When you sit down to try out “Dark Side of the Rainbow,” the visual/audio mash-up of The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, you may experience dichotomous emotions. On the one hand, there’s excitement. Perhaps the two works of art, when combined, will open a portal to a new time-space, showing you another dimension. On the other hand, there’s doubt. “How could this be a thing?” you wonder. But still, you press play.
Ever since the mid-‘90s, when a journalist in Indiana described the “synchronicity” of the two pieces, pot smokers and pop culture enthusiasts of all kinds have wondered whether Pink Floyd, the great British rock band, intentionally wrote Dark Side to explicitly play over the classic 1939 movie. The band has repeatedly denied this claim, however, and others have said any coincidence is just “confirmation bias.” Nevertheless, the high-minded have repeated the mash-up for years. And recently, so did we.
Taking advantage of Washington state’s legal cannabis laws, we sampled some effective Pearl2O THC/CBD creative water and a couple half-gram sativa joints, then sunk into the sofa. Listening to the 43-minute record while watching the corresponding first 43 minutes of the movie (starting the album at the third lion’s roar, of course), we must admit there are several significant synchs. As Dorothy walks on the fence at her farm, for instance, Roger Waters sings, perfectly timed, “Balanced on the biggest wave.” But when Dorothy begins to sing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” there is no moment on the record of correspondence. Dubious.
The biggest moments of overlap happen towards the end of Dark Side, when the tornado comes. Just as the powerful song “The Great Gig In The Sky” begins, the storm hits and Dorothy’s journey begins. Perhaps the biggest Aha! moment came when the door of Dorothy’s tornado-thrown home opens to reveal the now-Technicolor land of Oz, and Pink Floyd’s “Money” crashes in. Others, it should be noted, have postulated that the prism on the cover of Dark Side is a reference to this very moment.
Other linked moments come when we meet the Scarecrow, in need of a brain, and we hear the line about the lunatic; the record ends with the sound of a heartbeat as we meet the Tinman, in need of one. Despite all these fun moments, it’s pretty clear there was no intention on Pink Floyd’s part to create some sort of psychedelic soundtrack to Oz. Experiencing the two together, however, is just that: fun. It’s amusing to think—even for a moment—that Pink Floyd, in all their greatness, could have carried out this strange experiment. And, if only for a few moments, we believe the magic of Oz and Dark Side, will forever be linked in stoner lore.