Pink Floyd’s critically acclaimed album, The Dark Side of the Moon, was the eight studio album recorded and released by British psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd. The album was released on the 1st of March in 1973 under the record label Harvest Records. The album was unique in that it was largely developed during live performances, with the band tweaking sounds and concepts that they were using while live on-stage. The album was prototyped a number of times before Pink Floyd even found themselves in a recording studio, with the band premiering a very early version of the record several months before recording began. Two separate recording sessions took place in 1972 and 1973 at the Abbey Road Studios in London, with a large amount of the work going into the album being added after live recording was finished.
The album was a slight change from their previous albums, as the band had started to move away from the extended instrumental segments that they had used for their previous albums, with some critics speculating that they wished to make some of the tracks more friendly to radio, as radio stations generally favoured shorter tracks to longer tracks, a trend that continues through to today. Although the album is designed to be listened to in one go, rather than picking and choosing which tracks to listen to, a number of the songs work very well on their own, although some critics have stated that the tracks do sound better when listened to as a part of the whole album.
The Dark Side of the Moon has often been described as a concept album, with songs that explore various themes, including life, death, money, fame, and the downsides of them all. The group also experimented with advanced recording techniques that had only recently been invented, such as multitrack recording techniques, tape loops, and analogue synthesizers. The album was also one of the first to use audio samples from conversations that had been had with both the crew, as well as philosophical quotations that are played through the album, particularly in the intermission segments. Alan Parsons, an audio engineer, was responsible for many of the special audio effects that appear throughout the album as he was already known for his experimental style which complemented the album well.
The album was immediately successful upon its release, with a number of critics calling it one of the greatest albums of all time, at least within the psychedelic rock sphere. The album managed to reach number one of the US Billboard 200 and remained charted for over 900 weeks in total, a feat that very few albums have managed since.
The Eagle’s fifth studio album, Hotel California, was recorded between March and October 1976 before being released on the 8th of December in 1976. The album contains three singles that each managed to do well in commercial charts, reaching high numbers in the Billboard Hot 100. ‘New Kid in Town’ managed to reach number 1 in the US, ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ managed to hit number 11, and ‘Hotel California’ also managed to reach number 1. The album is currently their second highest-selling album, behind their compilation album, Their Greatest Hits (1971 – 1975). In total, the album has managed to sell more than 42 million copies across the world and has been certified 26x Platinum in the United States.
Recording Chief Bill Szymczky helped to bring the album about at both the Criteria and Record Plant studios between March and October 1976, with the album being released in December of the same year on the Asylum record label. The album was the first to feature the guitarist Joe Walsh, who was brought on board to replace guitarist and founding member Bernie Leadon. Walsh’s guitar style added much to the album, with many critics pointing this out as a critical component of the album’s success.
The title song of the album, Hotel California, was written as a warning about the excesses of fame and success within America, particularly related to the failing of the American dream, as it was believed at that time that the American dream was unattainable for most Americans.
The fourth studio album from acclaimed British rock band Led Zeppelin followed the naming convention set by their previous album and was titled Led Zeppelin IV. The album was released on the 8th of November in 1971 under the record label Atlantic Records. The album only took three months to record, which was done between December 1970, and February 1971, mostly in the country house Headley Grange. Jimmy Paige served as the album producer, helping to ensure that the sound quality remained high, although some have speculated that this was also to ensure that his guitar solos were considered loud enough according to his own tastes.
The album was a huge hit amongst fans, as well as commercially, as the band had been more experimental when compared to some of their previous albums due to their financial freedom that the success of their previous albums allowed them. One of Led Zeppelin’s most well-known songs, Stairway to Heaven, was released on the album. Breaking with their tradition of not including cover songs on their albums, Led Zeppelin did include one cover, a rock reinterpretation of the blues song ‘When the Levee Breaks’.