Is It Just Me......?
I'm 66 years old consecutively.
I was there......right from Elvis on Ed Sullivan...up through the "eras" to present day.
Now and then I go back through the musical archives to relisten to stuff I thought was great back then.
What I notice is:-
On many songs I can now no longer stand the way they did it originally or the production techniques they used.
I still like the songs......but while I'm listening I'm thinking " Geez...that riff sucks.....how come I liked it back then?"........
and all the time I'm busy thinking how I'd change things up
A lot of times I'll watch PBS specials on "oldy" music and they will have the original groups performing their work.
And guess what !.....They sing and perform it now better than the original version on many of them.
I once watched Lighthouse do a cover , years later when they were older of their "One Fine Morning" hit.
This particular one was on a special show and was 4 times better than the original and also much better than anything I've seen on Youtube.
I actually liked the PBS Steppenwolf "Born To Be Wild" better than the original..
This happen to you?
I've noticed on some of the PBS oldies specials, the groups are lip-synching...
It wasn't the original recording they were "singing" to, however.
That's interesting.....I did not know that.
Today's equipment is so much better than it was back then and that goes for recording and listening I wonder what the Beatles could have done with Pro Tools?
Most of those PBS oldies specials use very professional musicians for the backing bands. Guys who are technically much more advanced then anyone back in the day. conversely, I saw a special where Phil Collins assembled all the old Motown Funk Brothers to re-record a lot of Motown stuff and I thought they didn't come close to sounding as good as the original recordings. Go figure.
I'm actually very fond of the way old records sound. I think nowadays the production is too clinical and sterile, with very little roughness or edge. Though there is some back to the roots movement rediscovering the magic of old school recording techniques and their shortcomings, which in some instances are what made the thing sound so good back then.
When I listen to some records from the early to mid sixties, there's quite some white noise and background sounds (think of Davis whispering to the musicians and snipping fingers on Bitches Brew) that were picked up. Today that would be inacceptable, but I think it actually adds to the charm. We have become slaves to DAWs! (Not really, they don't dictate how we oughtta do things)
FWIW, I think the original version of Born to be wild is totally fine as is. Actually it hadn't crossed my mind that there could be anything wrong with it until now.
I feel that way when it comes to paying stupid high ticket prices to watch a bunch of old guys try to recreate the fire and angst they brought to the stage 30~40 years ago. It's no surprise they are more polished, they've had time to get that way, but they lack the hunger, the urgency if you will, of their youth and to me rock and roll is as much about the attitude, the swagger, the conviction with which it is delivered, as it is the material.
Don't get me wrong, technical prowess can be fun for a minute but if it's delivered by a bunch of guys with the enthusiasm displayed at your typical funeral wake, it just fails to connect. I'll watch it, and usually will enjoy it, but I wouldn't drop a wad of cash to see it in person.
I'm in your age group and I think it's a combination of improvements in technology, the musicianship bar has been raised higher and we have become more discerning in how we listen. Still I love some of the old Chess, Stax and Atlantic stuff. And James Jamerson (Motown) raised the bass playing bar much higher than I will ever achieve a long time ago.
I think given the technologies that were available to those artists at the time they did a hell of a job. Too much of the pop music today is just computer based , drum machines and such. Most of the popsters today wouldnt sound like much if they had to use 2 inch tape on an anolog recording machine, no computers, no sampling, no synth's. I think the appeal of those days gone by is that its real and honest, not all slick with digital effect. Just my opinion mind you.
BTW, I saw steppenwolf numerous times and even opened for them once, and I still love the original recording (single from first album) the best. Check out Mars Bonfires original recording of the song, its cool, but not as ballsy as the one everyone knows
A lot of that stuff is still great. Grass Roots, etc. These guys were studio pros who could arrange and cut a couple of hits in a day.
How can anyone not like the early Ronnettes stuff?
I like the older songs and older sounds better. I am amazed at how much they were able to do with what is now considered primitive equipment. They had to be creative in order to get the sound they wanted. Much of today's music sounds over processed and very sterile. There isn't as much creativity. Now, all you have to do his pull up a patch to get the sound you want. There is also too much reliance on Autotune. I remember when bands could actually sing and harmonize.
I have seen several of the PBS specials. They usually have professional backing bands and most of the time the vocalists were not even part of the original band.
Yes, and you're not alone. I'm 64 years old, and have a sister who is 7 years older than me. experienced my of the early 50's music through her. I remember Elvis on Ed's show, and many other facets pre-beatles rock and roll. I've also noticed many such things as you've mentioned.
I supposed it has to do with our musical prowess then and now, as well as the artists' themselves.
We've become so used to digital recording technology that in many cases we've forgotten how poor the analog technology of the 50's 60's and 70's was.
Also, in many cases when we listen to a studio cut repeatedly, and then we hear either a remaster, or live performance, it's noticeably different. Sometimes better, some times not.
In any case, I know what you're talking about, and I agree with you. I can only imagine the differences today's young people will experience in their lifetimes.
Personally I don't care about stage "swagger"...
With me it's all about how the music sounds.
Probably why I can listen to the Rolling Stones all day if it's the studio version....
Can't stand 'em doing "live" performances.
I hate to say it but that's how I feel about the BeachBoys too...
Never liked their "live" stuff.........half the time they were using "stand-in" musicians......and they sounded "unrehearsed".....or they played weird songs that they didn't write etc.etc.
But I could listen to their records all day on good stereo equipment.
I remember reading that House of the Rising Sun was 1 take and recorded only because they needed 1 more track to fill the album. Cost of recording was 10 pounds (25.00 at the time).
I remember Chuck Berry saying they did something like 55 takes on Johnny B.Good
Last night I watched two "specials".....
One was "Lightning In A Bottle"...all about blues players
The other was The Doobie Brothers 1982 final concert....
Excellent! (Would have loved to have been there live for that one).
I'm 62, so I remember it all the way back too. I've got to say I find for me it goes in both directions. I think for me it comes down to real musicians recording in real time.
( I'm not leaving out modern techniques ) Something from a can won't even keep my attention.
Also the recording quality. I can remember labels on vinyl who did monstrous work and ones that sounded so so. I can hear modern remakes that smoke the originals. I can hear originals that just blow me away with their quality. Case by case I guess. I for one, love the studio banter in some old recordings, makes it come alive from a different dimension.
Phil Spector got the "wall of sound" by pushing the levels just into the red, years later he got the old gang together for a comeback record, trouble was the technology changed in the meantime and midway through the first tune he realized his way of recording was history and he didnt care to learn the new "digital" way, he called the whole thing off right there, thanked everyone for coming, paid them and sent them home. Thats called "the end of an era"
takin from the book "the wrecking crew" by Hal Blaine
Did they ever really kill off "analog"?
I mean I go into the superstore up here and they have a wall full of actual 33 1/3rpm vinyl discs that have all been re-released on commercial-grade vinyl.
Longplay records are back? (Not that they ever really went away...DJ.s love 'em for scratching up)
Titles are a lot of classics , some going back decades.
Then I go across the street into Sears and they had a shelf full of ....what the hell!......RECORD PLAYERS!!!
You know ...those things that turn a grooved plastic disc round and round and produce the sound with a tiny needle.
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