‘Money’ is the critique of the uber-capitalism that ironically made Pink Floyd millionaires. Featuring on the iconic Dark Side of The Moon, ‘Money’ was the single that broke the US for the outfit. Currently, the full-length record has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest albums ever, but then you don’t need me to tell you that.
David Gilmour’s unique sounding guitar tones were an integral part of the Pink Floyd jigsaw, but then again you don’t need me to tell you that either. There are, however, some parts of the jigsaw, particularly with ‘Money’, that are not quite as easy to fit into the puzzle, and it is this very singular combination of a deeply complex song structure producing very palatable results that makes the band a peculiar presence amidst those successful in the commercial mainstream.
The song represented everything the band were about, with intelligent satirical lyrics, almost-over-the-top production and an unabashed demonstration of musical ability.
They’re two things that this isolated guitar recording brings to the fore; the most self-evidently unusual musicological detail is that Gilmour suddenly transitions for simple rhythm to take up the lead in a soaring solo. It is during this solo that something relatively unique within popular music occurs, as the track flips from an unusual 7/8 time signature into a more conventional 4/4 time, before reverting back once again for the post-guitar-solo section, ultimately finishing up in 4/4 for the outro.
Aside from the spellbinding results that this musicological wizardry produces, there was a method behind the madness, as David Gilmour once informed Guitar World: “It’s Roger’s riff. Roger came in with the verses and lyrics for ‘Money’ more or less completed. And we just made up middle sections, guitar solos and all that stuff.” Later going on to explain his own contribution to the track’s timing, “We also invented some new riffs – we created a 4/4 progression for the guitar solo and made the poor saxophone player play in 7/4. It was my idea to break down and become dry and empty for the second chorus of the solo.”
The one thing he failed to mention was the gorgeous guitar sound that rings out over the track. It is a sound that now resides with listeners as unmistakably Gilmour, marrying both screaming fuzz tones with warmer, fuller, blues sounds. In this isolated version, the reverb, in particular, catches the ear and leaves the listener wondering how one man can achieve such a wall of sound.
Producer Alan Parsons bulked out the sound and tied it all together with innovative looping techniques to inject the scintillating energy that the middle section of the song brings to a grooving bass on either side. Parson once declared, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that the band certainly liked to “make full use of the studio,” and no doubt they had run off his feet as Gilmour’s work on this part alone was played on 3 different guitars.
The track now resides in the annals of classic rock history as the song that catapulted the band to widespread success, and just listening to this one small but vital element you can tell why. Despite the vast dominion that the solo has over the tune, Gilmour told Uncut magazine, “‘Money.’ I’m not talking about the lyric. Just the quirky 7/8 time reminds me of Roger. It’s not a song I would have written. It points itself at Roger.”
You can listen to the isolated track below, and as the description suggests to get the best sound it is best played on the right pan.