'Wall of Sound' Fails

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Khaki F, May 16, 2019.

  1. Khaki F

    Khaki F Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Kenosha, WI. USA
    Mott the Hoople's "Foxy Foxy" was a pretty good song, but they went for the "Wall of Sound" with the production, turning it into mush, and making the melody all but unrecognizable in the process. Any others?

    Mr.Sean likes this.
  2. Extract

    Extract Well-Known Member

    If anyone mentions Devin Townsend, I will find you and I will kill you.
    Wounded Land likes this.
  3. DJ LX

    DJ LX Forum Resident

    Madison WI
    To flip this thread on its head - here's a smashing 'wall of sound' success: the glorious 15 second intro to the Jayhawks' "I'd Run Away." Is there any one with a good ear who delineate what the instruments/techniques they used to achieve this?

    wayneklein, John54 and Vinny123 like this.
  4. Cynthia Tebbetts

    Cynthia Tebbetts Forum Resident

    Manchester, NH
    The Wall of Sound really hurt the sound quality of George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" lp
    NorthNY Mark, Aurora, LouieG and 10 others like this.
  5. Zeppelin fan

    Zeppelin fan Well-Known Member

  6. WMTC

    WMTC Forum Resident

    Actually, I couldn't imagine hearing "What Is Life" or "My Sweet Lord" any other way. The wall of sound treatment makes both of those sound huge and powerful. Especially on AM radio (which is a big part of why "the wall" was invented in the first place, I believe).
    Zeppelin fan, Chuckee, CliffL and 4 others like this.
  7. Cynthia Tebbetts

    Cynthia Tebbetts Forum Resident

    Manchester, NH
    Even George hated the way the clean guitar sounds got smothered by the way Spector recorded it and it couldn't be cleaned up for the remaster
  8. WMTC

    WMTC Forum Resident

    Well George might not have liked it, but I sure do:D

    In all seriousness, though, I haven't listened to the entire album, mostly just the tracks named, along with "All Things Must Pass." It's high up on my "albums I'd like to listen to" list, but I haven't gotten there yet. Maybe the rest of the album would be better off un-Spectorized.
  9. Braulio Acosta

    Braulio Acosta Forum Resident

    Lima, Perú
    As long as we're just mentioning attempts, I like Matthew Sweet's In Reverse.
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  10. JimSmiley

    JimSmiley Team Blue Note

  11. Wombat Reynolds

    Wombat Reynolds Jimmy Page stole all my best riffs.

    Atlanta, GA, USA
    Abba had some fails, trying to (apparently) copy the Phil Spector sound, by using vari-speed and reverb effects. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it wasnt so hot.

    Exhibit A of not so hot: its not horrible but it is overly mushy in spots:

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  12. WMTC

    WMTC Forum Resident

    When they got it, though, like on "Honey Honey," the result is pure power! & Awesomeness!
  13. fishcane

    fishcane Forum Resident


    Bill kreutzmann interview:

    Wall of Sound is the craziest thing, but I never thought about if from the perspective of the guy sitting directly underneath until I read your book.
    Ha! The first time I saw it was in Reno and the thing was blowing because they only had one two-ton winch up there and one chain down to it and I went, “Nuh-uh, no good. I’m not sitting under that thing.” I’m not an engineer but I said, “Put two more winches there, one on each corner so it’s triangular shaped, with the longest side on the speakers out front.” And that made it a lot better, but it was intolerable for other reasons!
    It was too impractical. All your sound came from behind you and that’s ridiculous. It made the drums sound horrible. Just think about that much sound going out over you. It went right into the drum mics. It was far out, but it was hard for me to get real intimate. I didn’t like it.
    KDubATX and Former Lee Warmer like this.
  14. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Mt. Kisco, NY
    Well then I won't say it explicitly...but as much as I love Devin...it doesn't work for me as much as I've tried.
  15. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Wah Wah in particular was a muddy mess and the worst thing Spector touched. I can only make it through the Bangla Desh version. Not that it is much of a song to begin with. No real melody and the epitome of whiny lyrics.
    NorthNY Mark likes this.
  16. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Cambridge, MA
    Poor revisionist George.

    He had no problem with it when it was recorded. And he had no problem when it when that production got him a hit album and critical acclaim.

    Years later, the Crabby One threw Spector under a bus.
  17. Dan Steely

    Dan Steely Never Gonna Do It Without The Fez On

    And then Spector threw himself under the bus.
  18. ragged company

    ragged company Forum Resident

    Cleveland, OH
    Can't help with your question, but this is a great song!
    DJ LX likes this.
  19. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Forum Resident

    JoeF. likes this.
  20. Jerquee

    Jerquee Take this, brother, may it serve you well.

    New York
    I've always despised the legendary 'wall of sound'. I've always referred to it as 'wall of sh**' because it just sounds like a muddy mess.

    It's a lazy production approach masquerading as a valid artistic decision that unfortunately mars many classic recordings. Phil Spector should have to serve additional time for his crimes against music.
    t-man 54, Former Lee Warmer and JoeF. like this.
  21. Eleventh Earl of Mar

    Eleventh Earl of Mar Somehow got them all this far.

    New York
  22. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Forum Resident

    This simple but elegant Brian Wilson tune is another one that fares better in a stripped down state. Here’s my favorite version:

    The original is not bad, but the 80s version of wall-of-sound is not my thing. A Pet Sounds-era WOS production would surely have been outstanding though.

    Love and Mercy (Remastered)
  23. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    Ahh, so a Sector of Spector?
    Former Lee Warmer likes this.
  24. lavalamp3

    lavalamp3 Forum Resident

    The Temples.

    Really like their songs and them as a band but unfortunately, the WOS made their ‘Sun Structures’ album unlistenable for me. (Lay off that reverb button!)
    mando_dan likes this.
  25. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    This could have been the parenthetical subtitle of this thread.

    It's a six times platinum failure.
    unclefred and Mike D'Aversa like this.

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