Pink Floyd engineer explains strange 'Dark Side Of The Rainbow' coincidence

Publish Date
Saturday, 8 August 2020, 1:21PM

A former Abbey Road Studios engineer who worked on Pink Floyd's iconic Dark Side of the Moon album agrees that the record's supposed connection to the 1939 Wizard of Oz film is fun, but there's nothing more to it than coincidence and apophenia.

Alan Parsons — yes, that Alan Parsons — explained why in a recent conversation with Professor of Rock's Adam Reader.

Parsons was involved in nearly every aspect of the recording of Dark Side of the Moon — he even recruited "Great Gig in the Sky" vocalist Clare Torry. He says they were too busy experimenting with the recording to worry about synching the 43-minute album to a 101-minute film from three decades before.

"...[I]t has absolutely no foundation whatsoever," Parsons said of the legend. "It was a fabrication by someone who had much too much time on their hands."

While The Wizard of Oz wasn't on anyone's mind during the Dark Side of the Moon sessions, Parsons' says the phenomena that brought about the 'Dark Side of the Rainbow' thing is something he's experimented with himself.

"On my TV system here at home, I can be watching one channel and listening to the sound of another channel and things always happen, I mean, inevitably," he explained. "It's great to watch a really serious movie with a comedy soundtrack, you know. ... Light-hearted music in a really sort of heavy horror film and stuff. It's fun."

But the most critical piece of evidence that Pink Floyd did not intentionally connect its most successful album to Wizard of Oz is that they would have had no way to do it even if they wanted to, Parsons added.

"We didn't have VCRs back then; how could we have done it?" he wondered.

VCRs didn't become commercially available until the mid-'70s; Wizard of Oz didn't come out on VHS until 1989. Talk of the 'Dark Side of the Rainbow' synchronicity only started gaining popularity in the mid-'90s.

Ultimately, Parsons suggests that the album's endurance as a topic of conversation through the years is a credit to consonance between the music and the artwork. Everything from the album's sound to its visual presentation is evocative, and has inspired generations of fans to use their imaginations.

Watch the full conversation in the player above.

Dark Side of the Moon was famously on the Billboard album chart for a record 741 consecutive weeks, spanning from 1973 to 1988.

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission