Sounds familiar
April 3, 2012 4:14 PM   Subscribe

There was more to the L.A. hit music sound than the Wrecking Crew (previously). The Ron Hicklin Singers (Facebook page) lent their distinctive sound to movie and TV theme songs, and as you'll hear in this demo, were the secret sound behind certain prefab bands.
posted by evilcolonel (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
So you're saying they're to blame for all the bland, awful noise of the early to mid 70's?
posted by crunchland at 4:29 PM on April 3, 2012

So when I thought that there was a common sound to all the commercial singing of that period, it's because it was the same few people doing all the songs?
posted by benito.strauss at 4:32 PM on April 3, 2012

The Monkees weren't about music--they were about rebellion, about social and political upheaval!
posted by box at 4:35 PM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh, Davy. How could you?
posted by crunchland at 4:42 PM on April 3, 2012

So when I thought that there was a common sound to all the commercial singing of that period, it's because it was the same few people doing all the songs?

No, it was a genuine phenomenon. Highly arranged choral voices singing in a pop mode was one of the biggest features of 60s music: Ray Conniff Singers, Gunter Kallmann Chorus, the great Anita Kerr and her groups, the Johnny Mann Singers. There's jazz in it, too -- think Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and their "vocalese", or the way bop trumpeter incorporated a more gospel chorus sound on "A New Perspective. Pop groups used the sound, too -- The Free Design. Folk revival harmonizing a la the Brothers Four was an influence, too.
posted by Fnarf at 4:45 PM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

He's the Love-Matic Grandpa, and heeeee'll fill our heaaaaaarts with loooooooooooooooooove.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:49 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bop trumpeter DONALD BYRD, I meant to write. And close the quotation marks around "A New Perspective". I could have mentioned the Swingle Singers, too, doing classical (non-choral) pieces with a jazz-inflected but European chorus. Also European: Michel Legrand, especially his amazing soundtracks for "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and "Young Girls of Rochefort".
posted by Fnarf at 4:53 PM on April 3, 2012

Der Liebe-Matik Opa! :D
posted by darkstar at 4:54 PM on April 3, 2012

Thurl Ravenscroft, yeah!
posted by bongo_x at 6:17 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Heeeeeeeee's Grrrreattttt!
posted by benito.strauss at 6:30 PM on April 3, 2012

Hey, Fnarf, I don't know if you feel like tracking down YouTube examples of all of those, but I think you've got the seeds of an excellent post there.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:32 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's funny, Fnarf, unlike just about everyone else, I always preferred Lambert, Henricks and Bavan to L, H, and Ross. I even went to see Jon Hendricks perform solo in London one time, almost 40 years ago at Ronnie Scott's, but didn't think much of him without the other two along.

Anyway, A New Perspective always has been one of my favorite albums, ever since it came out. Here's one of the tracks you're talking about, Christo Redentor, at YouTube. I always regretted when Byrd got captured by the Mizell Brothers, 10 years later, and all his Blue Note albums of the early and mid 70’s just sound terrible to me.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:01 PM on April 3, 2012

Always thought that M.A.S.H. theme was a curiously odd song: the *perfect* enunciation and generic-sounding vocals make a line like "suicide is painless" very... odd. Weirdly unsettling. It never occurred to me til now, though, how Simon and Garfunkel-y the song is.

OMG! They did mother-freaking BATMAN? Now that's some culture, right there.

And That Girl? Good GOD, I had a boyhood crush on Marlo Thomas. I thought she was about the hottest thing I'd ever seen.

Tell you, though, this is the ultimate WHITENESS. I mean, it really doesn't get *whiter* than the sound of these voices, does it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:46 AM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had the same reaction to the M*A*S*H theme as you. "Suicide is painless" should be said in a wry, "life is horrible so let's laugh at it" tone of voice. That super-smooth sound that I associated with either selling you something or drinking cocktails just did not fit.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:58 AM on April 4, 2012

Thanks flapjax. Im blind now.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:22 PM on April 4, 2012

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