Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rockin' to the Thunder of 1000 Cans

Driving in my car today at lunch I heard “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney and Wings. It starts off with the piano intro and a few screams by happy fans that they are playing this song. This tells me that this is a live recording firstly and that people have obviously heard the original recording before.

The other day, while sitting at home, “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick came on the radio. It was the famous “Live at Buddakan” rendition that starts off with Robin Zander announcing it as the next song and greeted with a huge roar from the Japanese crowd. This tells me that this is a live recording firstly and that people have obviously heard the original recording before.

As a child I heard numerous songs from the landmark concert album “Frampton Comes Alive” dominating the FM dial. “Do You Feel Like We Do,” “Show Me the Way,” and “Baby, I Love Your Way” each broke the Top Ten with the album ranking number one on the Billboard 200 for 1976. These songs are each also greeting with an enormous cheer from an obviously massive crowd, happy to hear these classics live. This tells me that this is a live recording obviously and that the people have obviously heard the original recordings before.

Has anyone you know ever heard the studio versions of any of these songs? I ask because I am not convinced they actually exist, or, more to the point, I think these are the studio versions with canned applause added in. It has been done before. Please secure your Tin Foil Caps for this one and let’s ride.

Sitcoms have always used canned laughter or “previously recorded audience responses” as cues for the home viewing audience to know when to laugh. Laughter is contagious after all, so how better to turn an unfunny or mildly amusing joke into a laugh out loud affair than to add laughter to the soundtrack?

If a character tells a joke and there is no laugh track involved, the average viewer is not sure if they were really supposed to find it funny or not. They need the approval of others before they can express their enjoyment of the same thing. Most people do not want to stand out. They will go with the crowd even if they don’t get the joke. They will force themselves to laugh just because obviously it was funny.

To prove these points just think these simple questions: “How did the Flintstones have a live studio audience” and “Why would Happy Days specify they were ‘filmed before a live studio audience’ unless most other shows were not.”

Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick were struggling acts before these classic live songs placed them firmly in our ears and our hearts. How could a crowd that large possibly be wrong about their love for a song? I obviously must be missing out on something. I must correct this problem and love these songs as well.

In the spirit of full discloser, I do love “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “I Want You to Want Me,” and everything I have heard from “Frampton Comes Alive,” but I will now never know if they are really great songs or have I just become cattle.

6 comments:

Roxan said...

They were great songs. I think I wore out at least two Frampton Comes Alive Albums. If I remember right he made music history with the album.
I think his talents have been under rated by the music industry. He's considered one of the best guitarist.
I'm glad to see him making a successful comeback and a new generation gets to hear his music.

Serena Joy said...

I don't know about the addition of cans. Could be. Anything's possible. I love all those songs, though, with or without the specter of fiddling with them.:)

ThatGreenyFlower said...

"I want you to want...ME!" Who could ever forget that intro?

Cheap Trick was, as I understand it, truly big in Japan before they were ever big here. I still like them. They still tour.

Peter Frampton...what's not to like? And I think he was popular in Teen Beat and similar venues before "Frampton Comes Alive" simply because he was such a hottie. Turns out he was also a musician.

Paul McCartney--who knows. He probably never stopped playing humongous arenas, and anyone who hears him play anything probably screams, whether they like the song or not. I felt the same way when I saw Ray Charles, when I saw George Clinton, and when I saw Duran Duran. (For the last, I'll admit that I was in the "Teen Beat" demographic at the time...)

VE said...

Oh, Frampton's was no surprise at all. First of all, he'd been playing in bands since the mid 60s at an early age. Humble Pie was a SF band. By the time the live concert came around he was known for his concerts even though he wasn't for the studio albums. Sort of like Lyle Lovett. I know many people that really don't care for his music on the radio but when they've seen him in concert they thought it was one of the best they had ever seen. Anyway, he did the album in SF and they clearly knew him and the songs from prior concerts, not albums (although he had many studio albums prior to the live one). Still, good call out on these to challenge the notion.

Kanrei said...

Roxan,
So am I. I always heard he was one of those guitarists to inspire and jaw drop. I finally saw him (on tv) and I was inspired and my jaw did drop. Shame he is not one of the Rock Gods.

SJ,
It was just something that has always bugged me. Ironically, the studio version of "Do You Feel Like We Do" came on Sirius' 70's station last night. I finally heard one. The live is better and I understand why I never heard the original before now.

Greeny,
There is something disturbing about seeing P-Funk and Duran Duran that close to each other. I have heard many bands broke in Japan first so it probably isn't that weird.

VE,
So he is basically another Jerry Garcia- known as a musician's musican and known better for what he did on stage than in the studio?

Roxan said...

Frampton's main problem and pretty much why he wasn't given credit for his music was his looks. They saw him and didn't hear the music. Now that he's older and the looks have faded it's a whole other story.