Classic Rock Corner

Pink Floyd's 10 Best Pre-Dark Side of the Moon Tracks

In anticipation of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon, originally released in March 1973, we here at Rocks Off would like to remind you all that Pink Floyd existed for some years before that monumental album. While the band experienced some success, they of course never saw anything on the level of Dark Side prior.

That doesn't make those earlier recordings any less valid, though. As any hardcore Floydian can tell you, some aspects of the pre-DSOTM years were, dare I say it, more endearing before the album came along. The band was more experimental and more psychedelic, the production was rawer, the jams longer, and Floyd was far from a critical or commercial darling. They were like a punk band in the early '80s: reviled by critics, a failure in the eyes of record labels and gods to their cult following.

So here we'll take a look back at ten classic Floyd tracks that many readers and casual fans may have never heard before. This isn't the Floyd of Dark Side or The Wall, but these songs are special and eminently important in their own right. One thing's for sure: You won't find these tracks on that Echoes greatest-hits compilation.

10. "Childhood's End" One thing you have to understand is that Dark Side was not written overnight. The band had been building toward it for years -- on albums like Meddle, to be sure, but also on even lesser-known works like Obscured by Clouds. This Clouds track, which in turn was a soundtrack to an obscure film, could pass for an early version of "Time" and definitely reflects many of the same musical ideas.

9. "Julia Dream" "Julia Dream" is appropriately titled considering its fairy-tale, dreamlike quality; it's one of the best examples of Pink Floyd's distant, pastoral ballads. At first it seems like a minor track in the group's canon, but creeps up on you like the threat of death described in the lyrics.

8. "Let There Be More Light" "Let There Be More Light" opens the A Saucerful of Secrets album and immediately sets the tone for the new Pink Floyd, sans former front man Syd Barrett. It comes out of the gate with a slinky psych riff, followed by a mysterious and distant verse from keyboardist Richard Wright. Suddenly, the chorus sets in and sinks its teeth into you with heavily distorted guitar chords and shouted vocals from debuting member David Gilmour, who also plays his first guitar solo.

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Corey Deiterman