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Everything larger than everything else

The record company might insist it’s still Machine Head’s 50th anniversary, while David Coverdale reminds us that it is indeed one of the California Jam.

One of the most memorable days of my amazing life… Everything was larger than life… a gauntlet of emotions from the moment we arrived by helicopter backstage… nerves about the event, being threatened by the producer that we would never work in the US again if we didn’t go onstage when he wanted us to… The soon to be star of Deep Throat, Linda Lovelace, RIP, whom we’d yet to hear of, wanting to introduce herself to Deep Purple… booze, drugs, hot & cold running women wherever you looked… & at that time I had never seen such an astonishing ocean of people all staring at the stage… It was truly huge… Truly memorable… A fun anniversary to celebrate…

85 Comments to “Everything larger than everything else”:

  1. 1
    sidroman says:

    I would have loved to been there although I was only 2 and a half years old when the Cal jam took place.

  2. 2
    Gregster says:


    Yes indeed, the Cal-Jam remains an awesome event of near biblical proportions, & a well rehearsed show was presented by the band, (regardless of RB deciding to lose his arsenal of lovely Stratocasters & an amp with cabinets) instead of inspiring us with with some awesome musical improvisation…But that’s Hollyweird for you lol !

    And it has one-of-the-funniest moments in rock, when RB nearly gets blown-off the front-of-stage when the amp goes kerboom… ROTFLMAO !

    “Where’s the sunset” ???…

    Copenhagen 1972 is an even better event however imo, & too bad it’s not as celebrated as the Cal-Jam, as both are superb examples of the different marks.

    Peace !

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Still no decent mix of it on CD or vinyl.

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    Too many people, the only ones getting to see the bands are up the front risking a crowd crush & the rest are there for the atmosphere, party etc. Sure they can hear the music, sort of depending how far away they are. I suppose it does create that ever repeated line we hear these days from so many, ‘I was there’. Many bands don’t play festivals & the like for good reason & Ritchie did it his way, no matter how hard the organisers thought they could push things along for their own purposes. Hail Blackmore for keeping the set on time with the sun setting. Good on you Blackers. Oh and for also letting that camera man know who is ‘boss’, he he he, classic. Cheers.

  5. 5
    BreisHeim says:

    All I can say is, WTF happened to this world?
    CalJam74 was the culmination of Wonderfulness.
    Great music, partying, fun, and more…
    I feel so sorry for the people of today, they have no idea of a good life.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    The other thing of note regarding the smashing of guitars, was that thankfully in Ritchie’s case it was with factory rejects & not originals ala Pete Townshend & Jimi Hendrix (who I presume did damage genuine Stratocasters but I could be wrong). Also of note is that Townshend was smashing them because of his anger & juvenile delinquent attitude. Same with Moon & his childish pranks. Hendrix thought he was a voodoo magician I suppose, conjuring up some form of magic or spell perhaps as part of the show when ‘burning’ the guitar. But Blackmore just did it for the show. The Cal Jam was the ultimate guitar & stage destruction performance & of course something you could only get away with back in those times.. If you are going to do it, do it properly is one way of looking at it. Cheers

  7. 7
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @3: That is probably because there is probably nothing to remix from. I was watching it last night and was thinking AI might solve the problem of missing multitrack tapes.

  8. 8
    Gregster says:

    @6 said re-guitar demolitions…

    qt.”Thankfully in Ritchie’s case, it was with factory rejects & not originals ala Pete Townshend & Jimi Hendrix (who I presume did damage genuine Stratocasters but I could be wrong).

    The Cal-Jam saw a new line-up of all-natural-toned Stratocaster’s played by RB. Sadly, I tend to think that they were all 1st-class instruments that were sacrificed in the name of stage-craft…The first guitar to go, that he’d played all of the show on, decided to unplug itself, & simply fall away into the buffer area before seeing any violence…The rest of them saw a diabolical fate befall them…RIP…

    Pete Townshend swapped from Fender to Gibson because the guitars were easier to break… So the guitar smashing was premeditated stage-craft reflecting the attitudes of many rock bands, about their feelings towards the genocide & mind-boggling weapon-use at the Vietnam war.

    Jimi smashed his guitars too, out of frustration, in an effort for the flower-power-children to open their eyes, & look across to the other side of the world where the meaningless Vietnam war raged…

    Peace !

  9. 9
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @6. Agreed, Blackmore was the consummate showman, having learned those skills from his time in Screaming Lord Sutch’s band. As for Townshend and The Who, I never understood the adulation for them. Word has it (the hype-meisters at work once again) that the Live at Leeds album is one for the ages; but having listened a few times to it, I just don’t get it – it completely pales in comparison to Purples’ Made in Japan. The only solid musicianship I hear on it is Entwhistle’s bass playing. The rest of the players are nowhere near as proficient on their instruments as any of the Purps.

  10. 10
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    It was aired on delay by the ABC-TV network in America. The overhead shots from the Goodyear blimp were cool.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    @ 9 – DeeperPurps: I agree regarding Live at Leeds. To me The Who didn’t get it together in concert until the later 70’s era. Live at Leeds is vastly over rated for some reason, I cannot fathom why. I am a 1970’s Who follower, Tommy was on the cusp of the 70’s studio albums & a little later on for certain live concerts. The Who are a band that some love & others loathe, I have noticed in my time. The same with a few other bands from that era. @ 3- even if a sound board recording existed of the Cal Jam, getting hold of it would be almost impossible me thinks. I like the concert sound, both VHS & DVD. It sounds like it should in that regard, a large live outdoor concert from the 1970’s. The bottom end sound probably could have been boosted a little but otherwise all instruments are clear & equal to my ears. Blackmore’s guitar tone is to die for of course. I am going to digress a little here in regards to modern day music sound. The trouble these days is that some aficionados are adapting or only know the modern day bass & drum sound in rock music & other music including soundtracks etc. Too much bass & over the top drum sounds. Don’t mention the sub woofer. Inevitably the older recordings sound much ‘thinner’ in some respects. Plus the older recording are NOT compressed to within an inch of their lives. It is a very fine line with all this remastering & remixing & what not. To leave things as they are or not, that is the question. Cheers.

  12. 12
    Gregster says:

    @9 said…

    qt.”Live at Leeds album is one for the ages; but having listened a few times to it, I just don’t get it – it completely pales in comparison to Purples’ Made in Japan. The only solid musicianship I hear on it is Entwhistle’s bass playing. The rest of the players are nowhere near as proficient on their instruments as any of the Purps”.


    You’re not listening to Live at Leeds loud enough…You have to think of it as a 3-piece as far as musicianship goes, there’s no keyboards being played, so Pete has to double-up -n chords & the solos…

    What makes LaL’s superb is its energy throughout, & the heaviness captured that you don’t find on any studio Who recording…So they sound very different, heavy & aggressive live, with massive amounts of energy & volume. It’s the energy created that makes the show special, as it’s pretty much full-steam-ahead off-the-bat. Especially Moon’s supercharged performance imo.

    MiJ sounds like the records that the tunes come from, but expanded, with often more input from the band where possible. Solo’s were different but recognizable to the originals, & it’s only the guitar-parts that suffered from time-to-time, generally from RB’s forgetfulness, & not being able to play the duet solo passages for obvious reasons.

    It’s wrong to view / gauge a Who album with DP sunglasses fitted…It’s wrong to view / gauge any album without letting go of current mindset biases imo.

    All that said, the Who played Woodstock along with Mountain, & DP weren’t there. 2 x different time-frames, though 50+ years on, they appear close together. 1 to 2 years in “R & R” can see many fortunes & styles change, at least back then…And the Who were there helping originate heavy, powerful rock, whilst DP were still thinking about it.

    Peace !

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Amen, DeeperPurps!

  14. 14
    Coverdian says:

    oh, yes, Gregster, Cobenhaven or Made In Japan might be better, but I love this gig to death… till the moment when one brilliant guitarist started to fulfill his own over the top scenario. I remember I watched it for the first time with amusement but after repeating watching it ruined my feelings of in other way excellent performance. Guys were young, fresh and (yes, Glenn) even dangerous, and the songs from (at the time new album) Burn were performed absolutelly stunning, from vocals to… THAT DRUMS! Ian Paice was always the monster, but on this gig? Like Atlas who can (and wants) hold and carry all the weight of the moment on his shoulder. Undead and eternal performance…. hard rock history of the highest standard!

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    I did watch the CAL Jam 2005 DVD again this morning (except for Smoke & the vocal sections of Space Truckin’) & I remembered a few things different from the original VHS I had owned. When Blackmore is ‘noodling’ a few of those very quiet little pieces the crowd noise increases & stays the same until the band kick back in. Added crowd noise it dose sound like to me, very monotonous & same-ish throughout. I don’t recall that from the VHS. Also a couple of different camera angles get the music & guitar treatment, a different shot for what is being played. Another commentator over at the DP Appreciation Society also noticed that. So while the dvd has the extra song & a full visual finish to the concert, plus other odds & sods, it has been enhanced somewhat in places. I also remember the difference when watching the dvd for the first time of the overall concert sound. I did keep my VHS for many years after buying the dvd, but as I didn’t own a player anymore & it was many decades old I binned it. It was starting to become unreliable at times to watch as tapes do. That sort of helped to relieve my guilt somewhat from throwing it out. The shame of it all. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Henrik says:

    Why isn’t the whole festival out on a dvd?

  17. 17
    Gregster says:


    Well said Sir ! It is a great gig. Highlight for me is “You fool no one”…

    Happy 50th Cal-Jam !


    qt.”When Blackmore is ‘noodling’ a few of those very quiet little pieces, the crowd noise increases & stays the same until the band kick back in. Added crowd noise it does sound like to me, very monotonous & same-ish throughout. I don’t recall that from the VHS”…

    That is what compression does in the studio post production…The Cal-Jam’s weakness is that the sound levels aren’t great, so compression is used to lift the volume threshold up. It automatically lifts the lower sound levels until a strong signal resumes, aka, the band kicks back in…*The same issue can be heard with the West Bruce & Laing live in Munich CD I made for you in-between tunes.

    Thus, compression moderates & expands the peaks of sound signals, & can also raise the low-level signals, hence increasing sustain if you like. That’s why in the effects-world, a pedal may be labelled a “Compression Sustainer”.


    Monetary issues & ownership rights depending on what was on your contract with ABC I’d guess…There is bits & pieces of other bands performances floating about, like Black Sabbath, but the whole festival was plagued with technical hitches regretfully, & possibly that’s another reason.

    Peace !

  18. 18
    Max says:

    @ 9 @ 11

    Well said … and about time too. My younger me went out to get Live at Leeds because you kinda had to have it. I tried to listen to it and like it, tried again and tried once more decades later – I never made out what the fuzz was about and why anyone would add it to the list of albums like MIJ, ABB at Filmore East and the many other great live albums of the time. And yes, I do like The Who.

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    ABC-TV was a huge network at the time (still are, now part of Disney), I’d be surprised if they didn’t record this at least multi-channel from the soundboard at the time. When EMI released the show decades ago, Simon Robinson was led to believe that they would remix it and then angered that they didn’t. But I’m not aware that it was for lack of source material, just laziness/couldn’t be bothered/”Purple fans will buy any shite we put out, let’s save costs”-cynicism. Why they didn’t do a CD remix together with the Blu-ray release is beyond me, probably didn’t have any rights/consent for an audio-only release.

    The actual recording quality of the material isn’t so bad at all, someone would just have to even out the warts and volume disparities, it’s not rocket science.

  20. 20
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @15&17: Yes, the DVD/Bluray has a different image and sound than the “original” BBC VHS (at least that’s the original to me as that was the first version I saw/owned). I am 100% sure they have added crowd noises in places, it doesn’t sound like compression to me at all.

    @19: Just because they were huge doesn’t mean they recorded it on multi-track. It’s just how they worked back then, AFAIK. I bet the audio budget from the broadcast was way below the video budget. We might think this was an important show but for ABC, it was probably just another huge broadcast with so many other issues to tend to. Live broadcast! Simulcast to radio! Mud! Hippies! “Pop bands”! No one thought, “we better record this on multitrack and save the tapes because some day, some nerds will want to have a remix of this!”

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Svante, I found this in the Steve Hoffman forum, always a good place to go for audio source research:

    “Ok, I know that this show was filmed and edited for broadcast by ABC TV. There was also a simulcast of the TV broadcast on FM radio.

    I recently discovered that the Wally Heider mobile recording unit was also present to record the event on 24 track tape for possible commercial release. This I never knew. I know the 2nd Cal Jam in 1978 saw a live album release.”



    And Wiki writes this:

    “Unlike other rock festivals such as Woodstock, the concert was not planned for release as a film or sound recording. However, the ABC television network (which was also a sponsor of the concert) broadcast several portions of the show as part of its In Concert series several months later. The audio portion of the show was also broadcast in stereo on FM radio stations, an early example of simulcasting. KLOS FM (then owned and operated by ABC) promoted and broadcast the concert around Los Angeles.”

    The ELP recording from the same night doesn’t seem too awful:


    But of course things might have gotten taped over or lost in the mists of time. OTOH, after DC’s “boy scout photo included”-demo for DP showed up recently and saw a release pr the Born Again master tapes, I’m not giving up hope just yet!

  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    First link in #21 didn’t work:


  23. 23
    sidroman says:

    Being a fan of both bands, I have to say this. Saw The Who last in 2019- Citizens Bank Park in Philly, a baseball stadium, there were easily 30,000 people there just to see them no other bands on the bill.
    Saw Purple last in 2023 a little over a year ago with the new guy. Bensalem PA, Parx Casino. Purple were lucky if there were 2,000 people there. When can Purple get a crowd of 20,000 people. In a festival with 9 other bands on the bill with them.
    I like Purple’s albums better, but live I have to give the advantage to The Who, particularly twice in 96 on The Quadrophenia tour, and 2000, when they stripped everything back, and it was just Pete, Roger and John, with Zak Starkey on drums, and Rabbit on keyboards. My top 3 live albums – Live at Leeds deluxe, Frampton Comes Alive, and Made in Japan. Peace!

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    That ELP cd is a must have only for die hard followers. I wouldn’t bother with it, better off watching what is available online & that is of dubious quality but still offers a better than nothing shot of their set in places. It is an insight into what it was, same with Black Sabbath as there isn’t a lot of their performance available either. We DP followers or at least MK3 fans are incredibly lucky indeed to have that complete performance on film in decent quality. At least it sort of makes it a ‘headline’ performance & as that guy says right at the end, ‘try following that’ after signing off with the DP set. Maybe after he said that they could have dubbed in some canned laughter. Sorry, what a hideous thought. Cheers.

  25. 25
    Kosh says:

    Man, I remember the first time I finally got hold of a copy of the Cal Jam VHS – around 1999, as I’m relatively young for a Ritchie, Purple Rainbow disciple… Well, it blew me away… In truth I wasn’t sure what to expect, but being an impressionable 18 y/o at the time, Once seen it became the embodiment of both cool and stellar musicianship.

    Jon and Ian provided a kind of revered elder stateman type maturity, whilst Coverdale seemed like a kid in a candy shop with the voice of a God, Glenn basically defined the excess of all that made 70s rock timeless in its sheer awesomeness and then there was Ritchie, who exhibited the kind of focus and drive that have come to define his best live performances… his tone, as others have said, during that 74 US tour was to die for and seemingly impossible to replicate although I did have an FX pedal that came close… the intro to Mistreated felt biblical and to this day its simplicity remains its genius… I love that rendition… he never topped it.

    Ritchie drove Jon to heights too, with the latter producing an equally legendary double denim clad rock and roll mountain of hair and walrus mustachioed masculine show of sweat dripping high octane keyboard mounting spunk rock… delightful to this day.

    The DVD really got to me, as the ‘new’ cutaways were out of synch – lifted as they were from sections of Smoke (I think) and (yes) the irritating crowd noise during those pin drop Blackers noodlely introspective flourishes we all love… The VHS was a better watch and seemed to benefit from better contrast and colour in terms of the visuals… I still own both, as I can’t part from the VHS as it’s shrouded in a misty hilltop of mystique.

    I took the VHS to uni and it became legendary amongst my peers, many a beer soaked evening ended with a quick blast through You Fool No One… I never seen so may jaws agape, as some young guitar slingers adorned in raiment’s of Nirvana and Soundgarden et al tried to fathom how anyone from the 70s could produce something so utterly timeless and (frankly) beyond compare.

    I live in hope that if the tapes exist, we’ll see a reissue and befits the legacy of this pinnacle of MKIII – one, lest we forget, that runs MIJ mightily close.

    Rock on.

  26. 26
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “My top 3 live albums – Live at Leeds deluxe, Frampton Comes Alive, and Made in Japan.“

    That makes four, Sidroman, the audience noise on Frampton Comes A’live’ is from a Grand Funk Railroad Gig. 😂

    There are lies, outright lies, blatant lies and then there are ‘live’ albums …

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    @ 25 – good comments regarding the VHS of Cal Jam. Yes I have to admit I should have kept mine although as I stated it was starting to do what overplayed vhs tapes do, becoming unreliable. I did pull it back out of the bin because of ‘guilt’ I suppose. But I then thought maybe I should keep the cover perhaps, anyway I let it go. “Ritchie drove Jon to heights too, with the latter producing an equally legendary double denim clad rock and roll mountain of hair and walrus mustachioed masculine show of sweat dripping high octane keyboard mounting spunk rock… delightful to this day”. Ha ha ha, that is a good one, I like that. Are you sure you haven’t been reading Uwe Hornung’s comments over recent years here at THS?. Anyway I think he is about to be ‘dismounted’ from that pedestal, finally we have him right were we want him. Cheers.


  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    @ 23- good that you mention the Who Live at Leeds deluxe edition. A much better release of the tommy songs on that 7 it gets away from tha original single album release which is to be honest, an appalling selections of songs. Thats is it’s problem bug time, covers & a fe so called hits & misses form the early career of the band. The 1970 & onwards Who is the real deal. The Tommy material while being a little rougher & heavier on Live at Leeds deluxe is good to hear though. However as I said earlier I do think the band got it together much more in the next year or two & then forever onwards with their live performances. You were lucky to witness the Quadrophenia tour in the mid 90’s & that stripped back gig in 2000. John Entwistle indeed.. Cheers.

  29. 29
    sidroman says:

    Thanks Mac. The Deluxe edition is awesome. Daltrey said of the original Live at Leeds that he didn’t like it because it was the last 30 minutes of a 2 hour concert. 2000 they were on fire, 2002 as well, Pino Palladino is a great bass player but doesn’t play like the Ox, still the energy of The Who was there and it was great. 2019 was my last Who show, I don’t think I’ll see them, because it reminded me of the 1989 tour which was my first ever concert. Too many faceless additional musicians onstage, it dilutes it for me. On Quadrophenia in 96, they needed the big backing band and that worked because of all the instrumentation of the album, and they really pulled it off having a big backing band and still having the energy of The Who live. Btw, besides Townshend, I saw The Stones twice in 97 and 99, and both times Keith not Ronnie played most of the solos, so much for both being rhythm guitarists! I’m not a huge Stones fan although I do love My Rolling Stones London Years 3 cd box set. Lots of great songs on those 3 discs. Peace!

  30. 30
    MacGregor says:

    @ 28 – typos galore in my comments there, a bit of a worry that. The coffee hadn’t kicked in yet, well I have to try some sort of excuse. Cheers.

  31. 31
    sidroman says:

    Uwe I did a search and I could not find that information. I know Judas Priest had a live album, which was heavily edited in a studio so it’s not really live. Made In Europe I heard certain things about audience noise was looped. As for you calling me a liar, I have no idea why you would attack me. Unfortunately some of us have a life and can’t live on here writing pages of information. I know Germans are precise but most of us don’t analyze, every single note on an album that we like. We simply put it on and listen and chill. Peace!

  32. 32
    sidroman says:

    OMG – he put Townshend and Frampton ahead of BLACKMORE! Now before I get crucified, Good Friday was less than a month ago…… MIJ is an excellent album, I love it better than Live albums by Rush, Tull, ELP, Yes, Sabbath, Cheap Trick, Cream, Uriah Heep, etc…… My late wife was of German descent, so I know the temperament, and I’m Czech, with a bit of Austrian. Please I love German beer as well, and I hear Bavaria is delightful, although no thanks to any trips to Dachau. Peace and love to all!

  33. 33
    Gregster says:

    @31 said…

    qt.”Made In Europe I heard certain things about audience noise was looped”…

    This is quite true…After the last tune has finished, the crowd noise / roar is most certainly looped. It’s easy to hear when you listen for it, less so when you didn’t realize it was done.

    It’s all good however imo, it was likely done to emphasize the high-energy performance just heard, & leave you on a high as the fade finally comes in.

    MiE is a spectacular album imo. Short & sweet, great song versions selected, & likely the heaviest DP have ever played. Certainly the heaviest live album they released, & imo sits quite well along side MiJ, as far as officially released material goes.

    Peace !

  34. 34
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Wait, on the original vinyl of MIE, wasn’t the end-of-album audience pressed into the out groove of the disc? Thus making it loop until you took off the pickup.

  35. 35
    Allen says:

    Two of my 3 all time favourite bands- Deep Purple and The Who. Absolutely love them both. The music is top notch, and stuck it’s me all these years.

    If I’m in a deep introspective mode, I listen to The Who, if I want heavy to rock out, it’s Purple (or my beloved Motorhead).

    @28 MacGregor & @29 Sidroman.

    As big a Who nut that I am, I’m not particularly keen either on Live at Leeds being fair. I’ve heard other representations of the 1969/70 tour, (the guitar sounds ballsier and crunchier if you get my meaning). However, the LAL rendition of Thomas was to my ears, flawless.

    I dunno. There’s something I don’t like about the sound of all the official releases of LAL I can’t put my finger on it. That, along with the original choice of 5 tracks.

    However, I’ve a boot called “Live at Leeds complete”, which is my go-to for the Leeds gig. Sounds better than all official releases AND complete.

    On every single one of the official releases, chunks of songs e.g Young Man Blues, Shakin’ all over, My Generation, and particularly Magic Bus are missing, and even some of the between song banter is chopped.

    Last time I saw The Who was Liverpool in December 2014. The set list was superb.

    Re Deep Purple’s MIJ

    My only gripe with MIJ is that the drum solo should have been dropped and Black night/Speed King, and Lucille included. Other than that, just like vintage live WHO, it needs to be played loud so your neighbours can enjoy it👍🏻👍🏻

  36. 36
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Lieber Sidroman, I did not call you a liar nor did I have any reason to do so! My “ There are lies, outright lies, blatant lies and then there are ‘live’ albums …”-quip was merely to highlight that a lot of legendary live albums are not what they seem. Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Peter Frampton, Kiss, Eagles etc all have ‘Live’ albums under their belt which were doctored or even studio-(re)recorded in part in the aftermath.

    That “Frampton Comes Alive” (an album I did and do like myself, I also saw Frampton live in 2011, he was great) is not a real live document was revealed in a Billy Sheehan interview years back when Billy recounted how disappointed he was to find out from engineers who worked on it that the album (which he ranks among his favorite live albums too) was like many live albums in part manufactured in the studio with the audience added from an (undoctored) Grand Funk Railroad recording.

    I guess we just have to come to terms with the fact that a wholly undoctored live recording like Made in Japan is an exception and not the norm.That doesn’t mean that Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Kiss, Eagles and Peter Frampton could not play live – of course they could -, but often it was just a matter of convenience (with release dates breathing down your neck) or the all-too-human attempt to make everything “even better”. Halford had a sore throat in Japan and sang below par, Lynott wanted to patch up his bass playing and the vocals “just a little”, but then got carried away, Kiss were not so much interested in creating a live document in the first place, but rather a record that sounded like them live because they were unhappy with their studio output at that point and wanted to present it rawer, Michael Schenker was a perfectionis (as were Don Henley and Glenn Frey, everything had to be just perfect live and if not it was made so in the aftermath) and UFO were short of live recorded songs for the release etc. Francis Rossi, never one to mince words, even bemoaned the fact that Status Quo did not “treat” their legendary “Live!” double album (1977) in the studio in the aftermath “because everyone else at the time did and it would have sounded better that way”. Grand Funk Railroad said the same, Don Brewer, their drummer, joked “We simply did not change anything on “Live Album” (1971) because we didn’t know that you could! No one told us, we didn’t know it was more or less industry standard to polish things on live albums.”

    So you’re not a liar, Sidroman, you’ve only been lied to! 😜

  37. 37
    Uwe Hornung says:

    PS: People often don’t know that “Frampton Comes Alive!” was not intended as a roundup of a hitherto successful career of Peter Frampton in the US, but a last ditch attempt to finally crack the US market (in 1974 he was doing session work –> ‘First of the Big Bands’ to make ends meet). After his huge success in the US with Humble Pie (he left them at the height of their success because the music was becoming too heavy for him and there was not enough room for his own songwriting and singing given Steve Marriott’s front man role), his solo albums that followed there were slow sellers and he was unhappy with their sound too. So not unlike Kiss with their “Alive” album, “Frampton Comes Alive!” was deemed as an opportunity to present previous material anew, a Best Of with a sound Peter felt represented him and his live act better.

    And then that album did (justly) take off like nothing before …

  38. 38
    Kosh says:

    @27 MacGregor – cheers 🙂

    In truth my VHS copy is nearly worn out… yet it’s sitting safe a box somewhere, I also had the Copenhagen 72 vid but always found it paled somewhat compared to the Jam… felt kind of embryonic, but a decent forerunner in terms of the grandeur of the MIJ tapes. I guess C72 wasn’t helped by a poor mix either, I haven’t watched it in years but I’m not sure little Ian gets much beyond cymbal noise although I do remember Lazy being awesome… I think I have the DVD too, which I recall did offer an improvement but it still didn’t blow me away.

    Rainbow Munich 77 I longed for too, but couldn’t get hold of a VHS copy and then the DVD came out and I was soooooooo and possibly too excited… Hence I suspect why it felt like a bit of an anticlimax… not that’s it’s not a superb gig, but compared to the German 76 gigs things weren’t quite as ‘charged’ shall we say… I still watch bits here and there but I’ll always return to the Cal Jam for all of the reasons already discussed 🙂

  39. 39
    janbl says:

    I seems to remember that Ritchies solo in “Difficult to Cure” on “Finyl Vinyl” was a “tad” different on the vinyl version than the video from the same show (Live At Budokan, Tokyo, Japan, 1984).

  40. 40
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Wait, on the original vinyl of MIE, wasn’t the end-of-album audience pressed into the out groove of the disc? Thus making it loop until you took off the pickup.”


    You and your low quality Swedish vinyl pressings made from knäckebröd or something!

  41. 41
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “My only gripe with MIJ is that the drum solo should have been dropped …”

    Does no one take a stand for Little Ian anymore?! MacGregor where the heck are you, when you’re needed most?! 😏


    I’ve always loved his drum solos and regret he is no longer doing them.

  42. 42
    sidroman says:

    Thanks Uwe,
    I’ve always liked your posts and your extensive musical knowledge, when you or I or anyone is typing on a website it’s easy to misinterpret things. All is good. Peace!

  43. 43
    MacGregor says:

    Didn’t Pete Townshend instruct a manager or someone to ceremoniously burn all the recordings of their USA tour in 1970? Something that he deeply regrets in hindsight & a rather silly thing to do. So yes there isn’t much out there from that tour it seems, but there could have been. Cheers.


  44. 44
    MacGregor says:

    @ 35- “My only gripe with MIJ is that the drum solo should have been dropped and Black night/Speed King, and Lucille included” Whoa & steady on Allen, there are ‘sensitive’ drummers here ha ha ha. Uwe has found that out the hard way he he he. That drum solo along with Paice’s over all playing in DP was an inspiration of sorts. I cannot imagine my teenage life without it. I can now of course, strange that isn’t it? It was a sign of the times indeed to include drummers going ‘off’, even on studio albums of all things. Imagine trying that these days. I was just about to cut loose there until I realised it wasn’t Uwe that said that. You have been spared the Wrath, he he he. Cheers.

  45. 45
    sidroman says:

    Ok all this live album talk has piqued my interest my interest. So…….. I’m going to undertake The Deep Purple Live in Japan 3 cd set with the 24-page booklet included. 2 concerts in Osaka and one in Tokyo. It’s been a while since I listened to all 3 discs. I will not include an extensive review, Uwe does that much better than myself, so I’ll leave that to him, if he wants to of course. Peace!

  46. 46
    Gregster says:


    I can’t comment on that remark Sir, though I do have the album, but it ( along with countless other LP’s ) remain hidden under my parents staircase, where they’ve been for the last 25-years or so lol ! What I can tell you, is that the crowd-loop is there on the 2 x CD versions that I have, one from “Friday Music”, & one as part of a “WB’s” 10-CD-boxed set…

    I’m not sure if it’s available “new” on CD in today’s market, apart from the WB’s 10 x CD boxed-set…And since you can buy this boxed-set quite cheaply, it’s well worth grabbing it & the 10-CD’s, than paying for 1 x CD at a similar price. The only hassle with the boxed-set is that it’s the US-of-A version of the discs, & there’s some track-swapping on “Fireball” ( SKoW replaces the sublime Demon’s Eye ), & the intro to Speed King is omitted from “In Rock”, which destroys the whole album imo. But they do sound quite good.

    Peace !

  47. 47
    MacGregor says:

    The disappointment in later years to hear that a favourite ‘live’ album is not truly live is palpable indeed. Talk about a let down of some of our favourite artists & their recordings. Well to me it is, things are not quite what they seemed. What I would like to know is the 100% truth to what albums that are NOT doctored in some way. We know of a few, but certain artists keep really quite about things like that. I do remember Frampton denying anything in regards to FCA & then he retracted that comment not long after as he had been exposed, so to speak. Can we trust some of our favourite musicians in that regard? I also remember reading about Rush’s Exit Stage Left being ‘touched up’ later in the studio. We worshipped that album & more so the live in concert Exit Stage Left video performance. An impeccable performance the video concert is, however. Has it or hasn’t it, that is the question. In certain scenarios perhaps we are better off not knowing. But then again I would prefer to not to be lied to or taken for granted. Cheers.

  48. 48
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I’m not obsessive about live albums being doctored or not, just be frank about what you did. There was a Rod Stewart live album where the line notes said something like this: “There is a mistake on track …, we kept it, but … (musician’s name) is very sorry about it! There were also mistakes on tracks …, but we patched those up, they were just too bad!”

    That is disarming and totally ok with me. Made in Japan is in part such a pure, unadulterated live album because there were live no harmony vocals within Purple to go with Ian’s lead vocals, those tend to go awry first in live situations, especially in the days before in-ear monitoring. Without having checked this, I doubt that Uriah Heep released their 70ies live album untweaked given their trademark stacked and layered backing vocals. And a listen to Mk III material live reveals that David’s and Glenn’s harmony vocals weren’t always pitch perfect either, a little subsequent doctoring would have done no harm!!! 😂

    BTW, our beloved Ritchie is no purist either: The Finyl Vinyl release is full of ‘live tracks’ where Ritchie overdubbed his solos in the comfort of the studio control room and not on stage. And I’m not convinced that Rainbow’s On Stage is entirely undoctored either, but either way I never considered that to be a remarkable live album. Whiffed of contractual obligation/stopgap to me.

  49. 49
    MacGregor says:

    At least owning it if a live release is touched up let’s the fans know as you said Uwe. King Crimson’s USA from 1975 always had that message on it in regards to the violin Eddie Jobson later recorded in the studio. The worst situation is of course studio dubbing ala Thin Lizzy, then the editing from different performances I suppose is ‘cheating’ also. Rainbow’s On Stage does get comments that it was edited from different shows, from what I read last night. Also Made in Europe regarding the vocals attracted a few punters to comment. Such is life. Cheers.

  50. 50
    Gregster says:


    Live albums aren’t so easy to doctor or patch-up either btw. There’s always microphone bleed into other tracks to consider, etc etc…

    MiJ simply sounds great, always did, & is backed by a superb performance. It’s only flaw is that it’s made-up of hand-picked-tunes from over 3 x nights, which is fine-by-me, but not having Ian Gillan’s conga’s within the mix is a dire tragedy, very much sorely missed, & very-much needed. Dreadful error to have no recording of his conga prowess.

    I’m not sure how many solo’s were re-done with Finyl Vinyl, but it’s a great album, in fact imo, the Rainbow album to own if you have to have just one-of-them…That said, there’s 3-4 mic-lead “pops” through “Difficult to cure” that weren’t patched or cleaned-up…So there are limitations in what you can do in the studio. I’m surprised they released it…In fact, I remember when really listening to it properly, that I thought some-one had sabotaged my record, & that it was scratched / damaged, but the CD has the same error..Listen to when the strings come in…

    I also have Little Feats recent release of “Waiting for Columbus” deluxe edition, that has every show in full over 2 x discs each, plus another remix of the official album, & they all sound pretty-good to me, though 8 x discs is a lot of listening to get through. It was always thought that Lowell’s vocals were completely redone in the studio, but he sounds fine on each night imo. The proof is in the quality of each nights performance, & so any minor editing in the studio to enhance the over-all sound is simply opportunity to perfect the LP to its highest potential. I’m fine with that.

    I have countless RUSH live releases & bootlegs. They never, ever, have a bad night, or make too many errors. The only difference is the energy level of a show that can be compared with other shows, but they’re all generally pretty intense, with perhaps the R40 shows having Neil not hitting the skins as hard as he used to. The early 1970’s when Neil joined has to be heard to be believed…Outstanding musicians.

    Peace !

  51. 51
    sidroman says:

    Yes Mac, you are correct. The year before Live at Leeds, The Who had recorded countless shows, all were equally good, and they couldn’t pick one. Townshend destroyed all the tapes and that’s how Live at Leeds came about. Also they wanted an official Live recording because there were a lot of live bootlegs and also they wanted a heavy raw album after the orchestration of Tommy. Peace!

  52. 52
    Nick says:

    Gregster @50:

    not having Ian Gillan’s conga’s within the mix is a dire tragedy, very much sorely missed, & very-much needed.

    for a long time i also thought the congas were simply not recorded, but they are there in the 2014 remix.

  53. 53
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The congas have always been there (but came out better in subsequent remixes), but you’d actually notice their absence more (if they stopped playing) than their presence! The reason being that Deep Purple weren’t Santana, their music offered almost no space for percussion other than the drums and the odd tambourine to cut through (plus Jon making percussive noises with his Hammond). Yet congas need room to breathe – that wasn’t the case with Purple, especially not during the frantic Japanese gigs which were at a very loud volume to boot. They were never a crucial part of the music with Purple, more a prop to give Ian something to do on stage during those endless improvisations live, especially in Mk II’s early days.

    Trying to keep up with the volume and intensity (and probably with less than a sophisticated conga technique), Ian banged the darn things so hard that over time he ruined his hands. That is why he stopped doing it on stage.

  54. 54
    MacGregor says:

    I have always heard the congas a little on the MIJ album. I suppose Gillan couldn’t find a pub nearby so he had to stay at the gig & he was bored so he thought he had better join in. Talking of Santana I used to own a few early 70’s albums including that triple live Lotus. I went to a concert in 1983, it was good for a while but it turned into one of the most boring concerts I have ever been to. Too much percussion after a while. A good vibe there though & it is uplifting music in that sense. My favourite Santana albums at that time were the late 70’s Inner Secrets & then Marathon, a more rock song approach, vocals etc. Cheers.

  55. 55
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Re live recordings and how they can be patched up, especially these days: The Who’s Live at Hull is a case in point. Due to recording problems at the time the bass track you hear on that is not sourced from that night, but from the night before, namely Live at Leeds. So what you hear is an aftermath merging of JAE playing in Leeds and Keith, Pete & John playing in Hull! No doubt also made possible by the fact that John and Keith were never the tightest, most groovy rhythm section locked into each other, but more a jagged pair, John opting more for the lead bass approach of a soaring raptor swooping down on The Who’s music in places and Keith generating creative chaos! 😂

  56. 56
    MacGregor says:

    I noticed The Who mentioned for a few older recordings that were patched up a little in the 1990’s for the newer re releases. Also of note is Robin Trower’s live album mid 70’s. All of the vocals are from a later take in the studio as the live recordings left them sounding rather awful. James Dewar did the singing in one take as if he was still at the gig, over the recorded live music. I never knew that & that album is a favourite of mine. All this & more I have read recently from punters at the Steve Hoffman forums. How true is it all though? Cheers

  57. 57
    MacGregor says:

    I have three requests to AI. Help, please help. First, can you get rid of all the whoop & hollering vocal on the Deep Purple Cal Jam performance? Secondly, how about a ‘in harmony’ singing mix for the latter part of Mistreated & also Space Truckin’? Thirdly and finally please oh please put a shirt on Glenn Hughes. Surely these minor requests can be fulfilled in this day & age. Cheers.

  58. 58
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Re 55: I meant to say … Keith, Pete and ROGER playing in Hull, sorry!

  59. 59
    sidroman says:

    Just wanted to inform the panel that I listened to cd1 Osaka 15th August 1972 of Live In Japan.
    Uwe you mentioned Peter Frampton, I saw him in the mid 90’s, 2019 which was supposed to be his Farewell tour, but I saw him last year as well. God Bless the man! He actually had to walk out on stage with a cane and had to play the entire show sitting down. He clearly loves playing and singing, and I believe that as long as he can still hold a guitar I think he will do so. Played about a 2 hour set, had plenty of stories to tell , the most interesting was how his black Les Paul, his main guitar from 1970-80, he used it Frampton Comes Alive of course, went missing or was stolen, but he got it back about 30 years later, and it was the actual guitar because he wrote down the serial number.
    Speaking of all this Live Who stuff I haven’t listened to The Who Live at the Fillmore East 1968 in awhile, cd 2 has My Generation coming in at just over 33 minutes. Looking at the pic of Townshend on the back, I wonder if they were using Sound City or Sunn amps on this tour ? I’ll have to check The Who Equipment guide closely a great online source for all their equipment over the years. Peace!

  60. 60
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Sidroman, I beat you! He played a lot longer when I saw him (with an intermission), most likely because his health then still allowed him to. Stanley Sheldon had just rejoined his band and Peter introduced him warmly as someone who had contributed so much to his music. That was a nice touch.

    I’ve heard the recent live album from Peter and, sadly so, the disease is beginning to show both in his playing and his singing compared to when I saw him in 2011, the sparkle is gone. All power to him for what lies ahead.

  61. 61
    Gregster says:


    The Steve Hoffman forum is full of ass-holes, that often base their opinions on a computer-screen read-out, than trusting their ears, or their own analysis results. So you get a steady stream of meaningless regurgitated garbage. And like sheep, replies often follow a lead-assholes opinion without that person being able to think of an interesting comment themselves to post-up. Very few credible people their imo, though some folks from South America knew exactly what was going-on with the Deep Purple ( overseas ) Live Series releases, & that was my draw-card into the shyte-hole. Any search for information on this sublime series of live releases led straight into that forum. Be warned, your bullshyte-meter will get a work-out yo !

    *There was also some joker calling himself Kris Freidrickson (of a hired by Queen production team) posting, suggesting that there was too much “autotune” used in the Queen Rainbow’74 masterpiece on Freddie’s voice, & it was driving him nuts lol…Anyone who has any live Queen bootlegs, will tell you that Freddie rarely, if ever sung a bad-note, especially through the 1970’s…I have the un-doctored bootlegs of this event, & they are sublime, they just sound raw…

    Every-now-&-then, Steve himself appears & posts to keep matters in control, & that usually settles an argument, or the thread is locked-out. He backed-me-up a number of times, but that didn’t save me drowning in the constant bullshyte, so I happily left once I learned that DP (overseas) went pear-shaped, & there’d only be court-appearances than any-more promised releases of the sublime recordings.

    Search what you need to know there, but don’t waste your time either. Your own opinion on matters is all that matters. There is “some” good stuff in there, but it’s not worth the time spent imo. Get what you need, then get out.

    And regardless of the issues with Glenn Hughes & his antics at the Cal-Jam ( he’s been a lot worse, have no doubt folks ), he is amazingly funny imo, as one look at him reminds you instantly of “Cousin It” from the Adams family…

    Peace !

  62. 62
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Gregster, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of live recordings like the Queen one getting an auto tune/pitch correction “makeover” when released today, it’s happening.

    Mercury was a great singer. He was NOT pitch perfect, no human voice is/can be, just by the way we generate sounds with our vocal cords. Pitch perfection is not even really desirable, it sounds at worst unnatural and at best expressionless. This vid is worth everyone’s time here, it is eye- and ear-opening:


    We can probably all agree that DC at the height of his powers was a singer full of expression. Well, his voice, great as it was, wobbly like hell between being sharp and/or flat on notes. There are other singers who are flat most of the time: Ian Hunter, Paul Weller, Christie Hynde, Lucinda Williams …

    There is this misconception that artist like Taylor Swift or Ariana Grande can’t sing and have to rely on autotune. Nothing could be further from the truth. They’ve been put through the rigors of singing lessons since they were children, they’re technically actually very good, likely better than David Coverdale ever was. They have their voices put through autotune in the studio and live because THEY LIKE WHAT IT DOES TO THE SOUND OF THEIR VOICES !!! Listen to what the voice coach has to say about that in the above vid. Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page at one point as teenagers decided that a guitar through valve distortion/overdrive sounds good and stuck with it, Taylor and Ariana have arrived at the conclusion that a voice through autotune/pitch correction is the proper way to listen to it.

    Robert Halford is the only famous rock vocalist I know who admits to using autotune live – just a little – to make his voice sound reliably on pitch even on those ‘off nights’ every vocalist has and where even a very good singer can spend the gig singing everything too high or too low because they hear themselves differently in their inner ear. But I’m sure he can’t be the only one, the use of autotune/pitch correction even at “classic rock” gigs is much more prevalent than we like to believe I fear.

  63. 63
    MacGregor says:

    @ 62 – “Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page at one point as teenagers decided that a guitar through valve distortion/overdrive sounds good and stuck with it, Taylor and Ariana have arrived at the conclusion that a voice through autotune/pitch correction is the proper way to listen to it”.
    I CANNOT believe you have used that ‘comparison’ as a justification for that belief Uwe. Autotune is a modern day manufactured cop out, big time. You are well aware that we live in a ‘perfect’ world, or some are lead to believe that, especially todays generation of misguide youth. And there have been plenty of misguided youth well and truly before this lot. Look at all the other options of ‘perfection’ & it has been coming for many a year. Cue Robert Calvert ‘your android replica is playing up again & it’s no joke, It’s the spirit of the age’. They do NOT have to use autotune, the choose to because they want to be ‘perfect’, that is the reason. They do not want to make mistakes & look & sound ‘normal’. Look at how they act & dress, say no more. Todays audiences have been taught that that is the only way. Conditioning is the best way to put it. Pavlov & his dogs again, at the sound of a bell? Manufactured indeed. Desperately trying to stay young forever, humans or many of them would love that wouldn’t they? The ‘perfect’ world, oh dear. Where has it all gone so wrong for them? It has been a quest for some time as you well know & will continue to be, humans craving in desperation to being ‘perfect’. Well we are slowly getting there. Or are we? And to think that Ritchie & Jimmy were just experimenting with different sounds all those years ago, a form of conditioning perhaps, but they were not cheating with their personal creative art form. Cheers.

  64. 64
    Gregster says:

    Leiber Uwe said…

    qt.”Gregster, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of live recordings like the Queen one getting an auto tune/pitch correction “makeover” when released today, it’s happening”.

    “Mercury was a great singer. He was NOT pitch perfect, no human voice is/can be, just by the way we generate sounds with our vocal cords. Pitch perfection is not even really desirable, it sounds at worst unnatural and at best expressionless”…

    *No-doubt this is correct Uwe, but the countless Queen bootlegs that I have reveal technical hitches, & either John or Brian going constantly out-of-tune rather than Freddie missing-the-bulls-eye beyond acceptable standards. So I found offence at this person Kris stating “Freddie sings out-of-tune & needs constant autotune”, & questioned him as to why Brian’s guitar sounds out-of-tune, & John’s bass in particular with the March ’74 bonus show, & got no reply…It makes sense that a chordal instrument like a guitar “can’t” be corrected fully, but a “bass” can…Still no reply from him, only the constant anti-Freddie criticism…And of course, no one can prove identity on the internet, & Kris Freidrikson does exist in the credits…

    One only has to simply listen to any un-doctored Queen live shows to realize that Freddie’s voice was not perfect, & did suffer from losing range through the 1980’s, but remained powerful & in more than reasonable pitch…And there are some notes Freddie could only succesfully hit within the confines of a studio, never in the live arena. But that doesn’t man he sang out-of-tune like say Ozzy does…And why not auto-tune Ozzy for a better recording ???…

    That said, everyone has their own opinion, & it is the right opinion for them, but I thought it odd that an “employee” was biting-at-the-hand-that-feeds-it, especially when in truth, Freddie was pretty good at singing in tune, even if note choices were sometimes different to the studio presentations.

    Peace !

  65. 65
    sidroman says:

    Tonight it’s the Tokyo disc from Live in Japan. The highlight is in Jon Lord’s intro to Lazy he goes into playing the riff from Louie Louie on the organ, I wish the rest of the band came in as well. Most enjoyable!!!!!!!

  66. 66
    Stathis says:

    @65 Well, they did come in, albeit 45 years later and with a different keys player 😉

  67. 67
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “And why not auto-tune Ozzy for a better recording ???”

    You’re joking, I’m sure that Ozzy uses auto-tune live all the time! His voice has always been treated quite a bit, his studio voice even in the old days was always double- and triple-tracked (Ian Gillan did that too, Coverdale and Hughes not so much). Plus he’s certainly not Mr Pitch Accurate. Also the way he sings, with those long draaaaaaaawn out notes and little going on rhythmically, his style is perfect for pitch correction.

    In the 80ies, Ronnie Dio joked that Ozzy should “really get an endorsement from the company” because he used so many harmonizer gadgets for his voice live (you can hear them well on the “Speak of the Devil” live album). Ozzy has had off-stage singers support him live such as Robert Mason (and I believe Michael Kiske or some other German guy from the extended Helloween family at one point in the latish 80ies).


    That’s not knocking Ozzy as an artist. Glenn Hughes can attest to the fact how difficult it is to get Ozzy’s sound right. It’s just that at all relevant times Ozzy’s voice has been an amalgamation of what’s in his vocal cords and studio wizardry. It’s not a “natural voice” and never was intended to be, it’s by nature and necessity very processed.

    Anyway, my posting at #62 really only tried to make the point that we are all hearing more auto-tune these days than we would like to believe, even in situations where it’s not immediately obvious (when Martin Turner remastered/remixed Wishbone Ash’s ARGUS years ago he tweaked the backing vocals because it always annoyed him that they came out a little flat – I never noticed – on the original recording, he even mentioned that in the liner notes). And that it is not automatically a sign of vocal inability to use auto-tune.

    MacGregor is right, of course it has to do with striving to be perfect and creating that extremely smooth vocal sound***. For the avoidance of doubt: I’m no fan of auto-tune-treated vocals at all, I don’t mind little imperfections and it’s ok with me if a lead vocalist is a little flat or sharp some of the time as long as (s)he hits the real note then and now too! 😁

    *** Not a new thing either: Ever wondered why Enya never toured or performed live? Because there was no way to reproduce her heavily multilayered vocals live in the 90ies! And even a band of consummate musicians like ABBA had severe concerns whether they would be able to replicate their vocal sound live. Because what you hear on ABBA records singing lead is in most cases really not Frida or Agnetha singing by themselves or even together, it is a vocal track crafted in the studio from components of both their voices. But as it turned out, people didn’t mind that Agnetha and Frida were live “just” singing and harmonizing together and unable to recreate that heavily processed “Fridnetha” hybrid sound from the records. I actually preferred that more organic live sound of them, ABBA in the studio was always a touch sterile to me.


  68. 68
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Better late than never!

  69. 69
    Svante Axbacke says:

    If Ozzy used auto-tune, he wouldn’t as bad as he does live.

    You are also throwing around auto-tune like it was as simple as putting reverb or an echo on a voice live. It’s not. Auto-tune is much more complicated than that and is very hard to use live.

  70. 70
    janbl says:

    Maybe they shold auto-tune Lemmy?

  71. 71
    Uwe Hornung says:

    There are range parameters you set on auto-tune, if you’re outside of those (trust Ozzy to achieve that), then even it can’t help.

    Pitch correction and enhancement has developed in leaps and bounds, it was difficult in a live situation initially, but already ten years ago you could buy stuff to create vocal stacked harmonies. I remember a gig with a New Country band we did where the singer/frontwoman/rhythm guitarist triggered the electronically generated harmony vocals with her feet via pedals – she was quite adept at it too, you know how nimble and good at multitasking these wimmin’ all are! It sounded a million bucks – Eagles quality -, yet no one in her band had a mike or was singing with her. Likewise, in my last band the singer had a pitch corrector set all the time, just slightly, but he was a lot more accurate with it. I immediately noticed because I found it easier to harmonize with him on some songs – my signal was the undoctored one though, not that I couldn’t have needed it sometimes too! 😂

    My most recent experience of what is already happening was Judas Priest live in Frankfurt last month. They played this song here from their new album:


    There’s at least three Robs singing the verse, one deep, one high, one harmonizing. Given that no one else has a singing voice in Judas Priest, what he does live is sing the high part with the lower voice created electronically. Now what happened in Frankfurt was that the guy in charge of triggering it, most likely their soundman, chose a setting where you just had the artificially created lower voice and not the original higher signal as well. It sounded really weird, Halford on stage singing obviously the high part (you could tell by how he was pressing and breathing), yet all you heard in the audience was this anodyne one-octave-lower vocal shadow of his voice, electronically generated, faintly reminiscent of his voice, but obviously not him. The audience were confused by what was coming from the PA, but didn’t really understand what was going on (i.e. that Halford was singing a voice on stage you didn’t hear over the PA and what you heard he didn’t sing). Shit happens! By the second verse, the soundman had rectified it all and Rob’s original signal was added to the mix, he then sounded in his full glory.

    Alas!, we live in an age of deception! ☝️🧐

  72. 72
    Svante Axbacke says:

    But machines adding harmonies are not auto-tune.

  73. 73
    Uwe Hornung says:

    But it’s the same ground technology. Even small portable equipment meanwhile does both. It has long left the just-the-studio realm.


    We’re kidding ourselves as rock fans if we believe that it is by now not widely used in our sphere of music as well. K-pop, dance/choreography-acts and rap/hip-hop musicians might be more overt and less bashful in using it, but it has long crossed the boundaries to rock: Maroon 5, Blink-182, Alice Cooper (never the most pitch-firm singer live and I love the man!). If sparingly applied, you won’t even notice it in the excitement of a live gig. It doesn’t need to sound robotic, especially with someone who can sing well. Of course you have to die one death, the narrower the parameters, the more natural the result, but real bad notes are then outside of its realm of correction.

    Billy Joel used it here (to much criticism at the time):


    The jury is still out on whether it was forced on him for the performance and not by his own volition (he’s on record for not being a fan of the song as such). The US National Anthem is hellishly difficult to sing and a scourge for many artists which is why many of them prefer to prerecord and then lip-sync it for Super Bowl (eg Beyoncé – and don’t tell me she can’t sing!). Billy was braver than most, but they gave him (unasked?) a life vest still.

    PS: When I say auto-tune, I use the term generically, i.e. including pitch correction stuff like Melodyne as well.


  74. 74
    Gregster says:


    One important point I forgot to make with the “Queen Live at the Rainbow ’74” recording(s), that really breaks Kris’s balls/comments, is the fact that it was prepared & ready for release way back in 1974-5, but the band was then in-process moving from Trident Management, so the completed project was shelved. All the backing vocals etc etc were redone in the studio back then with Roy Thomas Baker & Mike Stone who recorded the gig(s)…

    On this basis, wouldn’t you have re-recorded Freddie’s vocals too if needed ???…

    That’s why I call bollox out on Kris, & many that post at the Hoffman forum…

    And as for “autotune”, simply listen to any Kylie Minogue tune, & gauge its success & application from there lol !

    Not all-things are repairable within Pro-Tools yo…

    Peace !

  75. 75
    MacGregor says:

    I was concerned heading to the Sabbath gig in 2013 in regards to the vocals. All good though as Ozzy was definitely not being corrected at all, he was all over the shop at times in that sense but it was ok. I thought he sounded good overall. Except for the intro to Electric Funeral where he was really low on the first verse, woefully. Iommi spun around with a bemused look on his face at first, that turned to a grin of sorts as Ozzy grinned back at him as if to say sorry. Many people hear Ozzy in recent years on records & say that he sounds ‘great’. We know he isn’t natural there & that is the problem with ‘cheating. Then they attend a concert & are shocked or they don’t care at all as long as they are at the gig. It has created afalse perception in many scenarios but that is technology isn’t it? Rob Halford should give it up in my book if he cannot sing unaided live. No ‘GOD’ would ever lower themselves like that, shame it has come to that. The metal “God’ has been de throned indeed. Rick Beato has some good short takes on auto tune etc, he isn’t ‘totally’ against it, but he loathes how it is abused etc, good on him. It certainly makes the producers job easier we would think. Are there any producers out there that do not use it, or don’t recommend using it. A cheap take indeed in most cases. Although Sam Brown had to use technology recently on her album as her original voice is gone unfortunately from whatever happened years ago. So in that sense it can be a good thing. Cheers

  76. 76
    MacGregor says:

    @ 70 – ha ha ha, yes indeed well said in regards to Lemmy. One punter at the youtube site of Rick Beato suggested why don’t they try & auto tune & pitch correct Janis Joplin live at the Monterey Festival 1967. Good humour indeed & let’s face it that is all it really is. Talking of altering technology what about a click track on Keith Moon in the studio or even live in concert. Good luck with that one or even Ginger Baker or Bonzo or even Cozy. Can you imagine pulling any of those drummers up & saying ‘hang on a minute, we just have to correct a few things here, listen to this & drum along to it’. Some serious ‘physical’ ramifications there for a engineer or producer. The other surreal look at it would be Janis Joplin walking on stage at a Taylor Swift concert & taking over the mike. Ha ha ha, poor Taylor she would run away screaming me thinks. Not to mention all those ‘Swifties’ in the audience. And that is before Hendrix wanders on playing The Star Spangled Banner. That is rock ‘n roll for you or I should say was. What a sham(e) it has come to this. Cheers.

  77. 77
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I found a vid of what happened to Priest in Frankfurt.

    Here at 01:10 Rob Halford can be heard with his original voice accidentally muted out of the PA sound with just the lower electronic “shadow” being heard.


    And here at 01:16 is how it should have sounded properly:


    Forgive me Rob for posting this in this lions’ den of rabid Deep Purple fans, it wasn’t your fault! I still think you’re great!!!


    (He probably didn’t even notice due to the original signal still being present in his in-ear monitoring mix.)

  78. 78
    MacGregor says:

    Regarding Enya not performing live with her music Uwe, she never intended to perform solo or with a support band in concert. Enya appears to be a shy rather timid individual. I found a German Clannad documentary a few weeks ago showing live performances of the band when Enya was a member. Very shy & looking incredibly uncomfortable at the rear of the stage. Those clips are the first I have ever seen of Clannad performing with Enya in the band & really interesting to see from that perspective. When in the studio she obviously didn’t have that phobia & it was also her music, so she could embellish the sounds till the cows came home. Thanks for the off stage touring musicians link. Cheers.

  79. 79
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Lieber Gregster @74: I own “Queen Live at the Rainbow ’74” myself and have seen the filmed performance. It’s a great document of how good Queen were back then, but I never believed for a minute that the recording was the zenith of untouched authenticity – especially with people like Roy Thomas Baker and Mike Stone involved, these guys would sell their mother for an optimum sound and flawless performance. 😂 My default assumption these days is that live albums are doctored more often than not and that completely undoctored ones are exceedingly rare/have gone out of style. If Taylor Swift will release a live album from her ongoing ‘The Eras Tour’ sometime in the future, I don’t think a single review will ask the question “Is it really all live?” They will just say that it was magnificently well filmed and recorded, undoctored authenticity is not a relevant criteria for streaming services and people listening to 90% of their music via earbuds. You don’t expect John Wick movies to depict reality either. 🙄 That said, I’m sure that Taylor’s release will contain a bonus reel of all the things that went wrong on the tour and on stage, that would just sooo be her.

    “Queen Live at the Rainbow ’74″ was finally released belatedly in 2014 when pitch correction was widely available. Frankly, I’d be surprised if they did not give Freddie’s historic voice track a pitch-correction run through – just a little and in some places – because that is by now pretty much standard procedure (I’ve witnessed it in studios myself). It doesn’t take anything away from him as a singer (and he wasn’t around to be asked anyway), just shows how much we strive for tonal perfection these days. And some people’s ears are better tuned to detect even a little pitch correction than others (I certainly don’t always notice it) and might be offended by that. Historic truth and such.

    Thin Lizzy comparatively recently released a mammoth boxed set featuring all the gigs their – heavily doctored – Live & Dangerous album was compiled from. So you could hear things side by side. I actually preferred the undoctored source recordings because they were looser and more exciting/raunchy (the very pristine & disciplined sound quality of the official Live & Dangerous record always had me frowning a little, even before it became public via producer Tony Visconti that pretty much everything but the drums had been redone in the studio).

    How much you like a live recording “polished” in the aftermath is very much a matter of taste. Many musicians and producers strive for near-perfection while it is my impression that fans are much more lenient re the occasional bum note or timing error (if they even notice). The statement that if you patch up in the aftermath, you’re a no good live musician in the first place is certainly an oversimplification.

  80. 80
    Skippy O'Nasica says:

    All this talk of pitch-correction software, and no mention of… Deep Purple?

    No idea if they use it live – last time I saw them was when “Abandon” was their latest release.

    But the ezrin-produced records make liberal use of it.

    When “Now What” came out, one of the first things that stood out was the over-processed and un-natural vocal sound.

  81. 81
    Gregster says:

    @79 said…

    qt.”How much you like a live recording “polished” in the aftermath is very much a matter of taste. Many musicians and producers strive for near-perfection while it is my impression that fans are much more lenient re the occasional bum note or timing error (if they even notice). The statement that if you patch up in the aftermath, you’re a no good live musician in the first place is certainly an oversimplification”.

    * I figure that if a live recording is thought of as an “investment by investors”, they should present the best product possible when the opportunity is there. That’s what management & producers are supposed to do. There’s always the bootlegs & radio broadcasts to reveal the truth. Some bands “do” need the doctoring, others much-less-so. Queen do not need the doctoring imo. The proof is everywhere. DP do not need the doctoring…Little Feat do not need the doctoring…etc etc etc.

    Re-Queen at the Rainbow ’74, it sounds fantastic, & no doubt took advantage of modern-day enhancement, as it sounds like it was recorded last week, not 50 years ago. But the raw un-doctored material exists, & is even presented on the DVD, where Queen ask anyone if they know the where-abouts of a missing 20-minutes or so of footage that’s disappeared from the March ’74 show. There’s nothing wrong with Freddie’s voice yo !…But what is wrong, is a claimed Kris Freidrickson employed by the band, to go off posting how much doctoring Freddie’s voice required on the Hoffman forum…

    We must not get distracted from the issue at hand…


    Keith Moon always had to play with headphones on, for the tune “Won’t get fooled again”…So there’s no issues here with using click-track or listening to the synthesizer part to keep time. His only issues with himself & his playing was that he was realizing he was getting older & couldn’t stop it, he was putting on masses of weight that was affecting his playing, & he was scared of not being funny any-more, / people actually taking him seriously.


    Peace !

  82. 82
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I wouldn’t rule it out, Skippy, it has become part of the state of the art recording + production process. These days, if you go into a studio the guy behind the mixing desk is not gonna ask you: “Are you ok if I use a little pitch correction?” Rather he’ll say something along the lines of “Fantastic take, we’ve got it, why don’t you guys take a coffee break while I clean this up a little?” And “cleaning up” means correcting small timing mistakes, bungled breaks and correcting pitch in places. I’ve seen it happen. It then takes a particularly strong-willed person to stand up and declare: “No, don’t correct it, leave that flat note as is!” The recording engineer will look incredulously at you and call the funny farm.

    Is it the end of the world if Ian Gillan has a note corrected via pitch shift to save an otherwise great take? Not to me. Mistakes have been corrected (and effects created that could not be reproduced live with then available technology) in studios since the dawn of recording. We just have a few more options available today than when Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

    Like many things, it’s a question of a measured approach, just don’t overdo it and drain all the life out of it. And not everyone is bashful about it either. Bruce ‘air raid siren’ Dickinson already commented a while ago that he greatly appreciates modern day studio wizardry for making his life easier and sometimes taking the stress out of recording. And no one would call him an incapable vocalist, you try singing over the unforgiving melee the other Iron Maidens produce night for night on stage! 😁

    Re Ian’s vocal sound on the Ezrin-produced albums: Of course on some songs like Time For Bedlam his voice is processed for artistic purposes, but on others I still find him a lot more natural-sounding than, say, DC on the last few Whitesnake albums where the processing his voice has undergone in the studio oozes from every crevice of his once mighty vocal cords. Or maybe Bob Ezrin is just the better producer, he is certainly not known as a man who would not use the possibilities of a studio to the fullest to create his legendary ‘Ezrin Wall of Sound’ and make something sound better. Just ask any Kiss fan why ‘Destroyer’ sounds the way it sounds and why Kiss were never able to reproduce that sound live or with any other producer. Things like that every guitar riff is doubled by a very faint piano in the background to create a symphonic halo around Kiss’ meat & potatoes hard rock.

  83. 83
    MacGregor says:

    It has probably got to the point that if you are aware of all that technology & you don’t want certain aspects of it on your music, surely you could ensure that that is in a contract of sorts. Probably easier said than done for most artists, however leave it out should mean leave it out. Are there producers who would respect that? We would hope there are. So many modern day producers would just automatically use auto tune & the like in a recording studio. Unless they are instructed not to & they respect that. DP were probably content to let Bob Ezrin ‘run amuck’ so to speak. Who can tell. Cheers.

  84. 84
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I would not bet on any professional release of, say, the last 15 years or so be devoid of at least sparing pitch correction in places. Don’t fool yourselves. If technology is there, it will be used.

  85. 85
    Gregster says:


    Thanks Nick ! I actually got around & listened to MiJ ( WB original boxed set mini-LP gold cover ) on my Yamaha 5.1 system, & yes indeed, the conga’s are there in all their glory…

    *( I have this on LP & tape, black-cover remix, Live in Japan, & WB boxed set edition, & mostly over the years was played on good warm sounding (but below-par) stereo systems…Throw in the fact that like most-of-us here, can replay in our heads note-for-note the whole album, means I don’t listen to it often at all, & why I play the DP ( overseas ) Live stuff more often ).

    Life is good in 5.1, that’s for sure !

    Peace !

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