Pink Floyd, the English band formed in London in 1965, has reached yet another milestone in a journey that has seen the progressive music ensemble not only push the possibility envelope to forge a unique sound but also seen them capture a huge popular following rivaled by only a few in the experimental rock ranks. According to Billboard, Pink Floyd’s most famous album, The Dark Side of the Moon, has spent 884 weeks inside the Billboard 200 albums chart. That equates to 17 full years.
Billboard.com shows Pink Floyd’s masterwork, The Dark Side of the Moon, at No. 157 for the week ending Nov. 8, 2014 (the album chart reflects a future date even though sales rankings for the current chart ended on Sunday, Oct. 26 — a bit confusing, but that’s the way it’s done), giving the album a total of 884 weeks on the all genres chart. It falls just seven spots from last week’s position, which nearly guarantees the chart stalwart at least another week on the Billboard 200 and its first week of its 18th year on the chart.
The Dark Side of the Moon first charted way back in 1973, debuting at No. 95 on Mar. 17, according to “Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd” by Glenn Posey. On Apr. 7, three weeks later, the band’s eighth album overall, moved into the No. 1 position. Its original run would last 84 consecutive weeks, ending in October of 1974.
As Posey points out in his history of the band, the persistent story that the album stayed on the Billboard 200 for 15 straight years is a well-worn myth. However, it is true that The Dark Side of the Moon would make a run of over 11 years, from early 1977 to April of 1988.
Still, all told, with various reappearances on the Billboard 200 spannning over more than four decades, The Dark Side of the Moon has become a chart mainstay. It ranks second in worldwide sales for a single album behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and, according to Posey, it is the 21st best-selling album in U. S. history. A survey released in 2004 indicated that one in every 14 individuals in the United States under the age of 50 owned a copy of the critically acclaimed album.
To put the charting success of the album in perspective, the album garnering the second-best number of accumulative weeks on the Billboard 200 is Johnny’s Greatest Hits, the 1958 collection of Johnny Mathis’ biggest charting songs up until that time. According to an April Billboard listing, it stands at 490 weeks. Released 15 years earlier and being a collection of greatest hits from a living legend, Johnny’s Greatest Hits barely scores over half the number of weeks on the Billboard 200 as The Dark Side of the Moon. And third place? That is held by the Original Cast from My Fair Lady for the Broadway musical soundtrack (480 weeks).
As far as the modern charters are concerned, legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, who holds the No. 2 position on the most current “Weeks on the chart” list with 335 weeks, just recently jumped into fourth position on the longest charting list with his greatest hits collection, Legend. That worthy album replaced another Broadway musical, the Original Cast Recording of Highlights from The Phantom of the Opera (331 weeks).
The Dark Side of the Moon sales will undoubtedly get a bit of a boost in the coming weeks as well. As Pink Floyd is set to release their 15th studio album, Endless River, on Nov. 7. Look for the progressive masterpiece to chart for decades to come, lengthening its lead over the Johnny Mathis collection of classics.