The Story of the Pink Floyd-‘Wizard of Oz’ Mashup, ‘The Dark Side of the Rainbow’
One of the strangest and most random convergences of two pieces of classic art in pop culture history is the notion that the movie The Wizard of Oz serves as sort of a video companion to Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.
It's unknown who first came up with the idea of playing the two works simultaneously, but it was first brought to the public's attention by Charles Savage, who penned an article for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on Aug. 1, 1995. In it, he noted that if you start the band's CD as the MGM lion roars for the first time onscreen, the songs and the video sync up in eerie ways during several places. The piece was called "The Dark Side of the Rainbow," which has since become the common name given to the mashup.
Among the similarities Savage found: Dorothy starts to run during the line, "No one told you when to run," in the song "Time"; David Gilmour sings "Home, home again" in the "Breathe" reprise as the fortune teller tells Dorothy to return home; and "Brain Damage" starts at just about the same time as the Scarecrow sings "If I Only Had a Brain," as he dances on the Yellow Brick Road while Roger Waters sings "Got to keep the loonies on the path."
Even more eerie, "The Great Gig in the Sky" matches up with the tornado, and Dorothy opens up the door to the house to find the colorful Munchkinland -- the start of the second act of the movie -- as "Money," the first song on the original LP's second side, begins. And just as the album closes with a heartbeat, Dorothy puts her ear to the Tin Woodsman's chest.
Over the years, Savage's story spread and, two years later, MTV gave it a national audience in a featured news segment. The album's engineer, Alan Parsons, was asked at the time if all this was intentional. He denied it. "There simply wasn't mechanics to do it," he said. "We had no means of playing videotapes in the room at all. I don't think VHS had come along by '72, had it?"
Parsons is correct. Even though recording television programs via videotape was introduced in 1956, they were originally designed for professional use, and didn't become available for home users until the mid-'70s.
Floyd drummer Nick Mason, however, had a droller denial. "It’s absolute nonsense," he said. "It has nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz. It was all based on The Sound of Music.”
In 2011, Goldmine published an article that lays out all the coincidences, and explained what happens if you play the CD again after it ends.. Or you can simply follow along in the video below.