Time (Pink Floyd song)

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Pink Floyd - Time (label).png
US Harvest Records single
Single by Pink Floyd
from the album The Dark Side of the Moon
A-side"Us and Them"
Released4 February 1974 (1974-02-04) (US)
RecordedJune 1972 – January 1973[1]
StudioAbbey Road, London
GenreProgressive rock[2]
  • 3:33 (single edit)
  • 6:52 (album version)
Lyricist(s)Roger Waters
Producer(s)Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd US singles chronology
"Have a Cigar"
"Time" on YouTube

"Time" is a song by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It is included as the fourth track on their eighth album The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) and was released as a single in the United States. Bassist Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, and the music is credited to all four band members. Keyboardist Richard Wright shares lead vocals (his last until "Wearing the Inside Out" on The Division Bell) alongside guitarist David Gilmour.

The lyrics deal with the passage of time – time can slip by, but many people do not realise it until it is too late. Waters got the idea when he realised he was no longer preparing for anything in life, but was right in the middle of it. He has described this realisation taking place at ages 28 and 29 in various interviews.[3] It is noted for its long introductory passage of clocks chiming and alarms ringing, recorded as a quadrophonic test by Alan Parsons, not specifically for the album.[4]

The album track also includes a reprise of the song "Breathe", sometimes called "Home Again" when it is treated as a separate song. It is the only song on album to credit all four principal members for songwriting, and last to do so in the band's discography.


"Time" is in the key of F♯ minor. Each clock at the beginning of the song was recorded separately in an antiques store. These clock sounds are followed by a two-minute passage dominated by Nick Mason's drum solo, with rototoms and backgrounded by a tick-tock sound created by Roger Waters picking two muted strings on his bass. With David Gilmour singing lead on the verses and with Richard Wright singing lead on the bridges and with female singers and Gilmour providing backup vocals, the song's lyrics deal with Roger Waters' realization that life was not about preparing yourself for what happens next, but about grabbing control of your own destiny.[3]

He [Alan Parsons] had just recently before we did that album gone out with a whole set of equipment and had recorded all these clocks in a clock shop. And we were doing the song Time, and he said "Listen, I just did all these things, I did all these clocks," and so we wheeled out his tape and listened to it and said "Great! Stick it on!" And that, actually, is Alan Parsons' idea.

The drums used on the Time track are roto-toms. I think we did some experiments with some other drums called boo-bans, which are very small, tuned drums, but the roto-toms actually gave the best effect.

According to an interview by Phil Taylor in 1994, David Gilmour had been using a Lexicon PCM-70 to store the circular delay sounds heard in "Time", which could duplicate the kind of echo he used to get from his old Binson echo unit.[6]

The verse chords cycle through F♯ minor, A major, E major, and F♯ minor again. During this section, Gilmour's guitar and Wright's keyboards are panned to the extreme right and left of the stereo spectrum, respectively. Gilmour sings lead during this section.[7]

The bridge section, with Wright singing lead, has a notably "thicker" texture, with the female backing vocalists singing multi-tracked "oohs" and "aahs" throughout, and Gilmour singing harmony with Wright in the second half. The chords of this section are D major seventh to A major ninth, which is repeated. The D major seventh, with the notes of D, F♯, A, and C♯, can be heard as an F♯ minor chord with a D in the bass, fitting the song's overall key. The second half progresses from D major seventh to C♯ minor, then B minor to E major.[7]

The first bridge leads to a guitar solo by Gilmour, which plays over the verse and bridge progressions. The solo is followed by another verse sung by Gilmour. When the bridge is repeated, it does not conclude on E major as before. Instead, the B minor leads to an F major chord, while Waters's bass stays on B, resulting in an unusual dissonance as a transition to the key of E minor for "Breathe (Reprise)".[7]

Pink Floyd performed the song live from 1972 to 1975, and after the departure of Waters, from 1987 to 1994. Waters began performing the song in his solo concerts, singing the verses himself, beginning in 1999 with In the Flesh and again with The Dark Side of the Moon Live from 2006 to 2008 (occasionally featuring guest appearances from Nick Mason) and the Us + Them Tour from 2017 to 2018. Gilmour has performed the song live on every one of his solo tours since Pink Floyd's Pulse tour, with the late Richard Wright sharing vocals until his death.


In a contemporary review for The Dark Side of the Moon, Loyd Grossman of Rolling Stone gave "Time" a positive review, describing the track as "a fine country-tinged rocker with a powerful guitar solo by David Gilmour".[8]


During live performances, the band back-projected a specially-commissioned, animated film by Ian Emes.[9][10] The film was subsequently included as an extra on the Pulse DVD.[9]



Live versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Television, films and video games[edit]

Time was used in the opening of the Marvel Cinematic Universe production of The Eternals.[12]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[13]
sales since 2009
Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[14]
sales since 2009
Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b Guesdon, Jean-Michel (2017-10-24). Pink Floyd : all the songs : the story behind every track. Margotin, Philippe,, Elliott, Richard George,, Smith, Jackie (Translator) (First English-language ed.). New York. p. 306. ISBN 9780316439244. OCLC 972386567.
  2. ^ Murphy, Sean (22 May 2011). "The 25 Best Progressive Rock Songs of All Time". PopMatters. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "PINK FLOYD'S DARK SIDE OF THE MOON 4". Utopia.knoware.nl. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  4. ^ Schaffner, Nicholas (2005). "The Amazing Pudding". Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey (New ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 157. ISBN 1-905139-09-8.
  5. ^ a b Kendall, Charlie (1984). "Shades of Pink - The Definitive Pink Floyd Profile". The Source Radio Show. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  6. ^ Tolinski, Brad (September 1994). "Welcome to the Machines". Guitar World. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2011-07-29.
  7. ^ a b c 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])
  8. ^ Grossman, Loyd (24 May 1973). "Dark Side of the Moon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. London: Omnibus. ISBN 978-1-84938-370-7.
  10. ^ Jackson, Lorne (2010-08-06). "The wild ideas of Birmingham film-maker Ian Emes". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Wrightish | Watersish.com".
  12. ^ "The Eternals". Marvel. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  13. ^ "Italian single certifications – Pink Floyd – Time" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 26 November 2020. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Time" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  14. ^ "British single certifications – Pink Floyd – Time". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

External links[edit]