Pink Floyd's DSotM + TWoO (1939) = DSotR


cover art for Dark Side of the Moon+ruby slippers=dark side of oz

Wizard of Oz + Dark Side of the Moon = DSotR

The Facts:

Dark Side of Oz, or DSotR (Dark Side of the Rainbow) is the act of watching the video portion of the movie The Wizard of Oz (1939) using the Pink Floyd album DSotM (Dark Side of the Moon) as an alternative soundtrack. The album is started after the third roar of the MGM lion, and is played until completion (nearly half way through movie). There are different variations on setting it up, and on what alternative soundtracks to use after the album finishes, for the rest of the movie. For more detailed instructions on all of this see Dark Side of Oz: Instructions.

Many of the articles on Dark Side of Oz will give you the impression that this is a unique phenomenon, or that it is the best known example of combining random audio with random video selections. On the contrary, Dark Side of Oz is what is known as an audio /visual synchronicity, and there are plenty of them out there. And while it is true that this particular a/v sync is of unusual quality, it is not accurate to say there are no other known a/v syncs of comparable quality. (See The Pink Floyd Audio Visual Synchronicities Database) As to what are the best a/v syncs, and if Dark Side of Oz should be included among them, this all depends on personal taste, owing largely to how much one enjoys a particular album and a particular movie as parts of an a/v sync. The popularity of this sync thus may owe largely to the fact that it combines one of the most popular albums of all time with one of the most popular movies of all time.

List of Coincidental Events:

Hundreds of examples of how the music of the album somehow seems sympathetic to events in the movie have been recorded. Remove the lyrics from the album and DSotM seems to function as a perfectly natural score for The Wizard of Oz (for the most part). The connection between the lyrics and events in the movie, however, is usually somewhat less obvious, especially to those who do not understand the album. The lyrics, nevertheless, are not inappropriate, and, in most cases, ironic is a better way of describing this relationship between the lyrics and events in the movie. Below is a link to a list of coincidences, where you can also find a link to the Annotated List, which points out all this irony which is not immediately apparent.

Dark Side of Oz: Unannotated List of Coincidences

Coincidence or by Design?

Previously, there had been much debate on the question of whether this sync was done intentionally, or if it is a product of coincidence, or some other mysterious force. I myself had debated on this at length, here on this website, and I will leave this debate included in my archives, for the benefit of those who are not persuaded by the new evidence that has come to light, regarding what this band was really intending. This new evidence concerns the fact that DSotM seems to be synchronized to the science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In light of this discovery, it seems that DSotM was intended to be a follow-up to an earlier Floyd song, "Echoes", which can be synchronized to the last segment of 2001.

So on the question of intention, I now direct people to first examine the evidence that DSotM was indeed intended as an alternative soundtrack for 2001, which is examined at the following link:

Pink Floyd synced Dark Side of the Moon to 2001 -Not The Wizard of Oz

Now I am not saying that DSotM was definitely synchronized to 2001; what I am saying is that if Floyd did sync this album to some movie, then it was almost certainly to 2001, and the evidence strongly supports this conclusion. And as I myself have accepted this conclusion, the question of whether Floyd could have, or might have synced DSotM to TWoO has been rendered, more or less, moot point. My original examination of this controversy is now included in the archived materials, and can be found on the below link:


Origins of the Practice

As stated in the Synchronicity Arkives, the practice of seeking out exceptional pairings of random audio and visual works may have its origins as early as the 1960s, although this would have been long before the release of DSotM. Particularly extraordinary pairings came to be known as "synchroncities". Exactly when and by whom Dark Side of Oz was discovered remains a mystery, but this is partly explained by the fact that Dark Side of Oz was probably not the first such pairing to be discovered, and though it would later become a favorite among members of the movement, it did not have any special status distinguishing it from other synchronicities. Dark Side of Oz only gained special status when it began to be accepted by mainstream audiences.

Among the most popular of these synchronicities was the pairing of the last segment of 2001: A Space Odyssey to Pink Floyd's "Echoes". This synchronicity seemed a bit too perfect to some, and it was speculated that the band had deliberately synched this song to this part of the movie. The reason for Dark Side of Oz jumping to a mainstream audience may be in that it was one of these exceptional pairings (at least in the early days of the movement), and, as an item of curiosity, it seemed to be a product of pure coincidence -or genuine synchronicity.

From a small group of "syncers", Dark Side of Oz seems to have then found its way into the Pink Floyd rock culture, and the band's huge fan base eventually helped to propel it into the attention of mainstream media. The first mainstream article on Dark Side of the Rainbow appeared in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette in August, 1995. There is evidence, however, to suggest that this particular synchronicity was known to members of the movement long before it came to the attention of the mainstream media. The first major boost of awareness about Dark Side of Oz amongst the general public came in July of 2000, when Turner Classic Movies broadcast The Wizard of Oz, while offering DSotM as an alternative soundtrack. The movie was actually broadcast as a regular movie, except those who chose could mute the normal soundtrack and tune into the network's described video channel and listen to DSotM synchronized to the movie.

Atom Heart Oz

A pairing of Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother Suite with Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful. See Atom Heart Oz.

Reproducing Dark Side of the Rainbow Yourself

The instructions, as you may have heard them, sound simple enough, and, in fact, they tend to be a little oversimplified by most. These oversimplified instructions are, no doubt, the reason why many a person's Dark Side of Oz experience has been somewhat underwhelming. This "underwhelming experience" has been recreated many times on Youtube, by persons following these oversimplified instructions. I'll give you a link to the instructions for doing it correctly, but just be aware that this can easily get a lot more involved than you may have been led to believe. For example, a common problem with older DVD players is that they tend to run more slowly than they should. So your attempt at recreating DSotR may ultimately end with the purchase of all new audio and video equipment.
For most, your best bet is to just take my word and the word of others that this thing is really cool, and go through the list of coincidences. I know reading a description of something really cool isn't the same as seeing it for yourself; nevertheless, if you go through the list, I guarantee you'll see a lot of things that you would not have picked up on, if you had done it yourself. Moreover, if you check out my Annotated List, I think you'll find that what looks like a bunch of random coincidences seems to come together in a coherent whole, so that you'll see repeating themes and patterns throughout.
Just the same, for those determined to see it for themselves, here are the instructions for doing it as perfectly as I am able to explain, along with all the complications and things that can go wrong:

PinkSyncsWithOz: Set-up

"Dark Side of Oz Only For Stoners" -Not So

A popular rumour has it that Dark Side of Oz is only for acid-heads, and if a sober person watches it, he or she will experience only disappointment. Having enjoyed it many times, while completely sober, personally, I must disagree with this assertion. While it cannot be denied that Dark Side of Oz has its roots in the counterculture movement, saying that it can only be enjoyed by stoners is like saying The Wizard of Oz can only be enjoyed by gays.
  I've given detailed instructions for doing Dark Side of Oz properly on the instructions page, as well as pointing out many of the things that can go wrong while trying to set it up. Nevertheless, people do what they are going to do and are generally poor at following directions, and this is why many a person's Dark Side of Oz experience has been less than fantastic. Probably the biggest mistake people make is running off to watch this thing, without consulting any of the lists, to find out what makes this thing so bizarre. Dark Side of Oz is one of those syncs that requires a fairly good understanding of the album and the movie to be fully appreciated. There are other synchronicities that don't require such an intimate knowledge of the album and the movie, and if you just want to try a/v syncing without overanalyzing it, then my advice would be to try some of these other synchronicities first.

Dark Side of the Rainbow News

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