Many of the songs I like are ballads, most often love ballads of one sort or another. Many of the artists I follow have an excess of such songs in their repertoire. But that’s not all I listen too. Heavier groups like the Doors, Cream, Iron Butterfly, and Pink Floyd populate my “like” list, as well.
When I first went to university I studied psychology, because I wanted to understand how the mind really worked, and theater arts, because I wanted to direct. I learned quickly that psychology was a pseudo-science with no more answers than astrology, and theater arts at university was more about theory then actually doing. In other words, folks, university is not job training.
That’s okay, though. I found, or at least developed (as it probably was always there), a passionate interest in film as I studied the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, the directorial debut of Clint Eastwood (Play Misty For Me), the genius of the combined vision of Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick (2001, A Space Odyssey), and the greater wonder of The Wizard Of Oz, nearly 30 years before i would go to Kansas myself.
Now, just to be clear, many of you will know that I am known online in some circles as The Wiz. That has nothing what-so-ever to do with Oz or my current place of residence. It may, however, have been a factor in my being here. There is more to coincidence than meets the eye!
One of the most impressive examples of coincidence, or synchronicity, another subject I am keenly interested in, was the matching of two great masterpieces, created in different times, by different people, each with no interest in, and in the case of the former, no knowledge of, each other.
According to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, “The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American fantasy adventure film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Based on the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, the film stars Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, and Frank Morgan, with Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins. Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and unusual characters, over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and part of American popular culture. It also featured what may be the most elaborate use of character makeups and special effects in a film up to that time.”
Wikipedia also offers, “The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released in March 1973. It built on ideas explored in the band’s earlier recordings and live shows, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterized their work following the departure in 1968 of founder member, principal composer and lyricist, Syd Barrett. The Dark Side of the Moon’s themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett’s deteriorating mental state.”
No matter where your own personal tastes run, it should be possible for you to admit that these represent two great works of art, each in their respective genres. You don’t have to like either of them to recognize their solid performance, great construction, and wonderful delivery. If you happen to like them, as I do, well, that’s just a bonus.
One of the most spectacular things about them, however, even though they are decades and continents apart, is that they seem to match up in a most wonderful way. When played together (there is some disagreement on the exact starting point but it hardly matters!) the pace and tone of the music seems to exactly match that of the film, right down to dramatic scene changes.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say, “Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title and the film’s song “Over the Rainbow”. Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.”
And, “There are various approaches regarding when to start synchronizing The Dark Side of the Moon audio with the film. Several involve the MGM lion as the cue. Most suggest the third roar, while some prefer the second or first. Others suggest starting the album not immediately after the lion’s roar, but after the lion fades to black—exactly when the film begins. Viewing recommendations include reducing the film’s audio and using captions or subtitles to follow the dialogue and plot.
“The iconic dispersive prism of the album’s cover purportedly reflects the movie’s transition from black-and-white Kansas to Technicolor Oz; further examples include music changes at dramatic moments, and thematic alignments such as the scarecrow dance during “Brain Damage”. This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events “seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.
“Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind’s tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that does not fit. Psychologists refer to this tendency as apophenia.”
You be the judge…
Dark Side of the Rainbow
An interesting adendum to this post is that the original camera negative of The Wizard Of Oz film is stored (along with Gone With The Wind, Ben Hur, and Star Wars) right here in Hutchinson’s salt mine storage facility (Underground Vault & Storage or UVS) about 650 feet below our home — well, okay, not exactly under our home, but right here under Hutch! Also the home of Strataca, the Hutchinson Salt Museum.