Strip away all of the production pieces and get down to the core of some of these talented musicians.
Written by Rodney Sheehan of Super Action Rock band, Mass Driver
I love listening to studio and isolated tracks from bands and artists. It really gives me a new appreciation for the talent of the individual hearing them play their instrument, or sing without any band behind them.
Because my band Mass Driver is heading into the studio soon, I’ve been really giving this stuff a listen to as of late. But even if you’re not in a band it is still entertaining to hear how the individual pieces of the song fit together and accompany one another.
“Baba O’Riley” by The Who
Go ahead and skip to about 1:45. Everyone knows this song. It’s been in countless movies, TV shows, and has been a staple of rock radio for over 40 years. But you’ve probably never really listened to, or been able to hear the bass in the song.
Skip to 1:45. This is the same audio from the same concert. John Entwistle was a beast of a player. This isn’t news to most bass players, but to everyone else they had probably never realized just how much the he played and rounded out the sound of the band. With Keith Moon on drums and Entwistle (the OX as he was known) on bass….The Who had arguably one of the best rhythm sections in rock and roll history.
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
I could easily do an entire piece about the amazing artists of Motown. The amount of talent that the record label had will never be matched. And one of the most talented singers on the label is without a doubt Marvin Gaye. And hearing just his vocals on a track really shows why….
While it’s easy to hear the smoothness in his voice when accompanied by the band, it really shines here on his own. Several people have isolated his vocal tracks online….which proves what a monster talent he was. But because this track sounds like it was recorded in the studio, it’s one of the most raw that you’ll find.
“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
When I was a teenager I remember not being able to escape this song. It was on the radio a million times a day as well as on MTV….back when they played videos. So I’ll admit that I don’t really think that it’s that great of a song because I was inundated by it non stop. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate certain aspects of it. Mainly the bass line. Which is played by none other than Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It’s really tough to hear the bass in the songs final mix. But when played by itself, you can see how it keeps the song grounded and together. While of course adding that patented Flea groove to it.
“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys were known for their vocal harmonies and this track is a prime example of that talent. Now strip down the insane production (if you get time look up the making of their album Pet Sounds) and the vocal harmonies is enough to bring tears to your eyes.
I mean what more can you really say about it?
There are several other artists that I could mention in this piece….David Lee Roth on Running With The Devil being one. But maybe we’ll save those for another time. If this interested you though I encourage you to look up studio or isolated tracks of some of your favorite songs. It will put a new perspective on old favorites.