THE DARK SIDE OF OZ - "Following The Red Brick Road"
“What’s the Meaning of This?”
I feel the touch of a world that is older. I don’t want to be old. My doctor encourages me with, “You are a specimen of perfect health”. But I am putting on weight. I feel gravity more. And I forget more. Time will eventually catch up with me. I read the obituaries every day to see who I outlived. When I do go, I want to leave some legacy to live on.
You musicians chronicled here in Professor Teaford’s “Another Day, Another Decibel” are creating the legacy of new music every day. (It is my honor to be a contributor to this book!) Music is the universal language. Your music will still be here long after we fade away.
There are many fascinating aspects of music. Here I will address the amazing idea of matching music to seemingly unrelated movies. Just as in the urban legend of Pink Floyd’s 1973 hit “Dark Side of the Moon” with Victor Fleming’s 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” cueing music on the third roar of the MGM Lion at the beginning of the movie. I call this “The Dark Side of Oz” while other refer to it as “The Dark Side of the Rainbow”.
Why create sound tracks to movies that already have their own sound track? This is actually a complicated question. Matching music to unrelated movies may sound crazy but it also fascinates us. Why not just sit back and relax with the sound track that ALREADY comes with the movie? Even the movie theaters politely remind us, “Please don’t spoil the movie by adding your own sound track!”
We have to go back in time to sort out this illuminating thought process in the search of “why?
Way... back in 1848, Hungarian Musician Franz List started composing Symphonic Poems or Tone Poems. A Tone Poem is a piece of music that accompanies the content of a poem, short story, painting, landscape or other non-musical source. This is long before the invention of motion pictures.
In... 1888, even American Inventor Thomas Edison discussed the prospect of marketing music with movies, years before the first motion picture.
Then in1895, When French bothers Auguste and Louis Lumière presented the first motion picture movie “<p>Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory”,</p> They had a musician playing piano music. They intuitively knew that music was important for movies from the very start. You crave that sensory input!
During the roaring 1920’s, Silent movies were the biggest employer of musicians to play music with the movie. Musicians had note instructions they referred to as “Fakes” to guide them as they played along with the movie. So it is not a big stretch for musicians to create alternative sound tracks to movies. Sound came with the movies starting in the late 1920’s. As fellow musicians, you will probably identify with the following.
Alex North was hired in 1967 by Director Stanley Kubrick to score “2001: A Space Odyssey” which was already 2 years into production. Mr. North had already scored music to Mr. Kubrick’s 1960 film “Spartacus” and was ecstatic about working with Mr. Kubrick again. Mr. Kubrick told Mr. North that he really wanted to use a pre-recorded mix of classical music and they would cut the film to the music. Mr. North composed and recorded over 40 minutes of music for “2001”. Mr. North waited to see more film to score and spot music to. Then Mr. North received word from Mr. Kubrick that no more score was necessary. They were going to use breathing effects for the remainder of the film. “North attended the New York premiere of 2001 (April 1968) expecting to hear his music (he had never been told otherwise). He left crushed and in shock.” It is evident that none of his music was used in the movie!
SEGMENT TO HEAR - YOUTUBE
More recently in the early 1970’s, I remember reading in LIFE magazine about “Happening Afternoons” hosted by Picasso. Cross media performers stretched the limits of the arts. The more profound, the better. The pictures of “Happening Afternoons” were profound! What is there to stop Avant Guard musicians from creating secret sound tracks for a movie? This would be right up their alley. There does not need to be a purpose for this. It is the act itself. The first time I can recall hearing about matching radio music to movies was in 1976 with the following song. Anybody who has suffered through a “B” movie, as we used to call it back then at the drive-in theater double feature, can empathize with The Sylvers’ 1975 song “Boogie Fever” when it sings:
Boogie fever, got to boogie down.
Boogie fever, I think it’s goin’ around.
I took my baby to the drive-in show.
She turned the speaker down.
And then she turned on the radio.
I watched a silent movie diggin’ boogie sound….”
1976 also happens to be the same year SimonID4 first recalls attending a “Dark Side of Oz” party in England.
In 1981, I first heard of this urban legend of the “Dark Side of the Rainbow” in the United States. There were a bunch of guys relaxing after a hard day’s work. They were unwinding to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and said it was brain candy. They were notorious Pink Floyd fans and said that each of Pink Floyd’s albums matched a movie. It especially made sense to me when they pointed out the strange sound effects that were incorporated into the music “The Wall” were meant to match events in the movie animation “Alice in Wonderland”. Just then a plane crash ending with a baby coo played and they pointed out which event of the “Alice in Wonderland” it matched.
I am pretty sure they mentioned another Pink Floyd Album matching “Fantasia”, but I am very sure they told me about “Dark Side of the Moon” matching “The Wizard of Oz” on the third roar of the lion.
Tripping on music? Hallucinate on music with movies? What’s the meaning of this?!?
We all have our cultural bias. I have never used illegal drugs. I admit was square and thought you had to use drugs to listen to and understand Pink Floyd music. Just say “no”. I once had a drug use laugh, “If drugs will fry your mind, then my brain must be atomic power!” So I stayed away from Pink Floyd’s music. Back then, admitting that you listened to Pink Floyd was the equivalent of admitting you smoked pot. And several people remarked as much to me in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
With video players becoming more common and movie stores opening up, it was not very long before people started trying to match their favorite music with movies. Many people independently came up with this bright idea.
About 1986, I had my first music to movie experiences. My wife and I were at a New Year Eve Party. The people hosting the party were playing dance music with a muted movie. We were laughing at how the music matched the movie so much. Around the same year, my wife and I went to a rugby party with ZZ Top music playing. In a corner of the house, they were playing a pornographic movie. The music was matching the movie action in very funny ways. They rugby guys were actively trying to match up the two. My wife and I stepped out for some fresh air when we started getting hot.
Two years later in 1988, a woman wrote an article for the local paper about a Pink Floyd album matching “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The article was one big spoiler with back ground evidence. I cannot remember any of the article or what album it was. But a movie store had opened in town. I did know a co-worker who owned both a video player and the “Dark Side of the Moon” LP (that’s a big vinyl record for you youngsters). So I tried to talk my friends into matching the music to “The Wizard of Oz”. They too had heard of this urban legend but were irate that I would suggest it. They laughed that is was a fool’s errand and it was never tried.
With the advent of the computers sweeping the United States in 1995, it was not long before Alternative Soundtrack Web Sites were set up. We created a synchronicity society where we call ourselves “Synchers” and we match up “Synchs”. We compared and discussed ideas on message boards set up by Baker B and Arkiver. The Synchronicity Arkive had the “SynchBoard Forum”. Inquisitive people were drawn to the Synchronicity Community by theurban legend “Dark Side of Oz” and we caught them like spiders in a world wide web.
Carl Jung coined the idea of “Synchronicity”. The web site ViralMediaArts.com explains and exemplifies how synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of casual unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has a meaning beyond mere coincidence. It is the universe telling that this means something! As Randy refers to it, a “Cosmic Wink” or a "WoW" moment to let us know we are on to something.
In 1998, my local paper posted little blurbs about interesting web sites on the computer internet. One day, they wrote about a site showing how to match Pink Floyd music to movies. I hopped on the internet. There were three different sites explaining how to match Pink Floyd music to “The Wizard of Oz”. Michael Johnson’s “Synchronicity Arkive” was definitely one of the ones I checked out for instructions on how to harmonize them. I remember the green bullets for the synchs!
The next day on the way home from work, I bought both “Dark Side of the Moon” CD and “The Wizard of Oz”. My mind was heightened with anticipation. I had longed for ages to try this. I popped some popcorn, read the directions on how to line up the two, and let it rip. Ooooo… I was in awe of how well the two matched. At last, I had the experience! The whole time, my family kept asking to turn the movie volume up so they could hear the Oz dialogue. They really missed the point of what I was trying to do. We may never know if “DarkSide of Oz” is intentional, but I believed it was all along.
At the end of the year 2001, I wanted to watch Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. I had seen it when it first opened in the theaters in 1968 or ‘69. I wanted to see if the movie was laughable by today’s standards. Back then, you could run around in a rubber alien suit and it was amazing. I also wanted to try and match “2001” to Pink Floyd since “Dark Side of Oz” had worked so well to me. I did a search of the world wide web. To my surprise there was now a whole internet culture of people involved in the stuff. After trying Pink Floyd’s song “Echoes” with “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, I was hooked. I thought I would just try a few synchs and then move on to other pursuits. But here I am still, years later.
In 2001, there was an active message board, “The Film/Album Synchronicity Board” run by Baker B of “The Ultimate Pink Floyd Synchronicities: Dark Side of the Rainbow” web site, but I did not post anything there during my first few months of lurking. My first post there was immensely flamed by some rambling psychotic who was never heard from again. I was fortunate to have 2% David of “Unusual Synchs” try some of my first synch ideas (was the 2% how much of his time he spent with this hobby?). In return I tried some of 2% David’s ideas which required me to buy movies for the first time. They were “Fantasia” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. A number of
friends borrowed my “Fantasia” DVD so I did not see that one again for a few years. This hobby also gave me an excuse for buying many music CD’s.
I doubt I would create a web page, but if I did, it would look like Andrew Wendland’s old version of “Pink Floyd Movie Synchronization Story” site. Besides, how could I compete with Stegokitty’s “Definitive List”, “The Whytless Physh Synch Arkive” or the King of Synchdom, Michael Allen’s “The Synching Ship.” I was really excited in 2002 when Arkiver created the “Synchronicity Arkive” synch data base which makes our ideas look so professional. Also in 2002, Marco published “The Deconno Report” with revelations too numerous to count. The physical presence of this book made me feel like synching was no longer a myth. I believe I am continuously influenced by the rest of the synching community. People are constantly surfacing with good ideas.
On the internet, I finally found a group of people who have the cultural bias to perceive synchronizing music to movies! In this mass produced cookie cutter conformation society, we found individuals with a unique specialized vision. We have a sense of fidelity in our collective consciousness. And we exhibited intellectual “Phase Lock” where all the back ground chaos yielded to the productive unison of thought. We do not have to be uniform to be unified.
The synching community created real life manifestations of “Shared Fantasia” and “Shared Fantasia 2000” were group members enhanced those animated shorts with their own music :D . That idea and creation of “Shared Fantasia” happened in the blink of an eye exemplified the “Phase Lock” mind meld the synching community shared.
We debate backwards and forwards about music intent for “The Dark Side of Oz”. And then we argue some more about it! We all admit that “The Dark Side of Oz” is the common experience, the grand conjunction, which we can all relate to. As newbies, we all thought it was fantastic. But then we all thought we could do better and listed all our discoveries. Many many discoveries!
Steggokitty’s “Definitive List” was a more exhaustive list; Hundreds of ways that “The Dark Side of the Moon” matched “The Wizard of Oz”! At first glance, these matches seem to be too fantastic to be mere random coincidence! I had “The Dark Side of Oz” parties to showcase this amazing paradox. How could Pink Floyd create a music sound track for a movie that we all grew up loving and fearing the flying monkeys!
Dr. Mike Casey tried to settle the intent debate once and for all by doing a moment by moment subjective matching analysis of “The Dark Side of Oz”. He concluded that there was too much un-harmonized time for the matching of the two to be an intentional sound track pairing.
I too believe that I have moved on spacially from “The Dark Side of Oz” so that the music and movie entities are no longer in conjunction from my perspective in space and time. But it still holds a special place in my heart ♥.
We many never figure out “intention” on “The Dark Side of Oz”.
KARL TUNE - 3/5/15
But I leave you with one question...
Who discovered “The Dark Side of Oz”?