Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dis, Dat, Or De Udder: Singles Vs. Album Tracks




Our pal Steve Simels over at Power Pop posted a track by Stealers Wheel called "Everything'll Turn Out Fine," their follow-up flop to "Stuck In The Middle." He specifically posted the single version, pointing out that the album version had been "hideously re-recorded" for their second album. I focused on the word "hideously" for one reason. I love Stealers Wheel's second album, "Ferguslie Park," especially "Everything'll Turn Out Fine." The entire record is wonderful, no different really than an Emitt Rhodes record. I highly recommend this fantastic record from Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, if you're only familiar with the hit. But I digress.

So, what's so hideous?

I'll tell ya.

I had never heard the single version of the song until Steve posted it. It is superior. Definitely not "hideous," but much better. And if I had heard it first, I think I might have felt the way Steve feels. I posted the single version as the Song Of The Day and the re-record above. Take a listen to both, single first, and see what you think.

This also got the wood burning.

I thought about the U.S. single version of "Rebel, Rebel," which I think blows away the too long album version. The 3:00 run time is plenty, and with the added congas and tambourine and backing vocals, the song, for me, becomes less monotonous and plodding. The 45 really takes off.

I also thought about two Elvis Costello 45s- the U.S. version of "Alison," which I think most people, including Elvis, despise. Personally, I think the added strings and harmonies work well. I'm not saying it's better, but it's one I go to occssionally. The other is a lesser known tune from "All This Useless Beauty." The single version of "It's Time" removes the bridge completely and keeps things moving. That bridge is clumsy and it adds over two unnecessary minutes.

While the examples I just gave are not re-records, they do highlight how a few knob tweaks in a studio could make or break a tune. For two examples of how those tweaks broke a tune- check out the horrible edits on the single versions of Bowie's "Young Americans" and 10cc's "I'm Not In Love," the latter having the whole point carved out like a pumpkin.

Do you have any preferred versions? If you can, please no "acoustic" or "live" versions. I'm looking for alternates, whether a single versus an album version, or a re-record.



31 comments:

kevin m said...

Pretty in Pink by the Psychedelic Furs springs to mind. I hate the version they recorded for the film.

Sal Nunziato said...

Good one, Kevin! Always hated how they messed up the drum sound for the soundtrack.

Dave said...

I understand why it was "tightened up" for the single, but I've always preferred the Beach Boys "Today" version of "Help Me Rhonda."

Dave F

Dr Wu said...

I prefer the single version of Elvin Bishop's 'Fooled Around And Fell In Love' with its concise and powerful guitar solo.

Sal Nunziato said...

@DrWu, and I always thought the solo on the 45 was cut abruptly. It's one of my fave guitar solos and I love how it opens up on the second half.

Dr Wu said...

I'll concede that point as I do love that album, but to my ears that is one of the greatest radio/jukebox songs ever. Still does it forty years later. Great topic. I figure to learn a lot today. Thanks again

William Repsher said...

"Be True to Your School" by The Beach Boys. I can't stand (what I'm assuming is) the single version of the track with the flutes and high-school cheerleaders. The stripped down, no-nonsense version is much more to my liking. (And it was interesting to pick up that Beach Boys Party reissue last year ... I thought the songs would be stripped down to just vocals and instruments with no "party" effects, but that wasn't the case.)

Much the same situation with "Fire Brigade" by The Move. I can't stand the "fire department" sound effects on the track. A box set that came out in the 90's had the bare version which I find vastly preferable. (I nearly came to blows with a friend with a 60's pop pedigree as I included this stripped down version on a widely distributed mix CD.)

"Pretty in Pink" is a good call -- the movie version is terrible with that blowzy 80's sax part added.

I've had the real-speed version of Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" on a bootleg for years, and I guess The River box set probably has a cleaner version of this. But I found this vastly preferable to the purposely sped-up version that was released. Not an unusual practice apparently as slightly speeding up the track sweetens the vocals.

Shriner said...

The single version of "This Charming Man" by the Smiths -- is too short (2:41)! My go-to is the 5:33 remix version. It's one of the few cases where the longer version of an awesome song is better than the original awesome song. Those guitars chiming along for an extra 3 minutes is bliss.

The same could be said for "Talk of the Town" by the Pretenders -- the single is longer than the album version by about 30 seconds (and better because of the repeating bridge.)

As far as an obscurity goes: on the bonus-tracks rerelease of "Round Trip" by the Knack, the "songwriting demo/alternate version" of "Pay The Devil" is longer and better.

I think I'm seeing a pattern here -- longer versions of great songs are always better than shorter versions to me. Any song released as a "Part 1" is usually that much better when "Part 2" is included -- i.e., "Who's that Lady?" by the Isley Brothers -- the more wah-wah the better!

Sal Nunziato said...

@Shriner

Even the guitars sound better on the single of "Talk Of The Town." Great pick.

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of the Smiths, but looooove the extended mix of How Soon Is Now, so I'm with Shriner (and the extended Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood is a gem, too, with its added vocal bits). As a tad, my friends and I generally preferred the "FM versions" of hits of the day, like "Love Is Like Oxygen" and "Don't Fear The Reaper", over the "AM versions", which, like Sal's examples of "Young Americans" and "I'm Not In Love", cut out vital bits in the chase for brevity (I'm still startled by the cut in "Light My Fire"!).
As to going the other way, I like the truncated version of Rare Earth's cover of "Get Ready" better than the full version, tho there are some great passages in the long one. And Bob Marley's live "No Woman No Cry" works better for me in the single, truncated version, leaving me longing to hear more of that fading guitar solo....that didn't particularly go anywhere on the full-length version.
And there are 7" versions of songs that I like as much as the album versions, so I have both, but they are generally more obscure artists (Gun Club's "Walking With The Beast", Gaunt's "Jim Motherfucker", a couple by Holly Golightly, a couple by Singing Loins, a few by Swingin' Neckbreakers). And the single mix of Bob Seger's "2+2" I like about the same as the album version; but then that's such a freakin' monster of a song that it'd be hard to screw it up, especially back when seger was so on fire.
C in California

mauijim said...

Am fond of the rerecording of Days in 1991 on the Do Ya ep. This version drops the orchestration and has a nice drum sound along with a prominent acoustic guitar.
Also like Genesis' rerecording of Carpet Crawlers from a gh cd that slowed the song down nicely.

Havent we been told singles from the 60s were all given a boost from their lp counterparts to combat the poor AM sound? Remember a boot of Beatles USA singles floating around a decade ago. Day Tripper comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is valid but what about the 'I'm losing you' Double Fantasy Version Vs. the (let's say) Wonsaponatime version?. After some years, I am not sure what one is better.

Roy


Bill said...

I was unpleasantly surprised to find the single edit version of "Won't Get Fooled Again" on the Who Hits 50 collection. Talk about a song that needs space. Daltrey's scream comes out of nowhere at the end.

Anonymous said...

The Godfather's "Love is Dead" - the initial 45 had a sarcastic tone to the chorus that fit the band's personality. The album version sanitized the arrangement, pushed one key note into a major, and shortened the "Shheee saaaiid, loooove's deeaadd" chorus. Made it more perfunctory and pretty much robbed it of personality. it's probably stupid to think so, but I think it blew their chances in the US - it was the first single off a full US-released album (everything before had been 12" singles and a compilation of the 12"s) and it was a dud.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'm going to have to disagree. I like the album version of "Everyone Agrees" better.

Anonymous said...

I like both versions of "Revolution" but the harder-rocking version released as a single was the version I knew first (thanks, older siblings!), long before I heard the white Album version, so it's the one I like the most. Does this qualify as an example? More than the tweaking of knobs or editing of tape happened between single and album release. The other example that immediately came to mind was my dislike of the cheerleaders on the single version of "Be True to Your School", already discussed above by Mr. Repsher.
-mikesensei

Sal Nunziato said...

"(And it was interesting to pick up that Beach Boys Party reissue last year ... I thought the songs would be stripped down to just vocals and instruments with no "party" effects, but that wasn't the case.)"

It sort of is. All you hear are the boys. The pre-song chatter is mostly gone. NO people singing along.

cmealha said...

To me it's "Heroes and Villains" by the Beach Boys. The original 45/Smiley Smile version is classic and I love that version. The extended 'original' versions on the Brian Wilson and Beach Boys Smile re-do albums leave me cold.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,


I much, much prefer the Sting/Clapton version of "It's Probably Me" to the rather droopy version Der Stingle re-recorded on Ten Summoners Tales.

I have a vestigial memory that David Bowie recorded two version of "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)". I definitely prefer the good one.

Regards,
RichD

Anonymous said...

Cat People (Putting Out Fire) by Bowie.
The Slow version from the movie is better.

Ian Hunter's All Of The Good Ones Are Taken, the ballad version turns a novelty song about chicks into a broken-hearted lament, far more powerful, to my ears.

I hope You're Happy Now by Elvis Costello, there's a solo ballad version that puts the lyrics out front and by doing that takes a generic EC song and instead moves me anew. It's on a 12 inch, I believe.

(Also, you said not to include live re-inventions but Elvis' Hurry Down Doomsday live B-side version, if you've never heard it, deserves to be heard)

The re-record of Mother for The Wall movie is exquisite, but since the original is perfect, too, it only just equals it, but must be heard as well.

The Steve Albini Cheap Trick In Color re-recording is a revelation, but remains sadly unreleased. The original is amazing, but the fattened, decades, even-thru-the-hissy-bootleg, later version might be better.


Sal Nunziato said...

"I much, much prefer the Sting/Clapton version of "It's Probably Me" to the rather droopy version Der Stingle re-recorded on Ten Summoners Tales.
I have a vestigial memory that David Bowie recorded two version of "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)". I definitely prefer the good one."

Yes and yes, RichD! Nice picks.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Ian Hunter's All Of The Good Ones Are Taken, the ballad version turns a novelty song about chicks into a broken-hearted lament, far more powerful, to my ears."

And I'm the one who said no live versions, but what you say about the Ian track is exactly how I feel about Bruce's original Dancing In The Dark versus the acoustic Bridge Benefit version. The story may not be exactly the same, but that's how I hear it.

William Repsher said...

"(And it was interesting to pick up that Beach Boys Party reissue last year ... I thought the songs would be stripped down to just vocals and instruments with no "party" effects, but that wasn't the case.)"

It sort of is. All you hear are the boys. The pre-song chatter is mostly gone. NO people singing along.
****

I was hoping that they had recorded all the intra-band goofing off and studio chatter on separate (removable) tracks and had only pure instrumental and vocal tracks ... but I should have known, when it came to vocals, The Beach Boys had everyone on one track, which is amazing to think all those harmonies in any given song are one take recorded all the way through. It seems like they only thing they stripped out was Brian's wife and girlfriends carrying on in the background!

Another one: single version of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as compared to the album version. No contest of course. Years ago I gave up on the single mix after seeing how the song was used in the movie Manhunter.

There are any number of 80s dance mixes I find preferable to the original track, but probably not what you're getting at here. And there's a treasure chest of fan remixes on youtube that have been blowing my doors off over the past few years.

soundsource said...

great topic wish I had a good comment other than great topic but really great topic

jmsafree said...

Bobby Charles cut a version of Small Town Talk with horns for a single release. It appears on many of the remastered versions of that great record. I always liked that version and I wish that Boz recorded his version with horns. joe

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for the single version of the Records' Starry Eyes vs. Mutt Lange's rerecording.

Anonymous said...

Let It Be with the guitar solo (rather than the other version with organ solo).

Anonymous said...

Kind of the exact opposite - Bobby Whitlock's first album from 1972 - I discovered it upon its release on cd in 2013 and immediately fell in love with it. I just had to scoop it up on vinyl and did so. That's when I realized that three songs from side one had been edited - "Where There's a Will", "A Day Without Jesus" and my absolute favorite, "Song For Paula". Those who may not listen carefully may not miss just exactly EVERY second of a song helps define it - its tone, mood and message. For these three songs, they needed every one of those removed choruses, guitar lines and vocal lines. I love this record and it can only be listened to on vinyl.
-Paul

Anonymous said...

"Sweet Jane" by the Velvet Underground. Lou Reed was furious that the bridge was edited out on the original album, and it's not bad, but it's totally unnecessary. The edited "Sweet Jane" is perfect.

And Sal, you are so right about EC's "It's Time." The bridge ruins the song. The single version is IMO one of the best things he ever did.

Pete

itsok2beright said...

The album version of Crimson and Clover (the Tommy James version), has much more soul to it. Though, the radio version is nicely edited for the time.

12vjoe said...

The original Amore EP version of All You Zombies by The Hooters far exceeds the sludgy, slowed-down re-record on their Nervous Night album. And if that ain't enough, their original single version of Fighting On the Same Side was much better than the different-key-havin' re-record on Amore.