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Thus ending years of speculation.
December 14, 2011 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Canadian music icon Randy Bachman hosts a weekly two-hour program called Vinyl Tap on CBC; on the program, he plays older music and talks about the stories behind the creation of the tracks. In 2010, he hosted a live episode called Guitarology 101 from the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. The episode was devoted to various aspects of guitars and included a story about his visit to Abbey Road Studios where Giles Martin offered him a chance to hear anything he wished from the masters of the Beatles catalogue. His choice: to hear the opening chord of A Hard Day's Night. After listening to each separate track, he walks his audience through how the the chord was constructed.

His enthusiasm is contagious.
posted by ricochet biscuit (54 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
Vinyl Tap is pretty much the best radio program ever.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:41 PM on December 14, 2011


I drive around on Saturday nights just to listen.
posted by No Robots at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Bachman is a great performer to watch live. He has appeared with his son who is a classical guitarist. And Bachman has a book out of Vinyl Tap stories. For instance, while still a kid in Winnipeg, he decides to learn how to play the harmonica. He practices all the time. It's winter in Winnipeg, he goes outside, and his lips freeze to the harp like a tongue to a flagpole.
posted by CCBC at 2:45 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Awesome show, yes. Great music, great stories.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:48 PM on December 14, 2011


So, the CBC site has a bunch of past shows available for streaming. That's the first time I can remember actually physically feeling a huge chunk of time being sucked right out of me all at once.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can you imagine being offered source tapes of every freakin' Beatles song? I think I would have been so overwhelmed I would have just stuttered and run away.
posted by tommasz at 2:51 PM on December 14, 2011


http://radio3.cbc.ca/ is also worth checking out. A very well done music radio site.
posted by srboisvert at 2:52 PM on December 14, 2011


That's the first time I can remember actually physically feeling a huge chunk of time being sucked right out of me all at once.

I got that the day I discovered TVtropes.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Giles Martin is a great recording/mastering engineer, and George Martin's son, if it isn't obvious.
posted by unSane at 2:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Favourite radio show. We listen religiously.
If we come in after it's started, my son and I always try to guess the theme. He nearly always gets it before me.

V6B 4A2
posted by chococat at 3:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love this post. My heartfelt thanks to ricochet and commenters!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:11 PM on December 14, 2011


That link to the Hard Days Night chord just has me beaming. He chortles "Isn't that fantastic?!" with earnest enthusiasm that surpasses even the chortling of Weird Al
posted by Jon_Evil at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2011


I heard the chord discussion earlier today and loved it. I think I was just as excited as he was when he played all of those chords together and made THE chord.

"Hard Days Night" is just about the best Beatles song ever.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:33 PM on December 14, 2011


This is awesome. I am now even more confused as to how a friend of mine can hate Randy Bachman and Vinyl Tap. Although, I am still a little miffed about the "earworms that you hate" theme episode.
posted by asnider at 3:43 PM on December 14, 2011


It took me a long time to appreciate the number of infectious riffs Bachman is responsible for. Thank you for passing this along.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:44 PM on December 14, 2011


Ah, Metafilter. When I get home to you, I find the things that you do, will make me feel alright.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:48 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now there's a guy who knows how to take care of business.

Hey-o!
posted by box at 4:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


A researcher at Dalhousie University made the claim a few years ago that George Martin added guitar to the layering of tracks. Randy's story would seem to contradict it. But the professor's story is certainly worth reading.

"Dr. Brown deduces that another George—George Martin, the Beatles producer—also played on the chord, adding a piano chord that included an F note impossible to play with the other notes on the guitar. The resulting chord was completely different than anything found in the literature about the song to date, which is one reason why Dr. Brown’s findings garnered international attention. He laughs that he may be the only mathematician ever to be published in Guitar Player magazine."
posted by Brodiggitty at 4:01 PM on December 14, 2011


Bah! *added PIANO to the layering of tracks.
posted by Brodiggitty at 4:02 PM on December 14, 2011


GOOSE FUCKING BUMPS!

Wow, I'm still tingling 5 minutes later (!!)
posted by victors at 4:17 PM on December 14, 2011


This makes the music theorist in me so very very happy. POW goes the chord.
posted by Spatch at 4:38 PM on December 14, 2011


I still have a fondness for Finkleman's 45s - I wish those episodes were archived.
posted by hydrobatidae at 4:41 PM on December 14, 2011


Dayam! It's THAT CHORD!
posted by tspae at 4:42 PM on December 14, 2011


Closing chord, too.

What a great story.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:33 PM on December 14, 2011


Re Dr Brown, if you listen to Bachman's explanation, the 12 string is playing an Fadd9/G chord (G-F-A-C-D) and the 6 string is playing Dsus4 (D-G-A) and the bass is playing a D, so there's no need for a piano to explain the F. Moreover, given the way they tracked this stuff it would be non-trivial to just add a piano overdub since the tracks were probably all taken up already.
posted by unSane at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Great show! The music is great, but my favourite part is when Randy and Denise trot out their theories about alternative medicine or economics. That's classical gas!
posted by sneebler at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2011


No Robots me too! I've spend many a Saturday night sitting in the driveway to hear the end of Vinyl Tap its an awesome show.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 5:43 PM on December 14, 2011


I love (heh) the Giles/George project LOVE made for the Cirque du Soleil show. It's obvious they had a blast dissecting the music we all know so well and finding new ways to recombine and present it.

I keep hoping for a sequel. Once again in 5.1 surround. Because that's really the ONLY way to listen to that album.
posted by hippybear at 5:46 PM on December 14, 2011


The DVD pressing of Yellow Submarine has the tracks in 5.1. It was like a whole new Beatles album full of magic and wonder yet filled with all the music I already knew.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:49 PM on December 14, 2011


That's interesting, seanmpuckett. You may have just inspired me to buy that DVD.

iTunes has had some strange Yellow Submarine book [iTunes link] as a giveaway for a bit. (I haven't really looked at it yet, but it's sitting on my hard drive.) I'm sure it's a limited time thing. But if you like YS, and use iTunes, it might be worth the download.
posted by hippybear at 5:53 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, I meant, if you like YS and have an iPad with iBooks, it might be worth the download.
posted by hippybear at 5:56 PM on December 14, 2011


It took me a long time to appreciate the number of infectious riffs Bachman is responsible for.

Perhaps. But Butthole Surfers' cover of "American Woman" is still the best version. Evar.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2011


I love vinyl tap. Until Randy speaks, that is. And Denise? Even worse. Therefore, I avoid it.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 6:03 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love vinyl tap. Until Randy speaks, that is. And Denise? Even worse. Therefore, I avoid it.

Explain this. Please.

I have a friend who feels the same way and she hasn't been able to make me understand.
posted by asnider at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2011


I like Randy but Denise annoys the shit out of me. She thinks she's much more clever than I think she is. She's actually quite dumb a lot of the time.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:33 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love vinyl tap. Until

I think it's a great show when it's great, but you can draw a pretty strong line (sometime around when punk broke in 76) past which Mr. Bachman is anything but an authority on what matters in all things pop/rock. That is, he sticks mostly to the commercial radio hits. Problem is, the best music wasn't getting played on commercial radio anymore past then.

Still isn't.
posted by philip-random at 6:41 PM on December 14, 2011


I love vinyl tap. Until Randy speaks, that is. And Denise? Even worse. Therefore, I avoid it.

Well he pretty much is the show. It's kind of the point...it seems like he has a personal story about almost everyone who ever made a song from the 50's to the 70's. He wrote a shitload of songs and played with so many people and was witness to just tons of stuff during that time.

I don't really get the Denise hate. My brother hates her with a passion. I kind of like their interaction, it's just sort of normal and human. Although once Randy played some song from a 70's band that she sang with and it was really horrible.
posted by chococat at 6:51 PM on December 14, 2011


Let it Ride!
posted by incandissonance at 8:03 PM on December 14, 2011


I like this post, and I listen to Vinyl Tap whenever I can.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 8:07 PM on December 14, 2011


I love vinyl tap. Until Randy speaks, that is. And Denise? Even worse. Therefore, I avoid it.

Oh, man, this SO HARD. I'm honestly surprised by all the folks who say they love it. I've always suspected they made up all their fan letters, but clearly that isn't the case.

I may also have been heard wondering whether there is actually something specific in the CBC Mandate that stipulates they must have some boring old white guy playing mouldy oldies on Saturday nights. (See Finkleman's 45s, above.)
posted by looli at 8:30 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh good, more boomer rock dinosaurs mythologizing ubiquitous classic rock, we need more of that.

GRAR! ಠ益ಠ
posted by dobie at 9:15 PM on December 14, 2011


Oh good, more boomer rock dinosaurs mythologizing ubiquitous classic rock, we need more of that.

So you hate Motown, do you?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:44 PM on December 14, 2011


Not to be nasty, but Motown is the "get out of jail" card for the aging white rocker when pushed about his tastes in music. Might as well mention Hendrix. Everybody likes those and it's hard to be more mainstream than that.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:14 PM on December 14, 2011


Oh good, more boomer rock dinosaurs mythologizing ubiquitous classic rock, we need more of that.

You know, fuck that. It's just an interesting fucking chord, alright? And it's a part of pop music history that's gonna go way past your current notions about "boomer rock dinosaurs" and all that easy crap. Hell, it's already gone beyond that. Your characterization is both petty and lazy. The chord is just part of some great music of the past, and as such, will be celebrated for generations to come, like Bach is celebrated, like Charley Patton is celebrated, like (maybe) Radiohead will be celebrated.

Stop trying to be hipper than your elders. They invented hip for you, whippersnapper.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 AM on December 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


That is a positively Frippean chord.
posted by swift at 6:53 AM on December 15, 2011


Grar I say!
posted by dobie at 1:12 PM on December 15, 2011


I am not saying this music is not good, and I'm not trying to be "hipper than my elders". I am eld. I have heard this music my whole stupid life.

The constant repeat of the same stories about the recording of all of these old albums is nauseating; If you listen to rock radio, you hear djs doing impressions of djs, doing impressions of the original djs who talked about how George Harrison's farts smelled at Abbey Road studios or whatever and how they affected the obsolete recording equipment they used.
posted by dobie at 1:39 PM on December 15, 2011


Metafilter: How George Harrison's farts smelled at Abbey Road studios.
posted by cmoj at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2011


miracle solution! don't listen to rock radio or partake in threads about such!
posted by unSane at 2:15 PM on December 15, 2011


Have you heard the program?
It's on the CBC, not "Rock radio." Its more of a themed show with the theme being a sort of loose framework upon which Randy Bachman (a musician, and more of a host than a DJ, per se) will hang anecdotes and stories about songs, bands and artists from a variety of genres with the primary focus being pop/rock of the 50's-70's. Often he has had a personal involvement with the song, band, producer, etc., so there's a bit of insight into the music that I find interesting.

It must suck to be jaded and to have heard every story that has ever been told about older songs, from Hank Williams to Jackie Wilson to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition to John Lee Hooker to Big Mama Thornton to whoever.
I like hearing stories about how its Neil Young dragging a guitar pick across a broom for that sound on "For What It's Worth" or how some producer Randy was working with achieved a certain reverb on his obsolete equipment. (Obsolete! Man they can send some of that obsolete gear my way. Cause nobody wants old ribbon mics or tube amps or those old EMI recording desks or Fairchild limiters anymore. Fucking obsolete equipment. Send it on over. I have a perfect place for those piece of shit Neuman U67s you're not using, Abbey Road.) I find that stuff fascinating and a little more interesting/less dry than ProTools messageboards about VST plugins or whatever.

I also like hearing/reading about new bands and I'm constantly learning about new, old or old-but-new-to-me ways of recording stuff. I try to be open minded about many different things. There's a place in the world for everything. I do, however, admit that I sometimes get that same jaded feeling you have when I read yet another mp3 blog about bands with "wolf" in their names or whatever, and my eyes kind of glaze over and I'd rather be listenening to a show about how Les Paul invented multitrack recording.
posted by chococat at 3:10 PM on December 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Are you on Gearslutz, Chococat? They have some amazing producer interviews over there. I'm not a huge vintage freak but it even gets me kinda hot.
posted by unSane at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2011


I check out Gearslutz every now and again, unSane. I like learning about old equipment but mostly it makes me sad because I can't afford it. I'm not too fetishy about it, although...

...hopefully still kind of on-topic: if you are really into reading about the Beatles specifically and every studio and every piece of equipment and every technique they used on every song they ever did, primarily at Abbey Road, then I highly, highly recommend that you buy Recording the Beatles. I got it last year, and it costs a hundred bucks plus shipping and I waited probably 6 months for it because they do short runs and sell out almost immediately, but it's worth every penny. It's a huge, huge, heavy book that comes in a replica of an old tape box and it's absolutely exhaustive in it's documentation of every mic, compressor, reverb chamber, instrument, mixing console, microphone, etc. etc. that the Beatles ever used and how they used them, and a song by song deconstruction of what they did, told by people that worked with them at Abbey Road. Studio diagrams and gorgeous pictures and postcards and all kinds of stuff. Fucking diagrams of who stood in which position around which fucking mic and what amps were where with what mics on them. Crazy. It's been a year and I've slowly savoured it, working my way through all the equipment and gear and studio stuff and I'm sort of saving the "Production" chapter where they go through every song as well as the special appendix about which mic they used on George Harrison's farts.
Just an awesome book. You'd hate it, dobie.
posted by chococat at 5:22 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


which mic they used on George Harrison's farts.

That, of course, was a German mic, a Klangfährt 1200PU, which Abbey Road had procured from the German radio network, Shtinken.

Rumor has it that the same mic was loaned to Lynyrd Skynyrd, for their recording of That Smell.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:42 AM on December 17, 2011


There's got to be a Badfinger joke in here somewhere.
posted by unSane at 4:57 AM on December 17, 2011


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