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Why Pink Floyd snubbed Paul McCartney's contribution to 'The Dark Side Of The Moon'

Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side Of The Moon was a seminal moment in the history of music, one that would influence countless other artists who, like most at the time of its release, were taken aback by the record’s groundbreaking new sound, all-encompassing vision and the kind of innovative creation that would define Floyd as legends.

The band had a pioneering attitude throughout the process of creating the album and, at one point, even asked The Beatles songwriter and serial creator Paul McCartney to be interviewed as part of an ambitious contribution to the LP. At the time of forming their psychedelic sonic creation, Pink Floyd were planning to sample Macca on the record. However, despite The Beatles founder obliging and sending across his addition, they would leave his contribution off the record.

The collaboration came about after McCartney declared openly that he was a fan of Pink Floyd’s work and was intrigued by the thriving psychedelic scene. It was a space in which Pink Floyd had played a huge part in curating across swinging London in the late 1960s. A new trippy facet to their upcoming release, Floyd decided to carry out a series of interviews for their record, which they would use sporadically on the new material. After the prospect of grabbing the enigmatic Paul McCartney for a special guest spot became a realisation, the band jumped at the chance.

Macca, who at the time was working on his 1972 album with Wings, Red Rose Speedway, was present at Abbey Road during the same period that Pink Floyd were also busy working away on Dark Side Of The Moon—a convenient turn of events which made his inclusion a seemingly straightforward process. For the interviews, the band had a set of provocative questions that they hoped would evoke deep and thoughtful answers from their interviewees such as ‘when was the last time you were violent?’ or ‘does death frighten you?’.

Some of the questions asked were less emotional, in fact, they were somewhat banal offerings such as requesting their favourite foods and colours, amongst other things. Getting the former Beatles man to answer any inquiries was quite the coup, however, McCartney’s attitude towards the questions managed to annoy one member of the band — Roger Waters.

Not a difficult man to annoy, the band’s serial songwriter Roger Waters was irritated at McCartney’s contribution because it undermined Pink Floyd’s vision of the piece. Waters would later tell Pink Floyd biographer John Harris: “He was the only person who found it necessary to perform, which was useless, of course, I thought it was really interesting that he would do that. He was trying to be funny, which wasn’t what we wanted at all.”

McCartney would still go on to have a brief cameo on the record, however, even if it is perhaps so subtle that he himself may not have realised it upon first hearing the album. At the very end of the album’s epic closer ‘Eclipse’, you can just about make out a snippet from an orchestral version of The Beatles song ‘Ticket to Ride’.

The Beatles classic was allegedly playing in the background at the studio while Abbey Road doorman Gerry O’Driscoll delivered the poetic line of: “There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark. The only thing that makes it look light is the sun.”

However, the former Beatles man doesn’t seem to hold a grudge about Pink Floyd deciding his contribution didn’t have a place on the record. In truth, he appears to agree that it was probably the right decision as he labelled it the greatest concept album of all time.

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