Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon': Covers and Samples
Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon earned near-instant acclaim. Released in the U.S. on March 1, 1973, and in the U.K. 15 days later, the album had already topped the Billboard charts by April 28.
Fans weren't the only ones taking notice. Their fellow artists did too, as Dark Side tunes have since been covered and sampled across a striking variety of genres. It's easy to see why.
By that point, the whimsical psychedelia of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett-led 1967 debut, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, had all but vanished. But the band's willingness to create sonic experiments remained, and their innovative use of tape loops, then-modern synthesizers and spoken-word passages created a vibe that was more sedate than their earlier work, but no less trippy.
Among those artists who've returned to these tracks are, of course, members of Pink Floyd themselves. Many focused on "Money," and that's perhaps to be expected since it earned the band their first pop hit. As you'll see, however, others dug more deeply.
The following list of cover songs from The Dark Side of the Moon are sometimes strikingly inventive, occasionally quite straight forward, and other times just downright weird. Here's a look back.
Milli Vanilli, "Money" (1988)
Producer Frank Farian used tape loops from the opening of Pink Floyd's "Money" for a song by Milli Vanilli with the same title. It was originally recorded for their European-only 1988 debut All or Nothing, released months before a lip-syncing scandal engulfed the band. Milli Vanilli eventually had their Grammy for best new artist taken away when it was revealed that the men who appeared in their videos and concerts weren't actually singing.
Pink Floyd, "Time," "Us and Them," "The Great Gig in the Sky," "On the Run" and "Money" (1988)
Pink Floyd's tour in support of A Momentary Lapse of Reason actually featured five Dark Side songs, as did the subsequently released concert video. Audio editions left out "On the Run" and "The Great Gig in the Sky," where Clare Torry's wordless vocals were handled by Rachel Fury, Durga McBroom and Margret Taylor. Torry later sued for songwriting royalties, and was given a co-writing credit in a settlement.
"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Alimony" (1988)
"Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the Tommy James / Billy Idol hit "Mony Mony" on his Even Worse album, reframing it as a divorce song. Towards the end, he also set off the tape loops from the opening of "Money."
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, "I Need Money" (1991)
Back when he was a chart-topping rapper known as Marky Mark, actor Mark Wahlberg built "I Need Money" off of the bass line from the O'Jays' soul classic "For the Love of Money." You can hear the cash registers from "Money" used as sound effects intermittently throughout the song.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, "Money," "Us and Them," "Time" and "The Great Gig in the Sky" (1994)
Orchestral recordings of rock songs have long been a way to bridge the gap between the rock and classical worlds. In 1994, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra put out a collection of nine Pink Floyd songs, four of which stemmed from Dark Side.
Thievery Corporation, "2001 Spliff Odyssey" (1996)
Thievery Corporation began releasing genre-mixing compositions in 1996 with Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi. The Washington, D.C.-based electronic duo's "2001 Spliff Odyssey" takes a sample from "Breathe" and builds a series of rhythms and other sounds around it.
Jeru the Damaja, "Me or the Papes" (1996)
Another sample of the cash registers from "Money" show up three times in "Me and the Papes," a track from Jeru the Damaja's second album, Wrath of the Math.
Puff Daddy feat. the Notorious B.I.G., Lil' Kim and the Lox, "It's All About the Benjamins (Armand's Gangsta Mental Mix)" (1997)
"It's All About the Benjamins" was one of Puff Daddy's biggest hits, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Armand Vagn Helden created a remix of the song for the b-side of "Been Around the World," sampling the intro from "Money."
Gary Hoey, "Money" (1999)
Gary Hoey burst onto the rock-guitar scene in 1993 with a cover of Focus' "Hocus Pocus." Six years later, he made an instrumental cover of "Money" the title track on his latest album.
Roger Waters, "Speak to Me/Breathe (In the Air)," "Time," "Money," "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse" (2000)
Roger Waters combined his Pink Floyd and solo works for the "In the Flesh" tour, which began in 1999 and concluded in 2002. After the dates in 2000 ended, Waters took highlights from a two-week stretch of dates from that June and released them as an album and home video titled In the Flesh: Live.
Shania Twain, "Ka-Ching!" (2002)
Country star Shania Twain took a satirical look at consumer culture on this single from the album Up! Naturally, it begins with a sample of the intro from "Money."
The Prodigy feat. Kool Keith, "Wake Up Call" (2004)
The English duo, having helped popularize techno in the mid-'90s, later sampled the alarm clocks from "Time" on "Wake Up Call," a track from Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned.
Cypress Hill, "Money" (2004)
Weed-friendly rappers Cypress Hill also incorporated the cash registers from "Money" into their own track of same name, from 2004's Till Death Do Us Part.
Velvet Revolver, "Money" (2004)
Pink Floyd, "Breathe," "Breathe (Reprise)" and "Money" (2005)
The only reunion of Pink Floyd's classic-era lineup took place at Live 8, a concert held on June 2, 2005 at London's Earl's Court to raise awareness for third-world poverty and debt. Waters' first appearance with Pink Floyd since 1981 included three titles from The Dark Side of the Moon, along with "Wish You Were Here" and "Comfortably Numb."
Lupe Fiasco, "Tilted in Any Colour You Like" (2006)
Rapper Lupe Fiasco built his reputation in the mid-'00s by releasing his Fahrenheit 1/15 mixtapes over the internet. For the second installment, Revenge of the Nerds, he closed by rapping over "Any Colour You Like," an instrumental that sets up the finale of The Dark Side of the Moon.
David Gilmour, "Speak to Me," "Breathe," "Time" and "Breathe (Reprise)" (2007)
Remember That Night chronicled Gilmour's 2006 stand at the Royal Albert Hall in support of On an Island. The DVD featured Pink Floyd co-founder Richard Wright on keyboards and vocals and cameos by David Bowie, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. They opened with a medley of songs from The Dark Side of the Moon.
The Shins, "Breathe" (2007)
The Shins have often played "Breathe" in concert, beginning in 2007. That year, a cover by these indie-rock favorites was part of a U.K. compilation of songs played on Dermot O'Leary's BBC Radio 2 show. The performance above took place on The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon in 2011, and Pink Floyd's Nick Mason was actually on hand.
David Gilmour, "Speak to Me," "Breathe," "Time" and "Breathe (Reprise)" (2008)
David Gilmour closed out the On an Island tour by performing at the shipyard in Gdansk, Poland. Live in Gdansk opened with a series of songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, just as Remember That Night had. It was the last time Gilmour performed with Wright, who died shortly before the release of Live in Gdansk.
Michael Schenker Group, "Money" (2011)
Michael Schenker assembled an all-star cast for this Pink Floyd cover, part of a guest-packed tribute to the artists who influenced him titled By Invitation Only. Tommy Shaw of Styx takes over vocals, while Edgar Winter is on saxophone. The rhythm section is comprised of bassist Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel, King Crimson) and drummer Mike Baird (Journey).
Godsmack, "Time" (2012)
Godsmack's Live and Inspired was broken into two discs. The first, titled Live, was a 2010 concert at Detroit's Fox Theatre while the second, Inspired, contained covers of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way," the Beatles' "Come Together," Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and Pink Floyd's "Time."
Billy Corgan with Roger Waters, "Brain Damage / Eclipse" (2015)
Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and Tom Morello joined headliner Roger Waters for a pair of Pink Floyd songs during a 2015 benefit concert for MusiCorps, an organization that offers music instruction to wounded soldiers as a part of their rehabilitation.
David Gilmour, "The Great Gig In the Sky," "Money" and "Time / Breathe (Reprise)" (2016)
Gilmour performed a trio of Dark Side songs – including "The Great Gig in the Sky," which featured shared vocals by Bryan Chambers, Lucita Jules and Louise Clare Marshall – for his Live at Pompeii concert release. In contrast to Pink Floyd's 1971 concert in the Italian city's amphitheater, however, Gilmour's show included an audience.