Sunday, March 03, 2013

A musical memory from the 1970s

A correspondent was remarking on the fact that the blockbuster Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon.

My first reaction was to say, maybe a little ungraciously, that I preferred earlier Pink Floyd. I remember an interview where a member of the band said "We started out as a three-chord blues band, but that was too much work, so we became a one-chord space band." I loved that "one-chord space band."

Thinking of early PF, I then remembered a truly spooky experience from the 1970s when I was a single, not particularly prosperous grad student. One of my free amusements was to wander through record shops on Yonge Street (not then as grubby as it later became) trying to figure out which purchases would be worth making.

One sunny weekend afternoon as I made this trek, I realized that everywhere I went, in the stores and on the sidewalks, I was hearing the same ethereal music, which sounded like it was leaking in from another dimension.

Eventually an explanation: the only good rock station in Toronto was playing one side of PF's album Meddle, and the owners or staff of every shop -- not just record stores -- were tuned into that station, giving the downtown shoppers a common subliminal musical experience.

Odd to think how unlikely it would be today for so many people to be plugged into a single source of music.


  1. I think I usually ranked them 1) Meddle 2) Saucerful 3)Ummagumma 4) Piper 5) Dark Side 6) Atom Heart, though this may have shifted around several times over the years. Dark Side was never in first position for me.

  2. Wish You Were Here has always been a favourite of mine. Hmm, now I need to go find it and play it...