An 8th grader explores the dark side

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DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Pink Floyd
Released: March 1973
Label: Harvest Records
Cover art: Storm Thorgerson

Told by K.C. Neel

I was that kid that never ditched school. I didn’t hang around with kids that were going down the wrong path. So ditching school was a huge deal.

I was in eighth grade. Euclid Middle School in Littleton, Colorado. My friend Jill had an older brother who’d just purchased the album. It had just come out. There were about four or five of us. We wanted to all listen to it. But we knew her brother was never going to let her borrow his album.

So we ditched school. We ditched in the afternoon, just after lunch. I’m pretty sure we walked because I didn’t even have a bike; I was a bus kid. And we all knew that we also had to be back in time to catch the bus to get home.

So we go over to her house and she sneaks up to her brother’s room and gets the album. The scary part was she was so afraid that she was going to scratch it. We got the record out really carefully, and we carefully undid the poster because it was new enough that he hadn’t even taken it out.

We played it probably three times in a row, just front to back. We pored over the liner notes. We pored over the words. We’d played it all the way through once and then I think we played it again and then once again. Then we started playing (individual) tracks. Like, ‘Wow. Listen to this. Let’s listen to all those bells. The cash register. The ticking clock.’

It blew my mind. Because I’d never heard anything like that before. It was so different than anything my parents played. The music my parents were playing was stuff like Glenn Campbell and Hank Williams.

I’d heard of Pink Floyd, but I didn’t really know any of their music. It was kind of a peer pressure thing in a way. It was like, ‘You’ve got to go hear it.’ And then the more your friends are talking about it, the more you go, ‘Man, I like this.’

And so I had to buy the album. I had to save up my money for it. I begged my mom to take me to the store.

And that was my gateway. I started listening to other things like Led Zeppelin and even Aerosmith. ‘Dark Side’ opened up my world to other things. After I bought that album, I wanted everything they did. I wanted all their other stuff. Even as an adult, years and years and years and years later, the minute a Pink Floyd album came out, I bought it. Like ‘Animals’ (Harvest Records, 1977). I didn’t even have to hear it. I didn’t even have to know what was on it. I just bought it.

‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ remains, I think, the greatest headphone album of all time. And it’s impossible to listen to that album just by single songs. You cannot shuffle ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’

My favorite song is ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ (vocals by Clare Torry). She was awesome. To this day, when I listen to her just go off, I just think there is no voice in the world that has ever gone there. And there’s not even a single word. It’s just her voice, the sound of her voice.

But anyway, the brother never knew.

It’s a headphone classic. Here’s Pink Floyd’s magnificent opus “Time.”

 

We interviewed K.C. Neel, a writer and co-owner of a bicycle and ski shop, from Castle Rock, Colo. in June 2017.