Even if you aren’t a Pink Floyd fan, you’re bound to recognize the iconic album cover of The Dark Side of the Moon. You know the one–it’s a triangular prism scattering a beam of light into a rainbow.
There’s a good reason everyone knows this artwork. It happens to be on one of the most popular albums of all time. It’s easy to say an album is popular, but The Dark Side of the Moon has the numbers to back it up.
Pink Floyd’s best-known album holds the record for most weeks on the Billboard 200 charts. It only spent one week in the number one spot when it was released in 1973, but since then it has appeared on the Billboard 200 for an additional 916 weeks.
For anybody who doesn’t want to bother with the math, 917 weeks is equal to about 17 and a half years. The Dark Side of the Moon charted regularly between 1973 and 1988 before it fell off the list, but eventually the Billboard 200 altered to include older albums, so the album started popping up again after 2009.
Pink Floyd is far outstripping the next in line for the record, Bob Marley. Bob Marley and the Wailers’ record Legend: The Best Of… has charted for 386 weeks. We love you, Bob Marley, but that’s not even close to catching up to Pink Floyd.
If you haven’t listened to The Dark Side of the Moon, you’re missing out in a major way. The album deals with things that bass player Roger Waters said “make people mad” as well as the mental issues dealt with by their former bandmate Syd Barrett. Guitarist David Gilmour stated that The Dark Side of the Moon wasn’t going to beat around the bush–“the words were going to be very clear and specific,” he told Rolling Stone.
The album’s two singles, “Money” and “Us and Them,” exemplify these themes. Thanks to songs like these, The Dark Side of the Moon also became one of the best-selling albums of all time, with at least 24.2 million copies sold.