Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Living On A Prayer" Bon Jovi Isolated Vocal And Keys

I'm not a big Bon Jovi fan, but "Living On A Prayer" is one song I do like. It's very well produced (by the late Bruce Fairbairn) and the vocals are killer. Living On A Prayer was the 2nd single from the band's breakout album Slippery When Wet, and went on to be a #1 hit world-wide. Here are a few things to listen for from when the song kicks in at about 40 seconds.

1) The keyboards that can be heard provide a nice window to the dynamics of the song. Listen how the keys build with a big chord and left hand at the end of each half-phrase, and then how it pedals on the B-section. Then listen how during the 2nd verse a little string line appears on top of the chords.

2) Say what you want about Jon Bon Jovi, but he does have some formidable pipes. Especially listen to the key modulation at 3:24, although it does sound like the vocals were copy and pasted in the outro.

3) As reader Justin Freund points out, rumor has it that the outro was speeded up so Jon could hit those high notes, which sounds perfectly plausible by the fact that each chorus of the outro jumps a little bit at the beginning. This is what would happen if it were a tiny bit shorter in length because of the speed change (don't forget this was recorded back in the days of tape before time compression in a DAW).

4) Listen how the vocal develops. The lead vocal is by itself in the verse, a harmony is added during the B section, and then doubled during the chorus.

5) The vocal is pretty drenched in reverb. Although it sounds pretty good, you probably wouldn't find that happening if the song was done today, since the trend is for everything to be drier.



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4 comments:

RJ said...

Definitely sounds like the outro was sped up to me, but it doesn't matter, Jon's vocals sound EXTREMELY good to begin with.

I enjoyed this one a lot because it's from a band that gets a lot of flack for being too stadium rock. It's very good to expose the talents within the song.

Don D said...

If it was sped up (and it sounds like it was)there must have been some fancy mathematics at work to find the correct up-pitch ratio and slow the tempo during the recording to maintain the beat on the final mix. Would they have used a metronome of some sort?

Aah, the good old days.

Anonymous said...

i would have thought they would have recorded the instruments, then slowed the tape down to a pitch close to that of the first chorus, then recorded jons vocals at normal pitch, then returned the tape to normal speed, pitching the vox up in perportion to the rest of the instruments.

Bobby Owsinski said...

Yeah, that's what they did. I think the terminology of "sped up" got a little twisted here.

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