Sound on Sound's "Classic Tracks"
August 29, 2012 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Sound on Sound magazine's "Classic Tracks" series provides technical and personal details behind the recording of, uh, classic tracks. [Not to be confused with Mix magazine's own "Classic Tracks" series, which was featured previously.]


10cc - "I'm Not In Love"
A-ha - "Take On Me"
Bryan Adams - "Run To You"
Aerosmith - "Walk This Way"
Rick Astley - "Never Gonna Give You Up"
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force - "Planet Rock"
The Band - "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"
The Bee Gees - "Stayin' Alive"
Big Star - "September Gurls"
Blondie - "Hanging On The Telephone"
David Bowie - "Heroes"
The Buggles - "Video Killed the Radio Star"
Kate Bush - "Wuthering Heights"
Chic - "Le Freak"
Petula Clark - "Downtown"
Nat King Cole - "Unforgettable"
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - "Oliver's Army"
John Cougar - "Jack and Diane"
Crosby, Stills & Nash - "Judy Blue Eyes"
The Cure - "A Forest"
Miles Davis - "Round Midnight"
Depeche Mode - "People Are People"
Derek & the Dominos - "Layla"
DEVO - "Whip It"
Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"
The Doors - "Strange Days"
Duran Duran - "The Reflex"
Ian Dury & the Blockheads - "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick"
Bob Dylan - "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"
The Eagles - "Hotel California"
The Fifth Dimension - "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In"
The Flamingos - "I Only Have Eyes For You"
Fleetwood Mac - "Go Your Own Way"
The Four Tops - "Reach Out I'll Be There"
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - "Relax"
The Future Sound of London - "Papua New Guinea"
Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"
Green Day - "Basket Case"
Heavy Zebra - "Karla"
Jimi Hendrix - "All Along The Watchtower"
The Hollies - "The Air That I Breathe"
Human League - "Don't You Want Me"
Michael Jackson - "Black or White"
The Jam - "The Eton Rifles"
Tommy James & the Shondells - "Crimson & Clover"
Joan Fucking Jett - "I Love Rock'n'Roll"
Elton John - "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"
The Kinks - "You Really Got Me"
The Knack - "My Sharona"
John Lennon - "Whatever Gets You Through The Night"
Jerry Lee Lewis - "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
Madness - "Our House"
Madonna - "Like a Virgin"
Bob Marley & the Wailers - "I Shot The Sheriff"
Don McLean - "American Pie"
Metallica - "One"
The Moody Blues - "Nights in White Satin"
Van Morrison - "Moondance"
New Order - "New Faith"
Sinead O'Connor - "Nothing Compares 2 U"
The Orb - "Little Fluffy Clouds"
Orbital - "Chime"
Les Paul & Mary Ford - "How High The Moon"
Luciano Pavarotti - "Nessun Dorma"
Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Sweet Home Alabama"
The Only Ones - "Another Girl, Another Planet"
Pet Shop Boys - "It's A Sin"
The Pixies - "Monkey Gone To Heaven"
The Pogues - "Fairytale of New York"
The Police - "Every Breath You Take"
The Pretenders - "Back On The Chain Gang"
Public Enemy - "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos"
The Ramones - "Pet Sematary"
R.E.M. - "Radio Free Europe"
Charlie Rich - "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"
Cliff Richard - "Move It"
The Rolling Stones - "Start Me Up"
The Ronettes - "Be My Baby"
Sade - "The Sweetest Taboo"
The Sex Pistols - "Anarchy in the U.K."
Paul Simon - "You Can Call Me Al"
The Smiths - "The Queen Is Dead"
Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"
The Specials - "Ghost Town"
Bruce Springsteen - "Born in the USA"
The Staple Singers - "I'll Take You There"
Status Quo - "Rockin' All Over The World"
The Stone Roses - "Fools Gold"
Supertramp - "Logical Song"
Billy Swan - "I Can Help"
Donna Summer - "I Feel Love"
Talking Heads - "Road to Nowhere"
Tricky - "Black Steel"
Tina Turner - "What's Love Got To Do With It"
The Undertones - "Teenage Kicks"
The Who - "Who Are You"
Stevie Wonder - "Pastime Paradise"
posted by Egg Shen (21 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
I discovered these earlier this year. Nice post.
posted by davebush at 4:23 PM on August 29, 2012

Thank you!
See you all in about a week.
posted by chococat at 4:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I posted about the 10cc one a while back but it's nice to see these collected.
posted by klangklangston at 5:04 PM on August 29, 2012

Orbital's "Chime" was featured in their bio-post from earlier this month. Great articles!
posted by filthy light thief at 5:11 PM on August 29, 2012

Elvis Presley - Love Me Tender is a fascinating read.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:15 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]

Well played, SB.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 5:24 PM on August 29, 2012

Damn you, internet.
posted by Aquaman at 5:26 PM on August 29, 2012

Wow I love this. Anyone remember Musician magazine? Wannabe studio geek, I guess.
posted by superelastic at 5:42 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anyone remember Musician magazine?

Sure. I remember them marveling at the fact that most of Tom Scholz's recordings for Boston were 4th generation - smoothed over with lots of masking and gating.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:10 PM on August 29, 2012


"For example, at the beginning of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’, do you know who’s asking Rickie Lee Jones, ‘What were the skies like when you were young?’ It’s LeVar Burton"
posted by gen at 6:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Superbly awesome post, thank you.

*replaces mouse, broken through favouriting too hard*
posted by motty at 7:03 PM on August 29, 2012

Gods, I love this tweaky musician anorak stuff. Nice links.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2012

Somewhat related, and super awesome: Marley Marl 'Classic Recipes' - Recreating LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out'
posted by Theta States at 9:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, and as in the case of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", read some and then get asked for $1.49 to finish reading it.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:51 PM on August 29, 2012

Sound on Sound is a great read, but I could definitely do with more of these articles and less $2000 boutique mic pre-amp reviews....

Anyway, one of these is not like the others... If you haven't heard of Heavy Zebra then you're probably not alone, despite them having "had a major impact on an eclectic array of artists, ranging from Massive Attack, the Orb and Nirvana to Kate Bush, the Feeling and Jay-Z". Strangely, SoS itself seems to be the sole authority on this obscure band.

Their classic tracks article contains some gems of studio advice like:

“I can’t now remember what it was actually supposed to do, but it had a bypass switch that I’d mucked up slightly, so when it was bypassed it made the signal a tiny bit louder. The band thought it was great as soon I turned it on, and they immediately made me use it on all the tracks. They didn’t understand that it didn’t do anything, they just thought it was great because it made everything louder. They used to call the bypass switch the ‘magic button’ and they’d dance around like kids, going ‘Press the magic button, Kev! Can I press the magic button, Kev?’ Silly sods!”

Definitely an entertaining read.
posted by iivix at 5:13 AM on August 30, 2012

Heh... when I wearied during the lengthy task of making all of those links, I thought, "Is anyone going to miss Heavy Zebra, whoever the hell they are?"

Then I reminded myself "This is MetaFilter" and returned to work.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:28 AM on August 30, 2012

Here's a Spotify playlist I made with all those songs on it (at least the ones that are in Spotify)

posted by dep at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Dammit the only reason I read that Little Fluffy Clouds article was to see if it would tell me where the drums are from.
posted by Jairus at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2012

Oh man, my Instapaper queue just go SUPERcrowded.
posted by gern at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Holy crap you did not just do this to me. This is going to cost me hours and possibly days of my precious life. I hate you, Egg Shen!! :^)
posted by Alaska Jack at 2:40 PM on August 30, 2012

If you like this kind of stuff, I have to recommend you check out Tape Op. Tape Op is dedicated to recording techniques and they've published a lot of great interviews discussing the recording process for a lot of great current music.
posted by borges at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2012

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