Dark Side of the Rainbow

Dark Side of the Rainbow
Dark Side of the Rainbow logo

Dark Side of the Rainbow[1] – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.[2] This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title and the film's song "Over the Rainbow". Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.[3]



In August 1995, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette published the first mainstream media article[4] about the "synchronicity", citing the Usenet discussion group. Soon afterward, several fans began creating websites in which they touted the experience and tried to comprehensively catalogue the corresponding moments. A second wave of awareness began in April 1997 when Boston radio DJ George Taylor Morris discussed Dark Side of the Rainbow on the air, leading to further mainstream media articles and a segment on MTV news.[2]

In July 2000, the cable channel Turner Classic Movies aired a version of Oz with the Dark Side album as an alternate soundtrack.[5] Turner Entertainment has owned the rights to the film since 1985.


There are various approaches regarding when to start synchronizing The Dark Side of the Moon audio with the film. Several involve the MGM lion as the cue: most suggesting the third roar, while some prefer the second or the first; finally, others suggest starting the album not immediately after the lion's roar, but after the lion fades to black—exactly when the film begins. Viewing recommendations include reducing the film's audio and instead relying on captions or subtitles to follow the dialogue and plot.[6]

Fans have compiled over a hundred moments of observed interplay between the film and album, including links that are perceived if the Pink Floyd soundtrack is repeated through the end of the movie.[1] The iconic dispersive prism of the album's cover purportedly reflects the movie's transition from black-and-white Kansas to Technicolor Oz; further examples include music changes at dramatic moments, and thematic alignments such as the scarecrow dance during "Brain Damage". This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events "seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality."[7] Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind's tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that does not fit.[8] Psychologists refer to this tendency as apophenia. Under this theory, a Dark Side of the Rainbow enthusiast will focus on matching moments while ignoring the greater number of instances where the film and the album do not correspond. Another theory suggests the correspondence may have been assisted by the synaesthetic effects of psychoactive drugs taken by those who then chose to enjoy the album and the film together.

Coincidence versus intent

Pink Floyd band members have repeatedly insisted that the reputed phenomenon is coincidence. In an interview for the 25th anniversary of the album, guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour denied that the album was intentionally written to be synchronized with the film, saying "Some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea of combining Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon."[3] On an MTV special about Pink Floyd in 2002, the band dismissed any relationship between the album and the movie, saying that there were no means of reproducing the film in the studio at the time they recorded the album.

Dark Side of the Moon audio engineer Alan Parsons in 2003 dismissed the supposed effect:

It was an American radio guy who pointed it out to me. It's such a non-starter, a complete load of eyewash. I tried it for the first time about two years ago. One of my fiancée's kids had a copy of the video, and I thought I had to see what it was all about. I was very disappointed. The only thing I noticed was that the line "balanced on the biggest wave" came up when Dorothy was kind of tightrope walking along a fence. One of the things any audio professional will tell you is that the scope for the drift between the video and the record is enormous; it could be anything up to twenty seconds by the time the record's finished. And anyway, if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.[9]

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason teasingly told MTV in 1997, "It's absolute nonsense. It has nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz. It was all based on The Sound of Music."[10]

Variations on the theme

The fame of Dark Side of the Rainbow has prompted some to search for synchronicities among other albums or films. The lengthy Pink Floyd song "Echoes" from the 1971 album Meddle has been paired with "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite", the fourth act in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Again the correspondences are primarily formal/structural and not grounded in the content of the lyrics. Both the track and the sequence are approximately 23 minutes. Director Stanley Kubrick asked Pink Floyd to score the film, and Roger Waters has said he regrets having turned down the offer.[11]

Comedian Matt Herzau claims that the Pixar film WALL-E syncs up with Pink Floyd's rock opera The Wall, which he has called "Another Brick in the WALL-E", after the album's three-part song Another Brick in the Wall.[12][13] Another popular Pink Floyd movie sync pairs The Wall with Disney's 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland.

In 2011, Glenn Beck told the story of the death of Jesus synchronized to The Dark Side of the Moon, in particular the portion encompassing "Breathe" through "The Great Gig in the Sky." This was broadcast on his radio talk show, The Glenn Beck Program, immediately prior to Easter Sunday that year.

In popular culture

References to the phenomenon in popular culture abound:

In February 2003, the reggae cover-band group Easy Star All-Stars released a cover album of The Dark Side of the Moon entitled Dub Side of the Moon, which features instructions on how to synchronize the record with The Wizard of Oz. In June 2003, the alternative rock band Guster released an album containing the song "Come Downstairs & Say Hello", which opens with the lines "Dorothy moves/To click her ruby shoes/Right in tune/With Dark Side of the Moon." On the DVD commentary track of Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Jack Black states at one point that "if you start playing Dark Side Of The Moon at this point in the film ... it doesn't sound very good at all!", and "If you play this film next to The Wizard Of Oz, you'll probably end up watching Wizard instead" before laughing.

In 2007, a Mr. Deity comedy skit satirized the supposed synchronicity by saying "Put a copy of Dark Side on, and then start reading the Book of Revelation about 35 seconds in", after saying "Is that not the trippiest thing you ever read?" Craig Ferguson, on his late-night talk show, has also mentioned it a number of times.

In 2000, it was referred on the animated TV series Family Guy in the episode "The Story on Page One". Luke Perry says Shannon Doherty told him about it, but he thought she was "just being a bitch."[14] In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005), Pepe the King Prawn (as Toto) says "Those of you who have Dark Side of the Moon, press play now."[15]

In 2010, in the episode "Blitzgiving" from How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Ted said to Steve (The Blitz) that they were going to watch Apocalypse Now while listening to Weird Al Yankovic's Greatest Hits, a nod to Dark Side of the Rainbow. It was quickly referred to at the end of an episode of Raising Hope on April 26, 2011 on a can of baby food during a drug-induced hallucination. Another reference appeared in the Supernatural episode "Dream a Little Dream of Me". Dean asks Sam if they should, "Dim the lights and sync up Wizard of Oz and Dark Side of the Moon?" Sam asks why, prompting Dean to wonder what Sam did in college.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Pink Floyd – The Wizard of Oz – The Definitive List". http://members.cox.net/stegokitty/dsotr_pages/printable.htm. 
  2. ^ a b MTV News Segment | Synchronicity Arkive
  3. ^ a b http://members.cox.net/stegokitty4/sounds/dv_dsotmwo-oz.mp3
  4. ^ "RB SAVAGE's Home Page<". Web.archive.org. 2006-04-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20060422200308/http://members.aol.com/rbsavage/floydwizard.html. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  5. ^ Chicago Sun Times "Dark Side of Oz" (July 3, 2000)
  6. ^ The Dark Side of the Rainbow, All Pink Floyd Fan Network.
  7. ^ "synchronicity – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". M-w.com. http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/synchronicity. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  8. ^ Does the music in Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon coincide with the plot of The Wizard of Oz?, The Straight Dope
  9. ^ Harris, John (12 March 2003). ""Dark Side" at 30: Alan Parsons: Pink Floyd". Rolling Stone. http://web.archive.org/web/20070713182118/http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/pinkfloyd/articles/story/5937469/dark_side_at_30_alan_parsons. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  10. ^ "The Pink Floyd/Wizard Of Oz Connection". 1997-05-30. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1433194/pink-floydwizard-oz-connection.jhtml. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  11. ^ Shaffner, Nicholas (1991). Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey. Harmony Books. p. 142. ISBN 0-517-57608-2. 
  12. ^ The Daily Camera / Colorado Daily, July 22, 2009. [1], [2]
  13. ^ io9, July 22, 2009. Another Brick in the Wall-E? Pixar Meets Pink Floyd
  14. ^ "Family Guy - The Story on Page One/References". http://familyguy.wikia.com/wiki/The_Story_on_Page_One/References. 
  15. ^ "IMDB, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0422778. 
  16. ^ "IMDB". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1032130/quotes. 

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