On the Run (instrumental)

On the Run (instrumental)
"On the Run"
Song by Pink Floyd from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
Released March 17, 1973
Recorded June 1972 – January 1973
Genre Electronic, ambient
Length 3:36
Writer David Gilmour
Roger Waters
The Dark Side of the Moon track listing

Side one

  1. "Speak to Me"
  2. "Breathe"
  3. "On the Run"
  4. "Time"
  5. "The Great Gig in the Sky"

Side two

  1. "Money"
  2. "Us and Them"
  3. "Any Colour You Like"
  4. "Brain Damage"
  5. "Eclipse"

"On the Run" is the third track[1] from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon.[2][3] It is an instrumental piece that deals with the pressures of travel (which Richard Wright said would often bring fear of death), and is an EMS synthesizer (Synthi AKS) based piece. When the band performed this song in concert, at the end of it, a model aeroplane would fly from one end of the arena to the other, appearing to crash in a brilliant explosion. The same effect was used in the A Momentary Lapse of Reason tours with a flying bed, and was an inspiration for the fictional band Disaster Area from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, whose stage act involves a spaceship crashing into the sun. During recording sessions, as well as in live appearances, this song was sometimes referred to as "The Travel Sequence". The basketball team Chicago Bulls play this song while introducing the visiting team's starting lineup.



This piece was created by entering an 8-note sequence into a Synthi AKS and speeding it up, with an added white noise generator creating the hi-hat sound. The band then added backwards guitar parts, created by dragging a microphone stand down the fretboard, reversing the tape, and panning left to right. There are also other Synthi and VCS3 synthesizer parts, made to sound like a vehicle passing, giving a Doppler effect. The 8 note sequence (E2, G2, A2, G2, D3, C3, D3, E3) is played at a tempo of 165 BPM, while both filter frequency and resonance are modulated. Near the end, the only guitar part is heard: a chord over the explosion of the presumed aircraft, which gradually fades, segueing into the chiming clocks introduction of the following track "Time".

When The Dark Side of the Moon was performed in 1972 (before the album was released), it went under the title "The Travel Sequence" and was, instead of a complex electronic instrumental, a more simple guitar jam, without the use of synthesizers and other electronic instruments. A short clip of this is played on the DVD Classic Albums: Pink Floyd – The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon and can also be heard on all performances of Pink Floyd playing the album live in that year.

'We had originally go an "On the Run," a different thing, which is on a live one if you've heard one of those bootlegs, you might have heard a different version of it than is on Dark Side of the Moon. We had a sort of guitar passage, but it wasn't very good. We'd just got this new synthesizer, a briefcase model EMS-1, and in the lid there was a little sequencer thing. I was playing with the sequencer device attachment, and came up with this sound, which is the basic sound of it. Roger sort of heard it, came over and started playing with it, too. Then he actually put in the notes that we made...it was his sequence, that "de-di-doo-de-di-dil"- -whatever it was. He made that little sequence up, but I had got the actual original sound and I actually was the one doing the controlling on the take that we used. Then we chucked all sorts of things over the top of it afterwards.'


  • At 27 seconds into the piece, the sound of a female voice on a loudspeaker can be heard; apparently an airport public address system. The announcer says 'Have your baggage and passport ready and then follow the green line to customs and immigration. BA flight 215 to Rome, Cairo and Lagos'. Engineer Alan Parsons later reused this sample on the Sea Lions in the Departure Lounge bonus track of the 2007 Deluxe Edition of Tales of Mystery and Imagination by the Alan Parsons Project.
  • At 1:54, Roger "The Hat" Manifold, Pink Floyd road manager says: "Live for today, gone tomorrow. That's me", then laughs.

Alternative and live versions

References and notes

  1. ^ The track number depends upon the edition of the album; some releases merge the two tracks "Speak to Me" and "Breathe," for instance.
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 1177. ISBN 1-84195-551-5. 
  3. ^ Mabbett, Andy (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Pink Floyd. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-4301-X. 
  4. ^ Kendall, Charlie (1984). "Shades of Pink - The Definitive Pink Floyd Profile". The Source Radio Show. http://www.pinkfloydfan.net/t1483-gilmour-waters-mason-wright-shades.html. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 

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