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Sunday, April 22, 2012

"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" Backing Track

Here's a great piece of pop and audio history. It's take #38 of the backing track of the Righteous Brother's hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." It's the most played song of the 20th century, according to BMI, and had a lot of interesting quarks. The label (which you'll see in the video) set the length at 3:05, but it was really 3:45 (which was way too long to get radio airplay back in 1964) in an effort to fool the disc jockeys. Producer and cowriter Phil Spector also added a couple of false endings for the same reason.

The audio on this video shows the brilliance of Spector and his "wall of sound," which you don't hear on the final recording because the song is muddied up by tape transfers and extra reverb. This is a very clean version that allows you to really hear all the instruments. Here are a couple of things to listen for:

1) Take notice that there's a tuning note that the piano plays just before the song begins. Remember that it starts with the vocal (which would be overdubbed later), and singer Bill Medley needed a pitch center.

2) There are a lot horns parts that aren't apparent in the final version, like the horn line in the B section, the chorus and later in the bridge.

3) Take notice of the instrumental figure that's being played in the chorus. I never really heard it before listening to this take.

4) In the bridge, listen for the 12 string guitar doubling the piano and bass, then the entrance of the bongos, and the gradual entry of the other instruments building to a crescendo before the first outchorus.


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Craig said...

This is a great example of how many people it took to create records that folks today think of as classics.

I count 9 musicians for the backing track, the 2 singers themselves, the 2 producers, an arranger and an engineer.

15 people, to create one track. I should show this to clients when they come in with a sheet of lyrics, humming a melody and expect a fully produced single at the base studio hourly rate! haha

Scott Simpson said...

Always good to hear rare gems like this, Bobby. Certainly more talent demonstrated in even the worst of the takes than virtually any home recording hobbyist could assemble, but we can all take inspiration from critical listening. Thanks for bringing us this.

Bobby Owsinski said...

I think you're way off on the count. The typical Spector session was in the 20's for musicians alone, as it was not uncommon to have 3 or 4 guitar players, 3 keyboard players, 2 basses, percussion, and a horn and string section as well as drums.


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