Roger Waters On His Favorite Aspect Of Pink Floyd's 'Wizard Of Oz' Legend

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

October 10, 2022

Roger Waters In Concert At T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas
Photo: Getty Images North America

Roger Waters and other members of Pink Floyd have, by now, thoroughly dispelled rumors of any intentional connection between their 1973 Dark Side of the Moon studio album and the classic 1939 Judy Garland film, The Wizard of Oz.

A longstanding legend maintains that there is a stunning synchronicity between the Dark Side of the Moon album and The Wizard of Oz if you play both the album and the movie at the same time.

Waters called "Bulls--t" on the idea when prodded about it during a recent conversation with Joe Rogan.

"It may [work] if you do what they say," he cautioned, "but it has nothing to do with us. Any of us. Nothing to do with anyone in Pink Floyd or anyone who wrote or recorded any of the music. It's something that somebody thinks — it's a coincidence. ... Maybe it's a cosmic coincidence!"

But Waters went on, suggesting that he's enjoyed the way the legend has taken on a life of its own — and mostly in the pre-Internet era.

The bassist recounted a related but likely apocryphal tale he heard some years ago involving a traffic stop down South. An officer following a tour bus on the highway initiates a stop after noticing the vehicle "weaving about the road a bit."

The officer opens the door to the bus to be nearly knocked over by a billowing column of marijuana smoke coming from inside.

"He goes in, he goes through and he's trying to find people with dope because it's just full of marijuana smoke," Waters recounted. "Eventually he gets to the back of the bus where there's a private compartment. He opens the door and goes in, and there's Willie Nelson. And the story is that Willie Nelson is listening to The Dark Side of the Moon and watching The Wizard of Oz on the TV.

"And I don't believe it for a minute, but I like the story!"

According to the legend, one must set the album to repeat (it's barely 43 minutes long, while the film is 101 minutes) and press play upon the MGM lion's third roar during the opening sequence to get the sync started. Then sit back and enjoy 'Dark Side of the Rainbow.'

DSotM engineer Alan Parsons also addressed the fable during an interview in 2020. After describing it as "a fabrication by someone who had much too much time on their hands," he explained definitively why no one should believe Pink Floyd had any ideas about synchronizing their album with the film: they didn't have the technology to make sure it worked.

"We didn't have VCRs back then; how could we have done it?" he asked Professor of Rock's Adam Reader.

While VCRs were a few years from becoming available commercially in 1973, The Wizard of Oz didn't get a release on tape until 1989 — 16 years after the album was complete. Furthermore, the 'Dark Side of the Rainbow' legend only began gaining a foothold in the '90s.

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