Last night, 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Metallica kicked off a week-long residency on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson with "Hit the Lights" – a fitting opening volley as it was also the opening track of the group's furious 1983 debut album Kill 'Em All.
For more than three decades, Metallica has been the standard by which metal's vitality and virtuosity are measured. Led by vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich, bassist Cliff Burton and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, the group's debut established the thrash metal sound in America.
Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All
The Metallica albums that immediately followed Kill 'Em All – Ride the Lightning (1984) and Master of Puppets (1986) – showed increasing levels of ambition, intensity and technicality. On the strength of those recordings, the band enjoyed a surge in popularity, but tragedy struck during a headlining tour of Europe. Traveling on an icy road in Sweden, Metallica's tour bus lost control, crashing and instantly killing bassist Burton in September 1986. Fans of Cliff Burton will recognize the 1978 Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar that is part of the Rock Hall's heavy ...
Below is an excerpt from Glyn Johns' new book, SOUND MAN: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, the Faces... (On sale now, Blue Rider Press).
The previous year, 1970, the Stones had started recording at Mick Jagger’s house out in the country, near Newbury. By this time, the Stones Truck was fully operational and we used the huge entrance hall of the Victorian pile that was Stargroves to record several tracks that were eventually used on Sticky Fingers. I had mentioned to Pete Townshend in conversation that these sessions had gone really well, so he suggested that we go there to start recording Who’s Next.
We began on the first day with “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Not a bad way to start. With Pete’s permission, I edited the synthesizer track from his original demo, as it was a little too long, and played it in to the band in the studio. They performed live to it with remarkable skill, the synthesizer dictating a constant tempo for every bar of the song, with them staying locked relentlessly to it throughout. Roger Daltrey’s powerful vocal equaled ...
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Tom Dowd, Berry Gordy Jr., Les Paul, Sam Phillips and Phil Spector represent a 1950s and 1960s "recordist canon," pioneers of maverick recording methodologies responsible for shaping the sound of classic rock and roll. Their work not only forms the underpinning of rock music’s sonic characteristics, but also represents an oft-imitated body of audible stylistic, genre and aesthetic recording principles. Some of their radical, experimental and at times rebellious production techniques – Paul’s "Sound on Sound," Spector’s "Wall of Sound"and Phillips’ "Slap Echo" for example, have informed a continuum of established rock production standards.
However, the 1990s also marked a significant turning point in pop and rock sound recording. At a time when computer-based digital audio workstations (an electronic tool for recording, editing and producing audio files) were fast becoming the norm, many sound recordists of the era either rejected this new direction outright or blended technological and processual precursors into unconventional and individualized working practice. Such reinventions of technological and processual modes of production mirror those of the 1950s and 1960s ‘"recordist canon."
Here are 5 songs that helped define the sounds of the 1990s, and the producers who ...
The biggest hit of Simon and Garfunkel's career turned into their swan song. The much-loved and critically acclaimed duo personified poetic, collegiate folk rock. Throughout the 1960s, however, Paul Simon's songs increasingly discarded formal language for more colloquial lyrics. Similarly, his music expanded from the folkie roots implicit in his guitar finger picking. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" reflected these trends, besides being a typically well-manicured production. Similar qualities characterized Simon's subsequent solo career.
"'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is something of a mystery to me," notes Simon in the Rock Hall's latest exhibit, Paul Simon: Words & Music. "Because nothing prompted me to write it. I was listening to a lot of gospel quartets, particularly the Swan Silvertones and the Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. I was stunned and I thought, 'that’s a lot better than I usually write.'"
With a dramatic piano introduction and majestic melody, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is a moving, spiritual song that like the Beatles' "Let It Be" evokes gospel themes without the overt trappings of that genre. Some theorize that its massive success piqued Simon, who not only wrote the tune but also was intimately involved in its ...
Who was Mrs. Roosevelt and what's her relation to Mrs. Robinson? Where did Joe DiMaggio go? Where does Paul Simon come up with his lyrics?
"So goodbye to Mrs. Roosevelt, all along the road down to glory hallelujah," Simon recites from an old handwritten lyric manuscript (pictured) featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's new exhibit, Paul Simon: Words and Music. "I don't think of what I do as writing poetry, but the language may have imagery in it."
Watch Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon talk about how "Mrs. Roosevelt" became the famous "Mrs. Robinson," the real background to the "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio" lyric and more:
Opening on October 30, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland's new exhibit Paul Simon: Words & Music will feature exclusive candid commentary gathered from hours of filmed interview footage that walks the audience through the personal story of Simon’s life and his creative process. This opening marks the Museum’s first-ever exhibit anchored by first-person narration by the artist. In addition to the autobiographical films, there will be videos of select performance highlights from Simon’s ...
No one song ever defined or redefined a group as generously as "Stairway To Heaven" did Led Zeppelin. For Jimmy Page, "Stairway" crystallized the essence of the band: "It had everything there and showed the band at its best...as a band, as a unit" he said.
"Stairway" evolved during winter 1970-71 sessions for the group's iconographically titled fourth album (a.k.a. ZOSO). It achieved an alchemical blend of the band's metal foundation with the rootsy feel of tones that decorated Led Zeppelin III. Page came up with the chord structure at the Zep retreat in Bron-Yr-Aur, Wales. After a reality check back in London at Island studios, the band regrouped at a country estate in Hampshire called Headley Grange. "Stairway To Heaven" came together as the band lounged before a roaring fire, took out the guitars and plugged into the Rolling Stones' mobile recording studio parked outside to capture the rapid flow of inspiration.
Plant in particular seemed to be channeling an active muse. According to Page: "He must have written three quarters of the lyrics on the spot. He didn't have to go away and think about them. Amazing, really." Plant himself cited British ...
British music magazine NME recently published a feature asking more than two dozen performers what are the songs they'd wish they had written. The responses gathered from artists young and old, across genres, included nods to the likes of Bob Dylan ("It's Alright Ma(I'm Only Bleeding)"), David Bowie ("Ziggy Stardust" and "Life on Mars?"), James Brown ("Hot Pants" and "Cold Sweat"), Abba ("The Winner Takes It All"), the Beach Boys ("God Only Knows"), Ike and Tina Turner ("Nutbush City Limits") and more. (pictured, clockwise from left: Jimi Hendrix's 1967 Gibson Flying V dubbed "Love Drops;" Slash performs live at the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony; dresses worn by the Supremes in 1969.)
"Cole Porter and Irving Berlin are just the best," Ray Davies of Hall of Fame Inductees the Kinks told NME. "Songs by Chuck Berry, Otis Redding and Hank Williams I love, too. Or anything Holland-Dozier-Holland did for the Supremes." All those artists – as well as the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland – are Hall of Fame Inductees and feature prominently in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Cities and Sounds and Legends exhibits.
2012 Hall of Fame ...
What was it like being in the studio with Metallica as they recorded some of their earliest albums: Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and … And Justice For All? Producer Flemming Rasmussen knows. Tapped by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Cliff Burton in 1984, Rasmussen was hired to produce Metallica's second studio album, Ride the Lightning. The thrash classic followed the band's 1983 debut, Kill 'Em All, and brought the band to Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, where they connected with Rasmussen.
On the 30th anniversary of Ride the Lightning, Flemming Rasmussen visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, during a trip to the region to deliver a keynote speech and master classes at Capital University's Music Technology Workshop. While in Cleveland, Flemming donated studio photos to the Rock Hall's Library and Archives, and sat down to talk about recording three seminal heavy metal recordings with 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Metallica, including the recording of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Master of Puppets," and what he believes is the best Metallica recording.
Rock Hall: How did you first start working with Metallica ...