If you've been living under a rock for a couple of decades, you might not have heard about "The Dark Side of the Rainbow" (or "The Wizard of Floyd" but it's probably the granddaddy of all pop-culture urban legends. Apparently, when you watch "The Wizard of Oz" with the sound off and listen to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" at the same time, you'll start to notice all kinds of mind-blowing coincidences. Songs and scenes often start at the same time and some of the song lyrics seem to echo what's happening on the screen. It's as if Pink Floyd wrote the album as a weird alternate soundtrack to the movie -- or so they say.
Here's how it works: in order to have the movie and album synch up properly, you have to start the music just before the movie starts, exactly when the MGM lion roars for the third time. A little earlier or later and you might be hopelessly lost, wondering what the big deal is. But true believers say that if the album begins at the right point, there are undeniable coincidences, like when the Pink Floyd tune "Brain Damage" starts at about the same time as "If I Only Had A Brain" in the movie. The words "home, home again" are sung as Dorothy is told to go home. Dorothy enters Munchkin Land just as the cash register starts to ring in the introduction to "Money." The list goes on.
No one seems to know when or where the phenomenon started. Who was that lucky soul who somehow happened to cue up "The Wizard of Oz" while listening to Pink Floyd and then commenced to have his mind totally blown? The first known reference was on a Pink Floyd online forum in 1995 and the Associated Press picked up a small-town newspaper story about it later that year. Then one day in 1997, Boston DJ George Taylor Morris told his listeners to give it a try and the underground sensation reached the mainstream. It even reached the point where Turner Movie Classics aired "The Wizard of Oz" in 2000 with "Dark Side of the Moon" as an alternate audio option.
Since then, movie and music fans have endlessly debated. Does it really synch up? Did Pink Floyd do this on purpose? Some are absolutely convinced that the answer is yes on both counts. Never mind that everyone who worked on "Dark Side of the Moon" has categorically denied that any of it was intentional. Producer Alan Parsons laughed at the whole thing, pointing out the mind-boggling difficulty of the task, especially given that videotapes weren't available in 1972.
But still, the legend persists. No matter what people say, for generations to come people will probably be parking it on the couch, firing up the DVD player and Pink Floyd.
- "Billboard Chart Record-Breakers: The Longest Music Moments Ever." Billboard.com, May 9, 2014. (Jan. 16, 2015) http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/470364/billboard-chart-record-breaking-songs-albums-longest-music-moments-ever
- Crockett, Zachary. "The Dark Side of the Rainbow: A Lesson in Synchronicity." Priceonomics, Sept. 2, 2014. (Jan. 16, 2015) http://priceonomics.com/the-dark-side-of-the-rainbow-a-lesson-in/
- della Quercia, Jacopo. "5 Absurd (But Mind-Blowing) Pop-Culture Conspiracy Theories." Cracked, Sept. 22, 2010. (Jan. 16, 2015) http://www.cracked.com/article_18747_5-absurd-but-mind-blowing-pop-culture-conspiracy-theories_p2.html
- MTV News Staff. "The Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz Connection." May 30, 1997. (Jan. 16, 2015) http://www.mtv.com/news/1433194/the-pink-floydwizard-of-oz-connection/
- Savage, Charles. "The Dark Side of the Rainbow." Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Aug. 1, 1995. (Jan. 16, 2015) http://web.archive.org/web/20060422200308/http://members.aol.com/rbsavage/floydwizard.html