The mysterious Limerick man on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

Gerry O’Driscoll, Abbey Road Studios doorman, knew many of the greatest musicians of the 20th century

The 50th anniversary of the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon has been overshadowed somewhat by an unseemly row between the band’s two front men Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

Together they produced some of the most complex and enduring music in the history of rock, but apart they have descended into a war of words over the real war in Ukraine.

Waters was invited by Russia to address the UN Security Council on the war in Ukraine, Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law, even recorded a song as Pink Floyd with a Ukrainian musician, Andriy Khlyvnyuk.

The relationship between Waters and Gilmour has always been prickly, but they held it together long enough to create a magnificent body of work.


Pink Floyd were a moderately successful prog rock act when they went into Abbey Road studios to record The Dark Side of the Moon. The album was released on March 16th, 1973.

It made them one of the biggest bands in the world. For decades afterwards every household seemed to have a copy of this album with its strikingly simple cover showing a beam of light being refracted through a prism into the colours of the rainbow.

The Dark Side of the Moon was, above all, Waters’s project. He was the sole lyricist and the darkness which informs his worldview is replete throughout. The themes of madness, alienation, consumerism and death all pervade this masterpiece.

The album is distinguished by a number of spoken cameos by random individuals on the theme of madness.

The first voice on the album is that of one of the band’s roadie, Chris Adamson, the second and last voice on the album is that of Irishman Gerry O’Driscoll.

O’Driscoll was the doorman at the Abbey Road Studios. In his time there he witnessed some of the greatest musicians making some of the greatest albums of the 20th century, but was unfazed by it all. Not much was known about him even to this day.

He was from Limerick and had a penchant for country and Irish rather than rock music. He was affable and above all discreet.

O’Driscoll stepped up to the microphone and spontaneously delivered lines in perfect keeping with this most timeless of albums. “I have always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like most of us are. Very hard to explain why you are mad, even if you are not mad”.

Later he is asked if he is afraid of dying. “I am not afraid to die. Any time will do, I don’t mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There’s no reason for it – you’ve got to do it sometime.”

His most famous contribution, though, was the final line of the album. “There’s no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark”.

The rest of his contribution was left off the album, “the only thing that makes it look light is the sun”.

Whatever happened to O’Driscoll? Despite being a voice heard by millions, he appears to have drifted back into obscurity and the vast metropolis that is London.

A better-known Irish voice on the album is that of Wings guitarist Henry McCullough who is featured at the end of the song Money. “I don’t know; I was really drunk at the time”, he said in reference to a row he had the night before with his wife.

Absent from the album is Paul McCartney. He was asked the same list of random questions, but misunderstood the seriousness of the project and Waters wasn’t having it.

“He was the only person who found it necessary to perform, which was useless, of course. I thought it was really interesting that he would do that. He was trying to be funny which wasn’t what we wanted at all.”

Waters is now recording his own version of The Dark Side of the Moon. You would think that you cannot improve on perfection, but Waters wishes to prove a point.

He has recorded the entire album from scratch. “I wrote The Dark Side of the Moon. Let’s get rid of all this ‘we’ crap!” he told The Daily Telegraph recently.

“Of course we were a band, there were four of us, we all contributed – but it’s my project and I wrote it. So blah.”

Waters thought he was Pink Floyd when he left the band in 1985, but the other members begged to differ and a year later the issue was resolved in their favour following a court case which ended with a settlement reached on David Gilmour’s houseboat on the Thames.

The re-recorded version of the album was due out this month to coincide with the 50th anniversary but has been postponed until May.

Only then will we know if Gerry O’Driscoll’s contribution is retained.