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General Discussion What make a great song?

Fascinating programme on late last night on the BBC (the kind of thing the BBC does really well) on song-creating techniques.

[however you do italics] Musician Neil Brand explores the magical elements that come together to create great songs by recreating some of the most memorable and innovative recording sessions in music history - from Elvis’s slapback echo in Memphis and the Beatles’ tape loops at Abbey Road to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and the Beach Boys’ pop symphonies.
He shows that all this was made possible by the discovery of magnetic tape by an American soldier in the ruins of WWII Germany, the invention that, more than any other, drove the emergence of the music studio as a compositional tool and the rise of the producer as a new creative force shaping the sound of song. [\however you do italics]

They talked a lot about Good Vibrations (ask yer grand-dad!). I am old enough to remember when GV came out, and even listening to it on a tinny transistor radio on my Mum’s kitchen table, I can assure you, I’d never heard anything like it before. No-one had. Considering how basic studio facilities were then, compared to our digital era (we are talking about 1966 here), it is an amazing piece of work. Four different studios were used to record mere snippets, with some clips only a few second long over-dubbed 25 times. This single took month’s to make, and apparently cost $50,000 to make. I’m sure you can imagine that in 1966 this was an enormous sum, and it was far and away the most expensive record ever made at the time. I was most surprised to note that the dubba-dubba-dubba-dubba section near the end is not in fact a bass guitar, as I’d always assumed, but a cello! And there’s a theramin in there too.

What’s all this got to do with hip-hop? Well, plenty, in my view. For a start, as both Brian Wilson in interview and George Martin (the Beatles’ producer) pointed out, this was music that was only made possible by the existence of magnetic tape. The Beatles had by that time stopped performing live altogether, and this was the direction they wanted to go in. Wilson, somewhat jealous of the Beatles, and himself fascinated by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, wanted to go the same way too. BTW there was some footage of Wilson hanging around in Spector’s studio whilst recording was going on. Frankly, it’s hard to say who looked the creepiest! SmileThis could almost be another verse in ‘The Format’!

I don’t know to what extent youse guys think of hip-hop as being part of some great popular music continuum, going back to… well, whoever you want to say; Robert Johnson, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter… but broadly speaking, I do. As Deacon said in that song about “Hendrix, Theolonius Monk, Muddy Waters and a dirty Telecaster…”

moto748 said:As Deacon said in that song about “Hendrix, Theolonius Monk, Muddy Waters and a dirty Telecaster…”

what song is that from?

Final Call from NWL