The John Lennon album that Roger Waters wanted to emulate for ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’

Roger Waters

As early as the 1970s, The Beatles had already pushed the boundaries of music and demonstrated the revolutionary potential of studio technology. The lone members continued their individual pursuits of innovative experimentalism in a variety of fields even after their breakup. This proved that The Beatles’ dedication to the musical revolution persisted even after they disbanded. This mentality served as an inspiration for bands like Pink Floyd, who used it to create projects that defined the era and pushed the boundaries of music even farther. The Dark Side of the Moon is a classic concept album, but what made it so remarkable was how dynamically it employed studio tricks like tape loops, synthesisers, and multi-track recording. The Beatles were well aware of this, not only from their multitrack recordings but also from their use of tape loops that featured unusual melodies and sounds.

Although it’s simple to link Pink Floyd’s approach to The Dark Side of the Moon to The Beatles and their influence on the music industry, there were a number of other ways that the band’s music—as well as the music they released after splitting up—infiltrated the album as a whole. For example, with John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, he proceeded to approach The Beatles in a very different way. However, even this album served as a model for Roger Waters’s concept for The Dark Side.

But not everyone in the group was as passionate about this as the others were. Actually, David Gilmour was anxious to make sure the record had a modern sound. So, he added creative mixing and synthesisers that sounded fresh. This went head-to-head with Waters’ intention to produce something that had a more subdued contemporary appeal while sounding comparatively simple, understated, and nostalgic.

In 1993, Gilmour recalled to Guitar World, “Chris Thomas came in for the mixes. His role was essentially to stop the arguments between me and Roger about how it should be mixed.” “I wanted Dark Side to have reverberations and other effects, and to be large, swampy, and wet. Additionally, Roger insisted that the record be extremely dry. I think he was influenced a lot by John Lennon’s first solo album, which was very dry,” he added.

In an attempt to reach a compromise, the two decided to step back and let Thomas mix the recordings alone. Alan Parsons provided engineering and an additional pair of eyes. Gilmour acknowledged, “Of course, on the first day, I found out that Roger sneaked in there. So, on the second day I sneaked in there.” We both sat right at Chris’ shoulder after that, interfering. Fortunately, Chris was more understanding of my viewpoint than Roger’s.

Even though the album as a whole sounds and feels exactly as you would have imagined Gilmour would have wanted it to, if you listen closely enough, you can hear some of Waters’ preferences throughout. The Beatles’ earlier work and John Lennon’s solo work with Yoko Ono had a strong influence on Pink Floyd’s album. This album masterfully combines progressive rock and psychedelic elements. It also achieves a flawless thematic coherence.

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