The Fan Theory Linking Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wizard of Oz”

Pink Flloyd Wizard Of Oz

The Dark Side of the Moon is a seminal album by the rock band Pink Floyd released in 1973, a concept album dealing with any number of issues from Syd Barrett leaving the group to the pressures of fame, it is number 7 on the best-selling albums in Britain of all-time and is number 55 on Rolling Stone’s greatest albums of all time. The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 movie adaptation of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – it is a film prized for its use of fantasy and the bright and incredibly colourful setting, with a particularly famous transition from black and white to spectacular colour. The film is considered a classic and one of the most influential movies ever made. But what do these two have in common? Well, some fans believe that if you listen to the album while watching the movie they synch up.

Pink Floyd- The Dark Side of the Moon

The theory goes back to the 90s with journalist Charles Savage writing about it based on comments he’d picked up from a Pink Floyd fan group. Essentially if you start the album just as the lion roars for the third time in the MGM logo they will synch up – lyrics seemingly discussing what is happening on screen, events matching up with lyrics, sounds on the album corresponding with sounds on the film. The obvious first question would be – what does Pink Floyd say about this? They flatly deny it – with drummer Nick Mason saying – presumably tongue in cheek – that it’s actually based on The Sound of Music.

The next question. Does it synch up? Yes and no. As with any of these sort of theories, there is so much down to interpretation, for example, when Dorothy is singing about birds flying on the album you can hear an airplane, is that a connection? Another example is both the album and the film appear to have a doorbell sound at the exact same time. Now, what does this mean? It depends. A skeptic like me would say nothing, at best a coincidence, but to others proof positive of the connection.

The Investigation

The 1973 lineup of Pink Floyd, no wait, the cast of The Wizard of Oz // credit: The Wizard Of Oz, MGM

First of all, we start TDSOFM at the third lion roar…why? Some of the more convincing examples of synchronicity have near-perfect timing but why not the first roar? Why not the title card? Next comes the question of interpretation and the band themselves denying it. Then there is the psychological phenomenon of apophenia, making meaningful connections between unrelated things or finding patterns that aren’t there. Closely connected to this is pareidolia, a form of apophenia, more related to random visual or auditory stimuli – the classic example being seeing faces in the pattern of wood or in clouds. Humans see connections and patterns where none exist, an evolutionary trait that usually serves us well, it is better to spot connections than miss them.

There is also the problem that the album is 42 minutes and 50 seconds, and the movie is 1 hour and 52 minutes, so either the album ends early or you start it again. If so it is very unlikely that synchronisation of events can occur when the album repeats.

Cultural Legacy

The Wizard of Oz //credit: MGM

One of the fundamental aspects of art is that there is usually more going on than just what appears on the surface, there is a deeper meaning, another story being told. Audience interpretation can find the oddest interpretations and meaning that perhaps the creator never intended to be there. What is perhaps unusual is that both The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Side of the Moon are already extremely complicated pieces of art with a lot going on. Even leaving aside the visual spectacle of TWoO, there are interpretations that it has to do with religion, both that it is about enlightenment through faith and the idea that there is nothing behind the curtain, to even that the Cowardly Lion represents the American army in the Spanish-American War.

The Dark Side of the Moon is an ambitious album both in terms of production and thematically, with songs about consumerism, mental health and more. The over-analysis of cultural artifacts is nothing new or unusual (see some of my articles on this very site), with conspiracy theories, crossover universes and more being attached to everything from The Shining to listening to records backward to find hidden messages. The Wizard of Oz- Dark Side of the Moon synchronicity is only the most famous of these examples.

Also Read: The Strange Brilliance of Fan Theories

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Richard Norton

Gentleman, podcaster and pop culture nerd, I love talking and writing about pretty much all pop culture.