Results for EMI

classic album dissections
RevolverRevolver available on iTunes

The Beatles Revolver

Revolver recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. To honor that, our own rock scientists, Drs. DeRogatis and Kot, decided to dissect The Beatles' masterpiece. In their discussion, as well as in their interview with Geoff Emerick, the man who engineered the album at Abbey Road, you‘ll hear an in-depth breakdown of what made the music so revolutionary. Here’s a sampling of fun-facts and analysis listeners will hear about the different tracks:

Tomorrow Never Knows

The last song on Revolver was actually the first one written. In December 1965, after a mind-expanding acid trip, John Lennon wrote what would later become "Tomorrow Never Knows." The completely unique four-track song, with its organ drones, backward guitar, bird calls, and megaphone vocals, perfectly encapsulates what Revolver was about: revolution. Two interesting points come up in Jim and Greg's discussion with Geoff Emerick about Lennon's lack of technical prowess. Not being able to really communicate how he wanted his vocals to sound technically, he simply asked Emerick to have his voice sound like monks singing on the top of a mountain. Also, the backwards guitar part was merely a happy accident. Lennon, not knowing how to run a reel-to-reel machine, simply loaded the tape backwards and liked what he heard.

Rain

The interesting thing about "Rain" is that it wasn't even released as part of the original Revolver album. It was the B-side of a single (paired with "Paperback Writer") that was recorded during the same session. EMI expected the Beatles to write and record not only an amazing album, but hit singles as well. Jim recommends fans burn their own complete Revolver with the addition of these singles.

Yellow Submarine

Geoff Emerick's description of recording "Yellow Submarine" is one of the most entertaining in his book. The session was attended by a raucous group of notable guests including Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithful and Patti Harrison. In the middle of recording Lennon decided that he wanted to sound like he was singing underwater, and in fact, suggested that he do just that. Out of desperation, the engineer relented and agreed to try it with the microphone placed in a milk bottle filled with water. In order to protect the microphone he used a condom provided by longtime Beatles roadie Mal Evans.

Eleanor Rigby

Emerick was really innovative in how he recorded different instruments. This is particularly evident on this song, written by Paul McCartney, which incorporates an eight-piece string section. In fact, none of The Beatles actually played on "Eleanor Rigby." In order to get the best possible sound, Emerick placed the microphones just inches away from the two violas, two cellos and four violins. Beatles fans are so used to hearing this song so it's hard to imagine what it would be like to experience it for the first time in 1966 on the same record with more traditional sounding rock songs like "Good Day Sunshine" and "Got to Get You Into My Life."

Taxman

Revolver marks significant growth in the band's sound, as well as for the individual Beatles. George Harrison really matured as a songwriter during the recording of this album, which has an unprecedented three songs written by him, as opposed to chief songwriters Lennon and McCartney. While Harrison is often thought of as the more transcendental Beatle, Jim notes that "Taxman" expresses a very normal, earthy concern: paying taxes. While, Harrison grew as a songwriter, Emerick admits that he still struggled with the guitar during some of the recording of this album. After wrestling for almost nine hours with the famous“Taxman”guitar solo, the part ended up being handed over to Paul McCartney, who hit it in one take.

Go to episode 117
Revolver

The Beatles Revolver

Later this summer Revolver will celebrate its 40th anniversary. To honor that occasion, our own rock scientists, Drs. DeRogatis and Kot, decided to dissect The Beatles' masterpiece. In their interview with Geoff Emerick, the man who engineered the album at Abbey Road, and wrote a memoir on his time with the band, they break down what made the music so revolutionary. A sampling of the fun facts and analysis:

Tomorrow Never Knows

The last song on Revolver was actually the first one written. In December 1965, after a mind-expanding acid trip, John Lennon wrote what would later become "Tomorrow Never Knows." The completely unique four-track song, with its organ drones, backward guitar, bird calls, and megaphone vocals, perfectly encapsulates what Revolver was about: revolution. Geoff Emerick shares two facts about Lennon's lack of technical prowess. First, not being able to communicate how he wanted his vocals to sound technically, Lennon simply asked Emerick to have his voice sound like monks singing on a mountaintop. Also, the backwards guitar part was a happy accident. Lennon, not knowing how to run a reel-to-reel machine, simply loaded the tape backwards and liked what he heard.

Rain

The interesting thing about this song is that it wasn't even released as part of the original Revolver album. It was the B-side of a single (paired with "Paperback Writer") that was recorded during the same session. EMI expected The Beatles to write and record not only an amazing album, but hit singles as well. Jim recommends fans burn their own complete Revolver with the addition of these singles.

Yellow Submarine

Geoff Emerick's description of recording "Yellow Submarine" is one of the most entertaining in his book. The session was attended by a raucous group of notable guests including Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull and Patti Harrison. In the middle of recording, Lennon decided that he wanted to sound like he was singing underwater, and in fact, suggested that he do just that. Out of desperation, the engineer agreed to try it, and placed the microphone in a milk bottle filled with water. In order to protect the microphone he used a condom provided by longtime Beatles roadie Mal Evans.

Eleanor Rigby

Emerick was really innovative in how he recorded different instruments. This is particularly evident on this song, written by Paul McCartney, which incorporates an eight-piece string section. In fact, none of the Beatles actually played on "Eleanor Rigby." In order to get the best possible sound, Emerick placed the microphones just inches away from the two violas, two cellos and four violins. Beatles fans are so used to this song that it's hard to imagine what it would be like to experience it for the first time in 1966, let alone on the same record as traditional-sounding rock songs like "Good Day Sunshine" and "Got to Get You Into My Life".

Taxman

Revolver marks significant growth in the band's sound, as well as for the individual Beatles. George Harrison really matured as a songwriter on this album, which has an unprecedented three songs written by him, as opposed to chief songwriters Lennon and McCartney. While Harrison is often thought of as the more transcendental Beatle, Jim notes that "Taxman" expresses a very normal, earthly concern: paying taxes. While Harrison grew as a songwriter, Emerick admits that he still struggled with the guitar during some of the recording of this album. After wrestling for almost nine hours with the song's famous guitar solo, the part ended up being handed over to Paul McCartney, who hit it in on the first take.

Go to episode 25
lists

Songs About the Music Industry

Rock ‘n’ roll is all about railing against the“man.”And for musicians, there's no bigger man than the record business. Some songs celebrate music's great A&R men and women or label heads. Many more skewer the suits. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites:

Go to episode 642

The Best of 2007… So Far

Jim and Greg just couldn‘t wait until the end of the year to start picking their favorite albums, so they’ve decided to name their 2007 mid-year best.

Go to episode 81

Songs About the Music Business

Rock ‘n’ roll is all about railing against the“man.”And for musicians, there's no bigger man than the record business. Some songs celebrate music's great A&R men and women or label heads. Many more skewer the suits. Here are Jim and Greg's favorites:

Go to episode 418
news

Music News

The Rolling Stones made headlines this week after inking an exclusive recording deal with Universal Music. This has prompted speculation that the Stones are planning to leave longtime label EMI, which is restructuring under new ownership. This would be one of many big name acts rumored to be headed for the hills, including Coldplay and Robbie Williams. Paul McCartney and Radiohead have already fled, and the potential loss of the Stones catalog could cost EMI over $6 million. New CEO Guy Hands refuses to express concern, but Jim and Greg predict that the music industry may come down from the six major labels it had at the turn of the century, to only three.

Singer/songwriter John Stewart passed away earlier this week at the age of 68. Stewart penned The Monkees' classic tune "Daydream Believer," but many listeners may not know about the huge song catalog he left behind. He recorded nearly four dozen solo albums and helped to create what we now know as "Americana." In addition to influencing artists like Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Roseanne Cash, he was idolized by Lindsey Buckingham, the Fleetwood Mac member who teamed up with him and Stevie Nicks for Stewart's hit single "Gold."

Go to episode 113

Music News

Earlier this week the music label EMI agreed to drop Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions from its digital music files. In addition, the files will be of a higher quality than those available now. Essentially this means that consumers who purchase EMI tracks from bands like The Arctic Monkeys, Beyoncé, and Nelly Furtado can play them on any player, regardless of where they purchased it. But, there is a catch: these digital songs will be almost 30% more expensive.

EMI's announcement seems to be a response to a plea that Apple head Steve Jobs made earlier this year for all record companies to remove DRM from their digital music. And while these songs will be available for purchase and download from all online retailers, it's interesting to note how much Jobs is thrusting himself into the music industry. In fact, he was posed right next to EMI chief Eric Nicoli for this announcement.

Go to episode 71

Music News

One of the biggest sales in record company history has just been completed. EMI, until now one of the four remaining major labels, is being broken up and sold off by the megabank Citigroup for a combined $4.1 billion. After many months of negotiations, French media company Vivendi, which owns Universal Music Group, will buy EMI's recorded music division and Sony Corp. will pick up the publishing arm. Now we're down to three. But some people speculate that consolidation is necessary for this industry's survival. One thing is certain, Universal, already the largest music company in the world, with an estimated 27% of the global market, is now an even bigger giant with the addition of Coldplay, Katy Perry and Pink Floyd to its roster.

It may be years too late, but Google is finally in the digital music business. They launched their online store with a splash on Wednesday, demonstrating how its 13 million songs will be integrated with Android and can be accessed across various devices and shared with friends. The Internet company inked licensing deals with 2 of the 3 labels, save Warner Music Group, but it seems unlikely Google be able to compete with reigning digital music king iTunes, as well as services from Amazon and Spotify. The secret to success rests with its dominant search engine. People will come to Google Music first. But will they stay is the real question.

Go to episode 312

Music News

Pearl Jam made big news this week after announcing an exclusive deal with Target. The alternative band will release a new album along with the big box chain. And in addition they will allow Target to use a Cameron Crowe-directed video in a series of ads. Pearl Jam has long been known for its anti-corporate and anti-commercial attitude, so this was a surprise to Jim and Greg. But, as Greg says, at least they aren't selling the album exclusively through Target — good news for mom and pop record stores.

The usual record industry story goes like this: Label likes artist, label pays artist, artist makes music. But, in a twist, EMI recording artist Joss Stone has offered to pay her label not to make music. The British pop/soul singer is apparently desperate to get out of her four-album contract, after making only one of those records. This is one of many blows to the label, which has already said goodbye to Radiohead and Paul McCartney.

After a six-year trial, producer Phil Spector was finally sentenced this week. The judge showed no mercy and put him behind bars for 19 to life, with a mandatory 15 years. That means that Spector will not be eligible for parole until he is 88.

Go to episode 184

Music News

This week American and European regulators gave their official blessing to the merger of Universal Music Group and EMI. The big four major labels are now down to three. So what could go wrong with one company controlling more than forty percent of the music market? According to Greg, a lot. Take a streaming service like Spotify: for Spotify to launch, the company had to obtain licensing deals for its music from the majors. With so much of the world's music now in UMG's hands, Greg predicts it's going to be a lot tougher for tomorrow's Spotifys and Pandoras to get into business. He sums it up: big tech and big labels 1, the little guy, 0.

Are you one of the three remaining people on earth who haven't seen Psy's "Gangnam Style" video? Better get hip fast. The South Korean rapper just broke the Guinness Book of World Records' entry for most YouTube likes (2.2 million). Back in June Sound Opinions prophesied that K-pop - Korean pop music - was poised to make a big splash in the States. But even Jim admits he never thought the genre's breakout star would be a rotund rapper singing about a posh Seoul neighborhood.

Go to episode 357

Music News

First up in the news is Amazon.com's announcement that it will create a digital music store. What makes their service distinctive from iTunes is that its songs will be free of Digital Rights Management restrictions. The EMI record label has also agreed to offer iTunes DRM-free tracks; however the Apple store will offer them at a higher price. If Amazon's tracks are a more reasonable price, it's possible the online mega-store will be able to compete. But, just possible.

Go to episode 78

Music News

The Payola investigation conducted by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is making some headway. Universal Music Group, the world's biggest music company, has agreed to pay $12 million to settle accusations that its executives paid radio programmers to play certain songs. This is the largest settlement of its kind. Warner Music Group and Sony BMG made similar deals last year, and Mr. Spitzer is still in the process of investigating EMI, as well as radio companies like Clear Channel and CBS Radio. And, as we heard a couple of weeks ago, the FCC is conducting a similar inquiry. As always, Sound Opinions H.Q. will keep you posted.

Another story in the news this week suggests that record company lawyers won't be taking a break any time soon. All four of the major record labels have just launched a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio. Universal, Sony BMG, Warner and EMI all claim that a new XM device called the "Inno" violates music copyright law by allowing people to not only listen to satellite radio, but record it. Therefore, according to the labels, XM has become a digital retailer, like iTunes, and should be required to pay similar fees. It's yet another example of the recording industry scorning new technology rather than embracing it.

Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose is also making news, though Jim and Greg are wondering why. The buzz is that his long-awaited album Chinese Democracy is forthcoming — but our hosts are skeptical. Rose has been saying that he's on the brink of finishing for years (15 to be exact), and in the process he's become one of the long-running jokes in the music industry. But fans can take solace in the fact that the singer recently performed some Chinese Democracy tracks in New York. A good sign indeed.

Go to episode 25

Music News

Jim and Greg start off the show with some good music industry news. The Internet music service Pandora has reported its first profitable quarter since launching a decade ago. Pandora seemed to be on the path of many Internet startups of the early 2000s, but now it boasts about 48 million users and projected earning of $100 million for 2010. To this we say Mazel Tov.

OK Go has been making a lot of news recently. First, after some debates with their label EMI, they released a free, embeddable video for their new song "This Too Shall Pass." This is a follow-up to the famous 2006 treadmills video for "Here It Goes Again," which has been viewed over 50 million times. The band's lead singer Damian Kulash discussed his philosophy on viral videos in an op-edin the New York Times. And just last week the band revealed that it had split from EMI to form a new label Paracadute. Prior to this announcement Jim and Greg spoke to Kulash about going viral, labels and going rogue.

OK Go

Go to episode 225

Music News

First in the news, the state of Illinois may impose a tax on digital music and film downloads in order to help bail out its $13 billion deficit. If the legislature approves Governor Quinn's proposal, Illinois would join 19 other states that currently have such a tax and be able to get $10 million revenues annually. Per usual, this has prompted partisan debate, but Jim and Greg doubt either party is much concerned with the music fan's perspective.

One of rock's biggest stars, Paul McCartney, is going indie. The former Beatle has announced a plan to take his solo catalog from major label EMI and move it to the independent Concord label. McCartney previously worked with Concord as part of his now defunct Starbucks Hear Music deal. EMI is one of 4 big music companies dominating the industry these days, and as Jim and Greg explain, these labels depend on back catalog revenue. It takes little overhead to repackage an album from an artist like McCartney, and they can reissue it over and over again to new consumers.

Jim and Greg next discuss rapper Guru who died last week. The hip hop artist moved to New York City just in time for the genre's golden age. He developed alongside Public Enemy, Run DMC and Tribe Called Quest, to name a few. Guru joined up with DJ Premier to form Gang Starr, a duo with a revolutionary sound fusing rap with jazz. This, along with his fluid vocal style, made Gang Starr one of hip hop's most influential acts. To honor the late artist, Jim and Greg play "Jazz Thing," a track from the Mo' Better Blues soundtrack featuring jazz musician Branford Marsalis.

Go to episode 230

Music News

Everyone's got their heads in the clouds these days. Google has followed in the footsteps of fellow internet giant Amazon to launch a cloud-based music locker called Music Beta. It offers consumers more storage, but that's where the applause seems to end. Industry watchers had been anticipating a revolutionary service that would incorporate a store with a digital locker and be able to compete with iTunes. But, the record labels squelched those dreams. Jim and Greg are interested to see how the labels react, and most of all, they've got their eye on the big player in the game: Apple.

In other industry news, Warner Music Group is changing hands. In a $3 billion deal, the music label was sold to Access Industries. There's also speculation that Access will purchase EMI and merge the two, bringing the major record label count from 4 to 3. While the giants are shrinking, new alternative music industry players pop up every day. The most recent label launch of note comes from Glee music producer Adam Anders. Before you scoff, Greg reminds us that Glee has produced more than a 100 Billboard hits. His first act, Shane Harper, isn't flying off the shelves, but Anders is more interested in artist development — two words that Jim and Greg are encouraged to hear.

Just when libraries were losing their“cool”rep, the Library of Congress has created a Jukebox full of historic recordings. Its new website gives people access to 10,000 recorded songs, speeches, poems and more from the first part of the 20th century. Once in awhile it's nice to hear news about fans getting more, not less, access to music.

Go to episode 285

Music News

This year's crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were celebrated last week at a ceremony in Cleveland. 2009's class includes Metallica, Run DMC, Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack and Little Anthony and the Imperials. While Metallica is getting its props, heavy metal is consistently unrepresented. Greg would vote to nominate Slayer. Jim agrees and adds that progressive rock music is also due for some representation. Love ‘em or hate ’em, Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull are certainly as influential, if not more, than Little Anthony.

On the same day that U2 released a second set of tickets for their highly sought-after fall tour, New York Senator Chuck Schumer unveiled new legislation to crack down on the secondary ticket market, or scalping. Schumer is riding the wave of popularity he got after criticizing Ticketmaster for sales of Bruce Springsteen tickets, but Jim and Greg don't blame him. Jim calls scalping“a plague”on the music industry, and both critics urge reform.

They may have stopped making music decades ago, but The Beatles' output is still going strong. This fall Apple Corps and EMI will release the band's entire catalog remastered digitally on CD. This is long overdue; their music hasn't been upgraded since songs were first put on CD twenty years ago. But, while fans might be excited for a new model, Jim and Greg see this as a very transparent attempt to keep dipping into the same profit pool year after year.

Go to episode 176

Music News

After 31 years at EMI, The Rolling Stones have moved over to Universal Music. The label is boasting about its acquisition, but Jim and Greg wonder if the Stones are such a catch after all. As a“heritage artist”they surely bring rock-cred to any company, but as former Chicago rock critic and NPR arts editor Bill Wyman points out, EMI only sold about a million Stones albums a year, which is about as much as a single Eagles album alone sold. A million records is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it may not warrant the expense of housing such a band.

In other Stones news… Abkco Music Inc., the publishing company that owns the right to the British band's song "Play With Fire," is suing rapper Lil Wayne for what it claims was an unauthorized release of an altered version of the song. Lil Wayne's new track "Playing With Fire," does not list any samples in its credits, but Abkco believes the song is clearly derivative. You be the judge.

While it holds a place in the hearts of a generation of music fans, the cassette tape has almost gone the way of the 8-track. The New York Times recently published what is essentially an obituary of the cassette, pointing out the one area the technology still thrived was the audiobook industry. But now, even books on tape are being dumped. Add this to the fact that none of Billboard's Top 10 albums last week were issued on cassette, and it seems time to say goodbye to our dear friend.

Go to episode 140

Music News

Miley Cyrus has gone from Disney star to Flaming Lips devotee. She and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips have released a 23 song long free album called Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. The album purportedly is a tribute to her dead pets as evidenced in a song like "Pablow the Blowfish." Jim thinks the record is nothing to write home about and is generally a waste of your time. Disagree? Call 888.859.1800.

EMI has stepped into the 21st century by doing something no other record label has done: allowing amnesty for samples. The company says the amnesty was put in place for“the aim of encouraging new sample requests from its broad catalogue as well as ensuring already existing samples are properly licensed.”It'll allow samplers who used EMI samples in the past to declare their samples“without the fear of a royalty back claim.”Too little too late or a big step forward, you decide.

Going Going Gone! We love a good rock auction here on Sound Opinions. Jim covers the auctioning off of rock inflatables by the English company Air Artists which includes inflatable Freddie Mercury and Brian May from Queen's 1986 The Magic tour; two life-size polystyrene and fiberglass casts used to make the inflatable Babylonian woman used on the Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon Tour; and the fiberglass train model used for AC/DC's Runaway Train concert. Also averrable for cold hard cash? A night's stay in the house that Bob Dylan and The Band wrote Music from Big Pink. Asking price per night - $650. Greg covers the auctioning off of the piano used to writeABBA's "Dancing Queen." ABBA cofounder Benny Andersson certified the piano and the asking price is $1.1 million. Finally The Beatles have their first recording contract up for auction. The band served as Tony Sheridan's backing band on the song "My Bonnie" recorded in Hamburg Germany. The asking price on this piece of Fab Four history is $150,000 just a little more than the $80 the band was paid to make the record in the first place.

Go to episode 510