You sit and listen to breathtaking songs like Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" or Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" or "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. But do you ever really sit and listen? Do you hear the way the guitars float and bounce and shimmer? The way the drums dance beautifully beneath the song like heartbeats? Are you aware of the vocals floating over the top like shimmering clouds of melody and emotion? Probably not. Very few do.
But if you've ever wondered how those songs were recorded and how they came to sound the way they sound, you definitely should read this one. Here, the world's most innovative and sought after producers talk about the craft of producing. There are stories from Hugh Padgam [Police], Tony Platt [Foreigner, Bob Marley], Kevin Elson [Lynyrd Skynyrd], Richie Zito [Eddie Money, Cheap Trick], Tom Allom [Judas Priest] and many others.
Here, the legendary Ron Nevison talks about working with The Who.
Micing Keith Moon's drum set was presented as a great challenge, because he had so many of them; you couldn't fit any mics in there, because the drums were so tightly grouped. You had to basically get a mic on the snare, and on the toms where you could, and just try to pick up everything else. And he played so fast and so beautifully it was a difficult thing. And also, the other big problem was when I started, the mobile studio was only eight tracks at the time I cut
Quadrophenia, and it was supposed to be quadraphonic sound; that was the whole idea. So I spread; I premixed the drums to four tracks, I had to, there was no other way to discretely do four tracks. So I spread them out the way I thought they should be spread out, more like you were in a concert situation, and more like you were sitting in the middle of the drum kit though.
Rolling Stone ultimately cited Quadrophenia as “beautifully performed and magnificently recorded.” Virtually every song from every album mentioned in this book would receive the same plaudits upon release. Would
Exile on Main Street or Led Zeppelin IV have had the beauty and magic they did if Andy Johns hadn’t been there putting everything down on tape? It’s unlikely.
Reading Behind the Boards takes you behind the minds of the gifted producers responsible for the most iconic albums ever recorded. You will gawk in amazement as you read about how your favorite songs were recorded and what it took to put those sounds on tape.