Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Fran's Top 10 Favorite First Take Songs

There is a beauty in simplicity.  To appreciate something for what it is and not overthink it.  The same goes with music.  On one had you have Mutt Lange chaining Def Leppard in the studio for years to record and album and on the other hand you have these 10 songs all recorded in one take.

1. "Quick and to the Pointless" by Queens of the Stone Age - Nick Oliveri's vocals were meant to be a scratch take until the guest vocalist could record.  Josh Homme knew immediately that they had to stay.  Along with the vocals the bass, guitars, and drums were recorded

2. "Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic - In his prime Eddie Hazel was a brilliant guitar player.  He recorded this ten minute solo in one take at the age of 21.  George Clinton told him to play like your mamma died.  That he did.

3. "Oh Comely" by Neutral Milk Hotel - Jeff Mangum wasn't supposed to sing the whole song through.  But he just kept playing  all 7:?? minutes of it with the band standing in the control room with their jaws on the floor.  The only thing overdubbed were harmonies and horns.  It was so special at the fade out in the end you can hear ?? exclaim, "Holy Shit!"

4. "Cum on Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot - Their producer wanted them to cover the song originally done by Slade.  Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Binalli hated it.  They conspired to record it at badly as possible so it would never get released.  One take and six million albums later I don't think their plan worked.

5. "Lose Yourself" by Eminem - Eminem had not gotten as much recording time as he had wanted during the making of 8 Mile but he had this song stirring in his head.  The sound engineer said by the time he got to lay the track down it poured out of him like Mom's spaghetti in one take.

6. "Misguided Angel" by Cowboy Junkies - The band huddled around a single microphone for the recording of this entire album.  With guest musicians arriving late and studio time at a premium each song was recorded live with little rehearsal before hand. This song was recorded in a single, live take.

7. "Beyond the Threshold" by Hüsker Dü - There were 23 songs on Zen Arcade.  21 of them were recorded in a single take.  This one is a personal favorite.

8. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus - Clocking in at over 9 minutes long this Gothic anthem was recorded live in the studio in just one take in 1979.  There were six hours of studio time that day but these 9 minutes remained perfect.  They still do to this day.

9. "21st Century Schizoid Man" by Kin Crimson - Greg Lake's vocals were added later but given the complexity of this song the fact the the four instruments were recorded together in one take completely blows my mind. Yes, the rehearsed extensively, but still impressive nonetheless.

10. "Rappers Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang - Three rappers, 14 minutes and 35 seconds, and one take is what it took to revolutionize rap in 1979.  The glory days of old school Hip-Hop were never better.

There are obvious choices that I left off the list. What fun is it stating the obvious.  Throw down your favorites and lets discuss. Remember, there are no wrong answers.

See you when the needle drops!


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