination of a genius album. It’s triumphant, exultant, and an example of the band’s nobility, woven into its progressive rock excellence. Like many songs on the album, it features sticky gang vocals, big backing vocals, and musical prowess.

10. “Speak to Me”

There’s nothing wrong with “Speak to Me,” it’s merely the least significant on an album rich with significance. The song opens the LP and is only about a minute long. Nevertheless, it sets the mood with a heartbeat and some of the other sound samples—like the tearing of receipt paper and the lunatic’s laugh—found in other songs on the LP. It’s a song of foreshadowing.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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