Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd‘s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon received a licensed reissue through Amiga in 1979. The Amiga release is a stereo album, but it was pressed from the quadraphonic masters. Like many other massively popular Western rock bands, Floyd was well known and liked in East Germany. I picked up this copy at the used record store in Leipzig in 1999.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (Amiga release, 1979) – front cover

As with many other Western reissues, this LP featured a short essay on the back sleeve contextualizing the group and its music and explaining its relevance to a socialist society. Written by Gottfried Schmiedel, an East German music critic and journalist who was 59-years old at the time, this brief essay focuses in large part on the band’s history, innovative recording/performance techniques  and a musicological dissection of the group’s approach to “Beat” music. Interestingly, Schmeidel makes no attempt to analyze Dark Side of the Moon through a political lens, rather, he refers to the group’s follow-up album, 1976’s Animals to illustrate what he calls an “evolution in the group’s development from one where the accent was on musical expression to a phase where its lyrics take on a decidedly aggressive socio-critical stance.” On this later work, Schmiedel writes, “Pink Floyd lay bare a variety of human character traits which are typically present in a capitalist environment, by presenting these to the listener in animal form”.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (Amiga release, 1979) – back cover

Interestingly, Animals never saw release in the GDR. However, The Wall, the group’s work which has been widely interpreted as a critique of totalitarianism, did come out on Amiga, albeit only through the hard currency Intershop chain. In July 1990, Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters helped organize a performance of this album on the no-man’s land around Potsdamer Platz to mark the falling of the Berlin Wall the previous November. Approximately 350,000 people attended this concert.

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