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Friday, April 24, 2015

Michael Jackson "Rock With You" Isolated Vocal

Michael Jackson Off The Wall image
Here's a song that was considered one of the last hits of the Disco era. It's the isolated lead vocal from Michael Jackson's "Rock With You" from his 1979 Off The Wall album. The album featured 5 hit singles and went on to sell more than 20 million units worldwide. "Rock With You" went on to be a #1 hit in the US.

Here are some things to listen for. The recording is a bit distorted, but I'm pretty sure that came from the copy and not the original master, knowing how precise engineer Bruce Swedien (the Godfather of modern recording) is.

1. Notice the lead synthesizer when it enters in the intro. Bruce was always big on adding a first reflection by sending the recorded synth sound out into the studio and re-recording it. You can hear a bit of it here, plus a nice tape echo.

2.  Michael's vocal isn't too compressed. Yes, you can hear a little in certain places when he sings loudly, but listen to the softer parts where it's brought up with fader movement.

3. All the breaths are left in. This really makes the song as it injects the intimacy that puts it over the top. Many producers would probably eliminate them today in an effort to "clean the track up."

4. The synth solo is dry with the echo added half-way through the solo. Probably something you never noticed on the record.

5. If you listen closely, you can hear Michael's foot stomps in between phrases. Bruce once told me that Michael was always dancing when he sang, so he and producer Quincy Jones decided to play that up and give him a small wooden stage to sing on.



Unknown said...

Man! What a strong performance! I could just listen to the vocals without the backing tracks

Nichole said...

One of the first cassette tapes I ever had. Enjoyed this and listened to the Title Track -Off The Wall(beautiful space of the bass) Amazing Recording, Amazing Michael- Dance In Peace!


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