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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Making Of "Sympathy For The Devil"

I love watching how other people record since each session is so unique. What works for one artist or band probably won't work for another, or even for that same artist at another time and place for that matter.

But I especially love to see how some of the songs that we've come to know as "classics" were recorded since everything was a lot more primitive in some ways (the limited number of tracks available), and lot better than today in others (the higher sound quality).

Here's a video I recently found that's worth a look. It's the Rolling Stones recording their classic "Sympathy For The Devil" at Olympic Studios in London in 1968.  There are a number of things to be aware of when watching:

1) Note how large the studio was, and the height of its ceiling. This was common for most studios of the time.

2) Note that the control room was raised so it overlooks the studio, also a characteristic of studios of the time.

3) Notice how everyone is playing the basic track together, and aside from some baffling, they weren't particularly concerned with leakage since all the instruments are placed relatively close together.

4) Notice how the song changes shape as they go along until it becomes the song that we know today.

5) Notice how Keith Richards ends up playing bass while bassist Bill Wyman plays percussion.

6) It's interesting that the lead and background vocals were recorded at the same time, probably because they only had a single track for vocals. It's also interesting that Mick is singing into a Shure dynamic mic (it looks like a model 565, which was a common PA mic of the day), instead of one of the many large diaphragm tube mics that we so revere these days.

1 comment:

Jrabbit said...

That video is priceless!


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