R/E/P > Reason In Audio

I'm trying to pinpoint the source of a sound from the 70's...

(1/6) > >>

Jim Frazier:
The sound I'm referring to is kind of a looped vocal pad sound. It was used in a handful of songs that I remember, most notably are 10CC's "I'm Not In Love", Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are", and James Taylor's "Shower The People".

If it had only been on one song, I might chalk it up to creative production techniques, but hearing it on several songs by various artists makes me wonder if it was something else.

I thought it might have been a Mellotron, but I doubt it, because of the lengths of some of the notes in the songs (although I know there were ways around this).

Anyhow, I'm posting here, because I know George was in the game at that time, as well as others who visit here, and I was hoping someone could tell me they knew exactly what, or how that sound was achieved.

Thanks in advance...

The 10cc "vocal pad" you refer to IS a Mellotron. Ask yourself this: they didn't have digital sampling then, what the hell else could they have done it with? The Mellotron's use by 10cc is well documented, maybe someone else can supply a link.

A Mellotron is credited as being used on the LP/track according to this search here: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8& q=mellotron+%2810cc+I%27m+not+in+love%29


George Massenburg:
I'll find out the pad on "Shower The People".  

At this time all I remember is how James took that particular song on the road.  It was decided that for this one tune he'd stand up in concert and do a "duet" with a (I think) Revox tape recorder providing the BG/chorus parts.  Maybe it was Edd ("take the 'war' out of Edward) Kolakowski who came up with the idea of a foot switch for James that would start the machine for each chorus entrance appropriate to the tune, and I think I remember the Revox's having an auto-stop on leader (or aluminum strip?) feature that stopped it in the right place, ready for the next cue.


Andy Simpson:
I saw a 10cc interview a couple of years ago describing the band riding faders on a multitrack tape for those voice pad sounds....I think they were just multitrack'd voices, done in harmony in several different chords. However, I'm sure in the video it shows a guy using a 'keyboard' for those sounds.....


Jim Frazier:
George Massenburg wrote on Sun, 11 July 2004 13:55
I'll find out the pad on "Shower The People".  

Thanks George. I'll be anxiously waiting any info you can obtain! By the way, I just checked the credits listed on that song (found on the greatest hits CD), and it credits Nick DeCaro as playing the "voiceorgan". ???

... It was decided that for this one tune he'd stand up in concert and do a "duet" with a (I think) Revox tape recorder providing the BG/chorus parts....


Yea, the first time I got to see JT was back in 1980, and he was using that tape machine on "Shower The People". It was extremely entertaining, especially because he had pre-recorded some "banter" that went on between himself and... himself, prior to the song starting.

He did use a footswitch to start and stop the machine. It was pretty cool. Two spotlights on the stage. One on him, and one on the tape machine!

Thanks Andy and Justin for your replies as well. I just went and downloaded "I'm Not In Love" from itunes, and gave it a good listen. There is quite a bit that does sound "human" enough to have been sung and manipulated. But there are also single notes or short phrases that come in and out, that sound like a sample played below it's usable range (by today's definition). I suppose that could have been the Mellotron.

Still, I have doubts that JT or Billy Joel ( and by that I really mean the engineers and producers) went to the great lengths that 10CC did to achieve that vocal pad sound and arrangement. 10CC's is by far more involved than the other two songs I mentioned.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version