Is The Dark Side of the Moon
THE WIZARD OF OZ
an alternate OZ soundtrack?
There's yet another THE WIZARD OF OZ controversy circulating on the net: the "discovery" that the 1973 Pink Floyd acid-rock album The Dark Side of the Moon, when played opposite OZ, serves as a mind-blowing alternate soundtrack. A couple of different websites, as well as an article in the New York Daily News , cite a long list of "synchronicities" that indicate to True Believers either that some coincidental cosmic relationship exists between the two works, or that Pink Floyd intentionally "tracked" OZ when they scored their album (conflicting reports state that one Floyd member has
admitted / denied, that this is the actual case).
We got ourselves a tape of the film and a CD of the record and put 'em together to check out the claims and see what we could see. The instructions said to start the record just after the third lion roars in the MGM logo. Because the disc begins with a very slow fade up, we found this nearly impossible to do; instead we synchronized using two points in the film that the instructions claimed hit dead on: the entrance of Elvira Gulch on her bicycle, which matches a bell-and-chime motif on the record, and the moment when Dorothy opens the door to Technicolored Munchkinland, which coincides perfectly with the cash register noise that begins the Floyd track titled "Money". When both of these moments "lined up" perfectly, we knew our synch wasn't going to improve.
The results we found were certainly interesting, but not the brain-altering revelation that was promised. Quite a detailed list of synchronicities did occur, not all of them perfectly in synch as claimed, but enough of them to convince us that those mischievous English rascals were indeed indulging in a private joke. Some claims did not synch up as neatly as described, at least not with our side-by-side comparison. In general, there were times when the tracks did indeed seem to ebb and flow, and "change gears", so to speak, in a fairly harmonious relationship to the film. But frankly speaking, for every moment of 'ooh! - that fit well!', there were several minutes where the movie and the album seemed completely unrelated, following different rhythms and not complementing one another in the least.
The lyric "balanced on the perfect wave" occurs just as Dorothy is balancing on the pigsty fence.
Yes, although half of the line landed on a cutaway to Bert Lahr. (at 4:10)
"On the Run" begins just as Dorothy falls off the fence.
Perfect match. (at 4:17)
Chimes and bells sound just as Elvira Gulch appears on her bicycle.
Perfect match. (at 8:10)
During "Time" Dorothy begins to trot on the line, "no one told you when to run."
This line falls over the shot of Dorothy walking away down the road. (at 11.11)
During the "Time" guitar solo the fortune teller sign appears, reading "past, present & future."
Yes, this happens. (at 11:26)
When Dorothy leaves the fortune teller, the lyric is "home, home again."
This actually happens in the middle of the fortune telling, (at 14:01)
"The Great Gig in the Sky" begins with the scene change to the tornado.
Yes. (at 14:56)
The tornado is seen in the background just as the words "and I'm not frightened of dying" is heard.
No, this falls over a shot of the farmhands shooing horses from the barn. (at 15:33)
The drums start just as Dorothy is really blown by the wind, a tree is felled, etc.
Yes. (at 16:00)
When the window sash knocks Dorothy out, the wailing vocal subsides
Yes. (at 17:14)
"Great Gig in the Sky" is playing as the house is airborne.
Yes. (after 17:20)
The cash register in "Money" is heard just as the color of Oz is seen.
Yes. (at 19:38)
Glynda the Good Witch appears with the lyric "don't give me that goody good bullshit."
Yes. (at 21:19)
The ballerina Munchkins enter on the lyric "us..us..us".
This misses by a second or two. (at 27:42)
One ballerina seems to lip sync the words "ordinary men"
Might be close...maybe. (at 28:01)
The Lollypop Guild Munchkins enter on the lyric "me..me..me".
This is about 4 seconds after they enter. (at 28:16)
The Lollypop Guild's head motions synch with the music.
They certainly do, (at 28:24)
Dorothy turns to face forward on the lyric "forward he cried."
This matches a head turn only. (at 28:49)
The Witch's appearance occurs on the lyric "black..black.."
Right on (at 29:15)
On "blue..blue..blue.." we cut to Dorothy, who of course is wearing blue.
A little early (at 29:23), and the shot doesn't emphasize Dorothy's blue dress.
On the words "and who knows which is which and who is who", we see the Wicked Witch of the West looking at the dead feet of the Wicked Witch of the East.
This lands at the right spot. but it is over a cutaway to Dorothy and Glynda, and not the Witch. (at 29:30)
For "up..up..up", the Witch is on top of a ramp; on "down..down.. down..", she is walking down.
Up (at 29:49), Down (at 29:55); the "down" matches better.
"And in the end", the dead Witch's socks disappear.
Matches (at 30:03)
"Out..out..out", Good Witch Glynda exits in a bubble.
A little early (at 32:25)
The song "Any Colour you Like" begins on a scene change.
Yes, I think, (at 33:59)
The song "Brain Damage" is played as the scarecrow sings "If I Only Had a Brain."
Yes, (at 36:46), but there's no great correlation
"The lunatic is on the Grass" is sung when the Scarecrow begins to dance his jig.
This is sung during a lyric line, when the scarecrow is on the road, (at 37:29)
"Got to keep the loonies on the grass" lands just before Dorothy and the Scarecrow start down the Yellow Brick Road.
Sung while they stuff hay back into the scarecrow. (at 37:50)
The heartbeat heard at the end of the album coincides with Dorothy listening to the Tin Man's heart.
The almost imperceptible heartbeat starts (at 42:35). Dorothy listens to the heatbeat (at 42:49).
Another theme-related observation indicates the colored prism on the cover of the album, calling it a obvious symbol for use of black & white and color in OZ.
Video Savant spent an interesting couple of hours investigating this phenomenon. I believe that the coincidence-matches are certainly consistent enough to make the case that OZ might have served as some sort of linear inspiration for the musicians. But only those people who have never randomly listened to music while watching anything visual will be shocked by the serendipity evidenced here. Every film student knows that any piece of music placed against any movie or television show is likely to produce any number of perceived coincidences, or synchronous events, if you will. I regularly played records opposite silent pictures and accidentally produced screenings where violin concertos tracked the action on the screen perfectly for minutes at a time. A good exercise to observe this phenomenon is to watch a big league ball game on television, while listening to the radio broadcast for the audio. When the commercials come up, the craziest coincidences occur as the radio spot narration and music play against entirely different television commercials.
This is not to discount the OZ- Pink Floyd relationship ... but I wouldn't start forming a religious cult around the phenomenon, either.
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Text © Copyright 1997 Glenn Erickson
DVD Savant Text © Copyright 2007 Glenn Erickson