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Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Who Are You" - The Who Isolated Guitar

We haven't done an isolated track for a while, so here's the guitar track from The Who's hit Who Are You. The album, the last by drummer Keith Moon before he died, was released in 1978 and reached number 2 on the Billboard charts. An interesting aside, this was to be the debut of keyboard player John "Rabbit" Bundrick (who's been the band's keyboard player ever since), but he broke his arm falling out of a cab right at the studio door and never performed on the album as a result. Here are some things to listen for.

1) Quite the contrary to the precision of guitar parts in today's productions, there are lots of guitar noise, mis-fretted chords, and ghost notes in the song. We'd probably never let a lot of these things get by today, but it certainly didn't hurt anyone's enjoyment of the song in the 30 plus years since it's been recorded.

2) Pete Townshend's guitar has a nice long delayed reverb on it that really sounds good.

3) Listen to the dynamics of Pete's playing; everything from a whisper to a power chord, all on the same part. Once again, this is probably not the way we'd do it today, as we'd use multiple tracks with different passes and maybe even sounds instead.

4) This track sounds pretty much like a single take except for the audible punch at about 3;00 coming right before the bridge out of the solo

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Mojo said...

Very cool! The imperfections are simply style points. And unlike some of the other isolated tracks you've posted, this sounds remarkably close to the final print. He really got great tone out of his setup!

noise said...

Isn't that an acoustic after the punch in? The punchout sounds like it's back to the main take?

edith ballistics said...

Definitely sounds like they punched in an acoustic 'overdub' from 2:29 - 2:55 for a different texture in the development, then back to the original take for the close. Lots of clams, but amazing tone and a performance with a true live feel.

sprog said...

how is he going from clean to dirt? is there a pedal involved or it's just picking dynamics? he did use some pedals


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