The Dark Side of the Rainbow: Is There a Link Between Pink Floyd and The Wizard of Oz?

The Dark Side of the Moon is a Pink Floyd album released in 1973. It is one of the most outstanding records in their discography, and 2023 is also the 50th anniversary of it, as pointed out by a retro review we did about 2 months ago. Today we’re revisiting it by discussing how it syncs up with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

The History of The Dark Side of Oz

It is unknown who first connected The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, but it first came into the public’s view in August 1995. A 2018 Ultimate Classic Rock article had this to say …

“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 on screen, the songs and the video sync up in eerie ways during several places.”

This does have a ring of truth behind it, just not to the extent it’s been reported to have, and even less so if you don’t time it right.

How Things Sync Up

I’d like to begin this section by saying that while parts of these two masterpieces of entertainment match up, in no way do I think that there’s a complete or planned synchronization going on.

The bells at the beginning of “Time” hit precisely at the moment the bitchy neighbor on the bike first enters the screen, and the ominous urgency of the percussion adds to the tension of the scene as she demands that she be allowed to take Toto with her. It is a tense part of the movie, and the music pushes it even further into uncomfortable territory.

When they sing, “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun,” is when Dorothy leaves home, and it’s cool because she did miss the starting gun. After all, leaving earlier could have caused her to be safe from the tornado. This was the first part where I could see how some things were synching up.

The female vocals during “The Great Gig in the Sky” evoke a sense of panic as the tornado approaches, the perfect counterparts to Dorothy’s frantic search for her family and safety. Clare Torry provides an impeccable performance with her wordless vocals here.

I love that the cash register at the beginning of “Money” coincides with the film going from black and white to color. It could be seen as a metaphor for how money makes things fresh, new, and exciting.

Ding Dong, the wicked witch, is proclaimed dead during the intro of “Us and Them,” but the biggest connection is how the Munchkins’ dancing is ideally suited to the song’s music. I also thought that when the lyrics say:

 “With, without
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?”

This could refer to Dorothy not having a way home from Oz, her companions not having important things like courage, brains, and heart, and their inevitable clashes with the wicked witch.

“Brain Damage” coincides with the Scarecrow’s lack of a brain, beginning when he starts singing “If I Only Had a Brain.” I also felt that the lyrics imply they must follow the yellow brick road …

“The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path.”

The album ends with the heartbeat when Dorothy puts her ear to the Tin Man’s chest to prove his claim of not having a heart.

After this scene, they meet the Cowardly Lion, and the music changes to some of the other P.F. songs during the YouTube video I found, losing all connections between the DSOTM album and the film.

Final Thoughts

It’s crazy how some of Pink Floyd’s music matches some of the scenes in The Wizard of Oz; you have to think about it a little, but it’s there for anyone to see if they want to. I was expecting more, though, as the almost 30 years of hype didn’t live up to the reality of both works.

Adding to that disappointment is the complete denial by album engineer Alan Parsons, drummer Nick Mason, guitarist David Gilmour, and the album’s mastermind, Roger Waters. Alan said it best, logically explaining why it wasn’t even possible to do this in 1972 …

“There simply weren’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?”

Also, saying that …

“If you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.”

So go give it a watch for yourselves and see what you think in comparison to what has been said by the band and their fans. I believe this was just the psychedelic delusions of one person taking too much acid and not an intentional act by Pink Floyd. Enjoy!

This article was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now-defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

Check out more Third Eye content on Patreon!

Search for a Topic
Posted Recently

Would you like to contribute as a writer? Want us to cover your band’s latest music? Send us a message at 3rdeyepsych[at]

%d bloggers like this: