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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 12:05 pm   #21
red16v
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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It was quite some time before The Beatles albums were released by EMI on CD. In the meantime I believe a fellow did a good job transferring their albums from mint vinyl copies to CD (all above board I think). But when EMI released its own CD's from its master tapes with obviously better sound the fellow said "I cant compete with that".
I take leave to doubt that. EMI roused the whole industry to fury and took their case to Europe to get copyright extended by twenty years, all on account of The Beatles. They just don't let third parties near their crown jewel.
And neither should they or anybody else. I wasn't aware of the copyright situation you described. Thanks , Tim.
Wasn’t Cliff Richard involved in this too?

Edited to add, yes he was:
https://www.theguardian.com/media/20...ight-extension

Now known as ‘Cliff’s Law’
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 12:34 pm   #22
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Indeed. Cliff was available and probably was thought to play better with public opinion than the obviously mega-rich Beatles.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 3:24 pm   #23
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I remember reading about someone trying to put together an early Reggae compilation found a lot of material only existed on vinyl, as some of the smaller labels in Jamaica had either lost their masters or recycled the tapes.

Ringo Starr lost the multi-track masters of his early solo albums in a house fire, along with lots of home movies he shot with the Beatles.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 1:24 pm   #24
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I did some work for such a reissue label a while ago, and all the material was sourced from vinyl, mainly compilation LPs. One track started with the wrong item for two seconds, followed by fast-winding noises and then a slurring start two bars into the right track - and that was the only surviving source. Lacquers were expensive in Jamaica, it seems....and then there was the reissue of some pioneering Mahler symphony recordings which had to come back from several copies of the original LPs, cutting around the once-per-revolution scrunches on different copies and confirmimg that the recorded pitch was accurate - that took a 'phone call to Vienna, which confirmed that the Philharmonic was still using A=446 in the early 1950s.

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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 1:31 pm   #25
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

I'm also curious about how things were recorded back in the fifties and sixties. I'm a fan of Jim Reeves and have a lot of his records.

Some songs sound like he is singing into a plastic cup. Sometimes the high notes sound distorted, as is they were breaking up.
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Old 3rd Aug 2020, 5:16 pm   #26
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Badly, by the sound of it, but seriously on tape and increasingly in stereo from 1954 onward.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 9:09 am   #27
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Capitol Records in the USA were set up I think just after the war. They adopted new technologies based on German wartime tape recording advances.

In my experience their recordings from the 50's and 60's sounded very good.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 9:27 am   #28
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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I remember reading about someone trying to put together an early Reggae compilation found a lot of material only existed on vinyl, as some of the smaller labels in Jamaica had either lost their masters or recycled the tapes.
I can remember listening to a commercial "dancehall" compilation CD in the early 1990s which seemed to consist of a handful of (recent) 12" singles being played consecutively, complete with surface noise, wow and so on.

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Old 4th Aug 2020, 9:42 am   #29
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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I did some work for such a reissue label a while ago, and all the material was sourced from vinyl, mainly compilation LPs. One track started with the wrong item for two seconds, followed by fast-winding noises and then a slurring start two bars into the right track - and that was the only surviving source. Lacquers were expensive in Jamaica, it seems....and then there was the reissue of some pioneering Mahler symphony recordings which had to come back from several copies of the original LPs, cutting around the once-per-revolution scrunches on different copies and confirmimg that the recorded pitch was accurate - that took a 'phone call to Vienna, which confirmed that the Philharmonic was still using A=446 in the early 1950s.
Fascinating! I knew that period orchestras go for A<440, but I never knew that.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 1:10 pm   #30
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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I remember reading about someone trying to put together an early Reggae compilation found a lot of material only existed on vinyl, as some of the smaller labels in Jamaica had either lost their masters or recycled the tapes.
I can remember listening to a commercial "dancehall" compilation CD in the early 1990s which seemed to consist of a handful of (recent) 12" singles being played consecutively, complete with surface noise, wow and so on.
I have a tape compilation of songs from 1986-7 that came free with a Rubik's Magic.

It's possible to hear the needle drop and crackling before some of the tracks, which didn't impress my Dad!

Of all the pre-recorded tapes in my collection, it's the only that has lost any noticeable sound quality. Fortunately I have most of the tracks on CD.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 6:32 pm   #31
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

A problem with getting clearance to reproduce old recordings is that there is normally more than one type of copyright involved and that they often expire on different dates. The term of copyright belonging to the performer of a work written, by someone else, runs from the date the recording was issued. That would explain Cliff Richard's interest.: he normally performed works written by others so his rights to continuing royalties on his early works would have expired by now if the term hadn't been extended. Conversely, the term of copyright belonging to the composer of a work only starts to run from the death of the comloser, providing continuing benefit to the heirs. There may also be arrangers' copyrights to be considered.

I seem to recall that before copyright terms were largely harmonised throughout the EC in the 1990's, performers' copyright was as short as 25 years in at least one country, meaning that many of the early Beatles records were out of copyright there. There were law reports at the time about the steps that were available to prevent import from countries where copyright had expired into countries where it had not.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 7:32 pm   #32
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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Capitol Records in the USA were set up I think just after the war. They adopted new technologies based on German wartime tape recording advances.

In my experience their recordings from the 50's and 60's sounded very good.
Capitol started operations in 1942, briefly recording direct to 78 before adopting the slow-speed lacquer system used by Columbia and Decca. The latter were the first to use tape, because of Bing Crosby's Ampex connections, but others soon followed, and Capitol were also quick to adopt German condensor microphones and echo chambers, giving an obviously "hi-fi" sound which gave its rivals food for thought. Recording quality was one of the reasons Sinatra moved to Capitol from Columbia.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 7:41 pm   #33
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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Originally Posted by Ted Kendall View Post
I did some work for such a reissue label a while ago, and all the material was sourced from vinyl, mainly compilation LPs. One track started with the wrong item for two seconds, followed by fast-winding noises and then a slurring start two bars into the right track - and that was the only surviving source. Lacquers were expensive in Jamaica, it seems....and then there was the reissue of some pioneering Mahler symphony recordings which had to come back from several copies of the original LPs, cutting around the once-per-revolution scrunches on different copies and confirmimg that the recorded pitch was accurate - that took a 'phone call to Vienna, which confirmed that the Philharmonic was still using A=446 in the early 1950s.
Fascinating! I knew that period orchestras go for A<440, but I never knew that.
The known history of standard pitches is complicated, never mind the educated guesswork used to establish pitches for original instrument performances. A=440 was agreed as an international standard just before the war, but the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic stayed at A=446 for some time, not wanting to lose the brilliance of tone thus achieved.
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Old 4th Aug 2020, 8:03 pm   #34
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

One of my charity shop acquisitions is a double LP set (still only 50p) entitled "Music at Court" by the Academy of Ancient Music. The sleeve notes say "The pitch used in these
recordings is one semitone lower than modern pitch: A = 415".
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 10:11 am   #35
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Does anybody else avoid the remastered 60's cd's, i would rather have the original than a reprocessed version, also the attempts at making mono recordings stereo, is a turn off i just walk away.
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 11:39 am   #36
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Depends on what you mean by "reprocessed".
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 12:21 pm   #37
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

(This won't contain much that the experts here don't know about, but George Martin's biography 'All you need is ears' contains a lot on early studio processes which folks new to the area might like - and it's a good read. For instance, I had not realised that post-war at Parlophone, cutting lathes for direct-to-disk recording were powered by gravity clockwork, because electric motors with sufficient speed stability (or large enough flywheels!) were not available - or perhaps required too heavy an investment.)
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 12:28 pm   #38
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

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Originally Posted by mark_in_manc View Post
(This won't contain much that the experts here don't know about, but George Martin's biography 'All you need is ears' contains a lot on early studio processes which folks new to the area might like - and it's a good read. For instance, I had not realised that post-war at Parlophone, cutting lathes for direct-to-disk recording were powered by gravity clockwork, because electric motors with sufficient speed stability (or large enough flywheels!) were not available - or perhaps required too heavy an investment.)
That method of powering the cutting lathe dates back to before the war when reliable stable mains supplies were not available.

There are rumours, possibly apocryphal, of released discs where the gravity drive ran out a second or two before the end of the cut resulting in a rapid increase in tempo....
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 1:04 pm   #39
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Default Re: 1950's/1960's music recording

Absolutely agree with your recommendation there Mark. Technically and musically George Martin was the essential support to guide the Beatles through their personal development that influenced so much change. Britain was still hidebound by class structures and divisions. Brian Epstein and George Martin had clout within that system. Even though they were not particularly elevated themselves, they spoke the middle class language of the organisation and that empowered musicians to be "different" on all fronts. I don't think it would have happened otherwise!

Overall, the book "Here, There and Everywhere" [My Life Recording The Music of The Beatles] by Geoff Emerick [sadly, now also deceased] provides even more fascinating insights into the technical processes from the other end of the telescope. [Think of the film "I'm All Right Jack"]. It conveys the Brown coat, White Coat and suits typifying the 'Management' structure of the EMI Studios. Geoff just saw himself as a lower order technician privileged to be involved.

This is the best insight I've ever come across into that lost world and the technical "inventions" created. It's not costly in paperback [writer] and I recommend bundling it with the Beatles Lyrics book " I Read The News Today Oh Boy" by Hunter Davies [in there at the Studios, at that point because he was trusted]. Following the time line across both volumes is even more interesting.

Dave W

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