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Best harmonies / backing vocals
4 December 2009
10.07pm
mjb
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The list could go on forever I know, but one song just has the hair on the back on my neck on end every time I hear it and it might surprise you. I'll give you a little clue……………. "Bang Bang, Shoot Shoot". Got the one I'm on about?

Well done, it's Happiness Is A Warm Gun. The song itself is a masterpiece of inventiveness with all the time changes yet I bet there are many, many people out there who have never heard it. Shame. But those backing vocals……………….what perfection.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
4 December 2009
10.54pm
Alissa
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Oh, do I ever agree with you! It makes the chorus, doesn't it?

I myself am a huge fan of the affectionate "oohs" in the background of Here, There and Everywhere for one, and I'm also partial to the higher register John background vocals for If I Needed Someone. Ahhh, excellent.

Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!
5 December 2009
8.42am
mjb
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Alissa said:

Oh, do I ever agree with you! It makes the chorus, doesn't it?

I myself am a huge fan of the affectionate "oohs" in the background of Here, There and Everywhere for one, and I'm also partial to the higher register John background vocals for If I Needed Someone. Ahhh, excellent.


Indeed Alissa. Those "oohs" were greatly enhanced in the Anthology mix, bringing them out more.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
5 December 2009
11.36pm
Alissa
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Indeed Alissa. Those "oohs" were greatly enhanced in the Anthology mix, bringing them out more.


Ah, I have yet to listen to that version, i'll definitely look into it as soon as possible!

Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!
6 December 2009
9.20am
mjb
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Alissa said:

Indeed Alissa. Those "oohs" were greatly enhanced in the Anthology mix, bringing them out more.


Ah, I have yet to listen to that version, i'll definitely look into it as soon as possible!


Well you will NOT be disappointed I can asure you! So you don't own the Anthology CD's yet? Perhaps they should be on your Christmas list to Santa then you'll have endless hours of listening over the holidays Laugh

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
12 February 2010
9.01pm
Alissa
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Another notable one is the John and Paul "oh!"'s in I'm Happy Just to Dance With You. And, also notably, John's is notably sexy, *ahem*! Wink

Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!
12 February 2010
9.26pm
PeterWeatherby
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It's bits and snippets for me, I guess.  The obvious big hitters are "Because" and "This Boy", where the three-part harmonies go on for the entirety of the song.

But I get the chills at specific spots.  Like the "Oh how long will it take // till she sees the mistake" blending in "Baby's in Black", with Paul holding down the high end and John doing the chromatic descent.  It's a "wider" harmony than most (the notes aren't so closely stacked together like they are for most of the song), and I like that.  They do the same thing for the chorus of "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" – "I still love her".  John's part is ping-ponging all over the register, but it just works.

I've always loved the backing "ooooh-la-la-la" part in "You Won't See Me".  Especially when they get to "we have lost the time …" – John and George are one note apart from each other, so it just shimmers with pleasant harmonic friction.

I think the one that takes the cake for me, though, every single time, is the last verse of "And Your Bird Can Sing".  The build-up to it is fantastic, there's the big cymbal crash, and it just explodes into this huge, soaring, angelic sound.  I always crank the volume on that.  Major spine-tingles.  :-)

Are there any harmonies/backing vocals that you don't like?  Honestly, I'm not a big fan of "Yes It Is".  The harmonies seem awkwardly clustered throughout the verses, sometimes sounding dissonant, and they're a bugger to sing because of that.

Not a bit like Cagney.
13 February 2010
4.16am
Alex
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The first song that came to my mind was 'This Boy' but 'Help!' is also superb. Actually, there are so many worthy of listing I will just stop thereLaugh

15 February 2010
2.20pm
mjb
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PeterWeatherby said:

Are there any harmonies/backing vocals that you don't like?  Honestly, I'm not a big fan of "Yes It Is".  The harmonies seem awkwardly clustered throughout the verses, sometimes sounding dissonant, and they're a bugger to sing because of that.


I love this song BUT to this day, despite many musicologists saying otherwise, I still think George, in particular, sings some bum notes. And as you quite rightly point out it IS a 'bugger' to sing!

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 February 2010
2.26pm
PeterWeatherby
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mjb said:

PeterWeatherby said:

Are there any harmonies/backing vocals that you don't like?  Honestly, I'm not a big fan of "Yes It Is".  The harmonies seem awkwardly clustered throughout the verses, sometimes sounding dissonant, and they're a bugger to sing because of that.


I love this song BUT to this day, despite many musicologists saying otherwise, I still think George, in particular, sings some bum notes. And as you quite rightly point out it IS a 'bugger' to sing!


I must agree.  Listen especially on the opening line, "If you wear red to-night" – the score calls for the middle voice (George) to sing a note that doesn't, technically, belong in that minor chord.  It just never sounds right to my ears, even when it's note-perfect – and I think he wavers a bit on it (for which I don't blame him in the least).

But, as you said, and as I wish I had earlier clarified, I love this song, and I love playing it.  Just not a big fan of the way the harmonies are written.

Not a bit like Cagney.
15 February 2010
2.37pm
mjb
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PeterWeatherby said:

mjb said:

PeterWeatherby said:

Are there any harmonies/backing vocals that you don't like?  Honestly, I'm not a big fan of "Yes It Is".  The harmonies seem awkwardly clustered throughout the verses, sometimes sounding dissonant, and they're a bugger to sing because of that.


I love this song BUT to this day, despite many musicologists saying otherwise, I still think George, in particular, sings some bum notes. And as you quite rightly point out it IS a 'bugger' to sing!


I must agree.  Listen especially on the opening line, "If you wear red to-night" – the score calls for the middle voice (George) to sing a note that doesn't, technically, belong in that minor chord.  It just never sounds right to my ears, even when it's note-perfect – and I think he wavers a bit on it (for which I don't blame him in the least).

But, as you said, and as I wish I had earlier clarified, I love this song, and I love playing it.  Just not a big fan of the way the harmonies are written.


George also plays a real bum chord with his guitar effect pedal on this too -have you heard it? I think it's during the second bridge……..it's not hard to miss!

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 February 2010
2.43pm
mjb
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Correction! It's on the first bridge as John sings "by my SIDE". On the word 'side' (about 1:07) it sticks out like a sore thumb. And there is also something not quite right with the chord he plays around 1:59 either Surprised

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 February 2010
2.47pm
PeterWeatherby
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mjb said:

Correction! It's on the first bridge as John sings "by my SIDE". On the word 'side' (about 1:07) it sticks out like a sore thumb.


Wow, you weren't kidding.  I never noticed that before.  Yikes! (reminds me of the bum chord Paul hits on the piano on the last verse of "Let it Be")

Not a bit like Cagney.
15 February 2010
2.57pm
mjb
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PeterWeatherby said:

mjb said:

Correction! It's on the first bridge as John sings "by my SIDE". On the word 'side' (about 1:07) it sticks out like a sore thumb.


Wow, you weren't kidding.  I never noticed that before.  Yikes! (reminds me of the bum chord Paul hits on the piano on the last verse of "Let it Be")


I might be corrected here, but I'm sure I read that Paul purposely left that bum note in Let It Be. It was part of the 'worts and all' attitude.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 February 2010
4.29pm
Joe
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They had enough versions to choose from – The Beatles performed Let It Be loads of times in January 1969.

What about the piano notes at the end of Magical Mystery Tour? I've never known whether they were intentional or just slightly ham-fisted. Either way they sound great.

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15 February 2010
4.34pm
mjb
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Joe said:

They had enough versions to choose from – The Beatles performed Let It Be loads of times in January 1969.

What about the piano notes at the end of Magical Mystery Tour? I've never known whether they were intentional or just slightly ham-fisted. Either way they sound great.


I've always took them to be intentional but maybe they were played not realisng they'd end up in the final mix?

And we're going off thread topic here aren't we! I'm gonna start a new one……………Laugh

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 February 2010
8.48pm
iCaramba
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So many amazing harmonies and backing vocals to choose from. I love every single one that has been mentioned.

But to me the gold standard of harmonies has always been the sublime If I Fell. Every time I hear it, it amazes me how beautiful it is… and picturing John and Paul sharing the mic while recording it only makes it more lovely.

15 February 2010
9.21pm
PeterWeatherby
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iCaramba said:

 to me the gold standard of harmonies has always been the sublime If I Fell. Every time I hear it, it amazes me how beautiful it is… and picturing John and Paul sharing the mic while recording it only makes it more lovely.


Ah, yes.  Lovely song.  I particularly like how it's difficult to tell which one of them is carrying the melody, and which one is just providing the harmony.  Seems like the trade it back and forth.  I like it whenever a harmony part deviates from the standard "two notes above you" pattern (also known as singing in "thirds") – such as the pattern used for most of "Baby's in Black".  Not that I'm knocking that song at all, but I'm just saying that's a standard use of harmony, and it's nice to hear something that moves away from that.  "If I Fell" does that in spades, as John's part starts out several musical steps away from Paul's, but gradually gets closer (almost clashing at "when she learns we are two"), and then drifts away again.  Amazing song.  Thanks for reminding me!  (Now I have to go listen to it)

Not a bit like Cagney.
15 February 2010
11.19pm
mjb
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Two great John & Paul vocal songs (If I Fell & Baby's In Black). I love the live version of BIB (on Real Love CD single) because John cocks up and just laughs, but it doesn't matter – it sounds just great and they are having so much fun. That performance is just so damn cool.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
16 February 2010
2.22am
Alissa
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mjb said:Two great John & Paul vocal songs (If I Fell & Baby's In Black). I love the live version of BIB (on Real Love CD single) because John cocks up and just laughs, but it doesn't matter – it sounds just great and they are having so much fun. That performance is just so damn cool.


I think the majority of the most endearing songs have that element of imperfection- it's so heartwarming. You know the passion was there throughout the whole thing, maybe not for each other near the end, but for the music.

Tongue, lose thy light. Moon, take thy flight… see ya, George!
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