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.
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”.
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.