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HISTORY LESSON: DARK SIDE OF THE MENON

In another sampling of our recent special issue History of the Music Biz: The Mike Sigman Interviews, we explore how Bhaskar Menon, then head of Capitol, broke Pink Floyd in the U.S.

Pink Floyd, signed to EMI’s Harvest subsidiary in England, had released several albums that did well everywhere but North America, a hugely embarrassing state of affairs for which, Bhaskar says, there was no reasonable explanation.

Bhaskar, who had been close to members of Pink Floyd and their manager, Steve O’Rourke, had no doubt that the concept album Dark Side of the Moon was a potential game-changer: “Hearing that record for the first time was one of those extremely rare personal, mesmeric experiences I had only known twice before—when I first heard, pre-release, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper and The White Album [aka The Beatles].”

With hands-on involvement from Bhaskar, the Capitol team developed a massive companywide campaign—starting at the top and reaching down to every regional and local employee—to maximize and coordinate AM and FM
airplay, retail presence and press and other media coverage. The label persuaded the group for the first time in its career to permit the release of a single, and “Money” achieved formidable success on Top 40 radio.

Released in March 1973, Dark Side of the Moon reached #1 on the Billboard album chart. Astoundingly, it remained on that chart for the next 14 years; it was certified 15-times-platinum in 1998.  

Asked whether, in retrospect, he was surprised at the scale of success of Dark Side, Bhaskar said, “Not in the least, and certainly no one who had ever heard the album could be—although I have occasionally wondered privately if we could have done a little better.”


To obtain a copy of History of the Music Biz: The Mike Sigman Interviews, including the complete profile on Bhaskar, contact Robin at (818) 506-8800.

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