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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Who "Who Are You" Isolated Vocals

It's Friday, so that means it's time for another isolated track. This time we'll listen to the isolated vocals from The Who's big 1978 hit "Who Are You" from their album of the same name. This was the last album with drummer Keith Moon, who died a few weeks after it was released. Have a listen to:

1. The distorted vocal. The vocal is very interestingly distorted. This sounds to me like its a condenser microphone with capsule damage. Didn't stop it from being a hit though.

2. The sound of the plate reverb. It sounds like it's been very heavily filtered with no top or bottom end. As a result, you can tell it's there, but it doesn't stand out.

3. The smooth background harmonies. The 3 part harmony blends very well and is very tight. Listen to the releases, which is what make the tightness happen. Also take notice that each background vocal phrase is slightly different. No cut and paste here! Also, hear how it turns into 2 part harmony on the last chorus.


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cthulhu said...

The Who, for some unfathomable reason, have never been known as a great vocal band, but stuff like this shows just how good they were. In their prime, they could hold their own vocally with '60s groups like the Hollies and the Byrds, as well as the '70s power pop bands like Badfinger and Big Star.

Rand said...

True Rock music (with a capital 'R') began in 1965 with The Who (My Generation, I Can't Explain) one of the greatest and most influential bands of all time.

Besides being a very dangerously entertaining live act, they always had beautiful vocals, both lead and backing in their recordings. Have a listen to the harmonies in 'Behind Blue Eyes' or 'I Can See For Miles' etc.

If anyone didn't give a damn for following conventional recording techniques, you can count Townshend and crew for getting down to business quickly and efficiently to make their point.

Roger Daltrey's vocal track was probably distorted simply because of his own powerful vocals, plus in light of above.

BTW, here's a nice quote about the untimely demise of the great John Entwistle - "To go out shagging your balls off with strippers in Vegas: It's not a death any man should be ashamed of." - Roger Daltry

Now that's true Rock n' Roll;-)


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