Eclipse (song)

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"Eclipse"
Song by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
Published World Copyrights Ltd
Released 1 March 1973
Recorded January 1973
Length 2:03
Label Harvest
Songwriter(s) Roger Waters
Producer(s) Pink Floyd

"Eclipse" is the tenth[nb 1] and final track from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. It was sung by Roger Waters, with harmonies by David Gilmour and Rick Wright. After Waters left the band, Gilmour sang the lead when performing live. This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.[1]

Composition[edit]

This song serves as the album's end and features a loud, repetitive melody that builds up, then ends with a very quiet outro. When the main instrumentation ends at 1:30, the sound of a heartbeat from the first track, "Speak to Me", appears, which appears again in 9/8, and gradually fades to silence.

Harmonically, the song consists of a repeating 4-bar chord progression: D, D/C, B♭maj7, and A7sus4 resolving to A7. The bass line is a descending tetrachord.

David Gilmour recorded two tracks of rhythm guitar, playing arpeggios, one in open position, and one much higher, around the tenth fret. The lower-pitched guitar part includes the open G and E strings during the B♭maj7, resulting in an added sixth and a dissonant augmented fourth. The quartet of female backing singers vary their parts, rising in volume, and echoing some of Roger Waters' lyrics, as the piece builds in intensity. On the last repetition of the chord progression, the B♭maj7 leads directly to a climax on D major, resulting in a "brightening" effect (known as the Picardy third), as the aforementioned implication of D minor in the B♭maj7 chord shifts to the major.[2][3]

Waters wrote the lyrics on the road for the "Brain Damage" / "Eclipse" closing sequence as he felt the whole piece was "unfinished"[4]. The final words sung on the song and, indeed the album The Dark Side of the Moon, directs the listener, "and everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon." Waters explained the meaning of these words as well as the entire song by asserting:

I don't see it as a riddle. The album uses the sun and the moon as symbols; the light and the dark; the good and the bad; the life force as opposed to the death force. I think it's a very simple statement saying that all the good things life can offer are there for us to grasp, but that the influence of some dark force in our natures prevents us from seizing them. The song addresses the listener and says that if you, the listener, are affected by that force, and if that force is a worry to you, well I feel exactly the same too. The line 'I'll see you on the dark side of the moon' is me speaking to the listener, saying, 'I know you have these bad feelings and impulses because I do too, and one of the ways I can make direct contact with you is to share with you the fact that I feel bad sometimes.[5]

Abbey Road Studios doorman Gerry O'Driscoll is heard speaking at 1:37, answering the question "What is 'the dark side of the moon'?" with: "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark. The only thing that makes it look light is the sun."[6][7]

A section of an orchestral version of the Beatles song "Ticket to Ride" can be heard faintly at the very end of the recording. This was unintended: the music was playing in the background at Abbey Road when Gerry O'Driscoll was being recorded.[8] This is not included on the 1983 Japanese Black Triangle CD issue of the album or any FLAC remastered versions of the album; the sound technicians copied one of the heartbeat samples, removed the orchestral "Ticket to Ride", repeatedly pasted the sample in and faded out the new outro.

Usage[edit]

On 10 March 2004, the song was used to wake the Mars probe Opportunity. It was chosen in recognition of the transit of the Martian moon Phobos.[9] This is not the first time Pink Floyd has been played in outer space; Russian cosmonauts took and played an advance copy of Delicate Sound of Thunder aboard Soyuz TM-7, making it the first album played in space.[10]

The song was also used at the finale of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London called "And in the end", immediately following the lighting of the cauldron by the seven young athletes. The song was played as a fireworks display took place and images of famous Olympians were projected onto the screen, climaxing with a view of the Olympic rings over the earth from a balloon launched at the beginning of the ceremony.

In The Sopranos episode "Mergers and Acquisitions", the song finishes when Tony Soprano wakes up from listening to all of The Dark Side of the Moon.

Alternative and live versions[edit]

  • The song is featured on the Pulse CD and DVD and is sung by Gilmour instead of Waters as it was originally.
  • The version heard on the compilation album Works is about 30 seconds shorter, with much of the heartbeat removed. Like "Brain Damage", the song is presented in an alternate mix.
  • In the Flesh – Live also features the track which is segued out of "Brain Damage".

Personnel[edit]

with:

  • Lesley Duncan – backing vocals
  • Doris Troy – backing vocals
  • Barry St. John – backing vocals
  • Liza Strike – backing vocals

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Some CD pressings merge "Speak to Me" and "Breathe".
Citations
  1. ^ Guthrie, James. "James Guthrie: Audio: Building A Compilation Album". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-7119-1028-6 (USA ISBN 0-8256-1078-8)
  3. ^ Which One's Pink? An Analysis of the Concept Albums of Roger Waters & Pink Floyd by Philip Anthony Rose. Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. Ontario, Canada. ISBN 1-896522-47-5
  4. ^ Glenn., Povey, (2007). Echoes : the complete history of Pink Floyd. Chesham: Mind Head Pub. ISBN 0955462401. OCLC 159581493. 
  5. ^ Dallas, Karl, Pink Floyd: Bricks in the Wall, page 107, Shapolsky Publishers/Baton Press, ISBN 0-933503-88-1, 1987.
  6. ^ The Making Of The Dark Side Of the Moon DVD
  7. ^ Inside Out. Nick Mason. First edition, p.172
  8. ^ Willman, Chris. "Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side’: 40 Years Later, 40 Mind-Blowing Facts About The Mad Classic". Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "Solar System Exploration: News & Events". 2004-03-10. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  10. ^ Mark Cunningham. "Pink Floyd and Company – Pink Floyd Articles and Reviews". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2010-07-13. 

External links[edit]