The Day ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ Ended Its Record Chart Run
In July 1988, 736 weeks after it debuted on Billboard’s album chart, Pink Floyd‘s 1973 classic The Dark Side of the Moon finally left the weekly Top 200 listing. Twenty-five years after that chart record was set, it still hasn’t been broken.
On March 17, 1973, Pink Floyd’s eighth album debuted at No. 95 on the Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. It eventually made it all the way to No. 1, where it stayed for one week. Before that, the band’s highest-charting LP was the previous year’s Obscured by Clouds, which peaked at No. 46. The group was going through some changes at the time, and The Dark Side of the Moon proudly reflected them.
As the band’s audience grew, so did its landmark album’s stature. By the end of the decade, Pink Floyd scored two more No. 1 albums and a Top 3 LP. Through it all, The Dark Side of the Moon remained on the chart, moving up and down based on the band’s popularity at the moment.
As the early ’80s gave way to the mid ’80s and then entered the late ’80s, the now-legendary album was still on the chart, having gone multi-platinum years ago. In the middle of July 1988, The Dark Side of the Moon was perched near the bottom of the Top 200 in its 736th week. And then it quietly, after a long and prosperous run, fell off the chart.
But that wasn’t the end of The Dark Side of the Moon. The album re-entered the Top 200 and stayed there for five more weeks, bringing the album’s total tally to 741 weeks. But wait — that still isn’t the end of the record’s chart domination. With the addition of Billboard‘s Catalog Albums chart — which ranks older LPs that still manage to sell well each week — The Dark Side of the Moon managed to log another 15 years, bring its total to more than 1,500 weeks … and counting.
The album’s closest competition is Bob Marley’s Legend, which, as Billboard notes, is getting clobbered by Pink Floyd “by an almost 2-1 margin” in total chart weeks. The magazine also points out that The Dark Side of the Moon has sold around 40 million copies worldwide and still sells approximately 8,500 copies “on a slow week … often outpac[ing] the low end of the Billboard 200.”
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