Who backing vox

Sroundtable at aol.com Sroundtable at aol.com
Sat Nov 27 19:42:48 CST 2004

In a message dated 11/27/2004 8:39:01 AM Central Standard Time, 
thewho-request at igtc.com writes:

> >Let's be honest.  The Who's live backing vocals have always been horrible. 
> I'm with Colorado Jim on this one, Mc.  Your statement is too sweeping &
> can be easily disproved by the R&R Circus performance of "A Quick One," 
> to name only one example.
> But, there did seem to be a significant downturn in the execution of the 
> backing
> vocals from the mid-'70s onward - *on certain songs.*  (Hard for Pete to 
> really
> mess up his backing vocals on, say, WGFA, for example.)
> I remember first hearing the backing vocals on "See Me, Feel Me" from the
> '73 KBFH show &cringing.  John was way too loud &giving a weird, some-
> what off-key emphasis each time he said, "I...."  ("I get the music....,"  
> "I climb
> the mountain....," etc.)  I remember thinking, "Why is he singing it like 
> that?"
> So, let's amend your statement to read, "The Who's live backing vocals have
> *sometimes* been horrible."  *That* I can agree with.

Of course I didn't mean horrible 100% of the time.  But when I think of good 
backing vocals, I'm looking for consistency.  Yes, there were songs at IOW 
where the backing vocals were excellent (Summertime Blues, for example, and 
Listening To You), but in the same show just as many where they were bad (I Can't 
Explain, Pinball Wizard, I'm Free, My Generation).  In fact, I have yet to hear 
a single live version of My Generation where the backing vocals even 
approached adequate.  That is what I meant by horrible.  I don't hold it against them, 
because I would rather sacrifice backing vocals for incendiary performances.  
I really think it was more a problem with board mixing than anything.  They 
never had the backing vocals mixed high enough, and still don't.  The two shows 
I saw this summer, for example, had virtually inaudible backing vox in ICE.  
You'd think a song like that that relies so heavily on the backing vox would 
have Bobby P mixing them up more.  You can hear Roger like a bullhorn and Pete 
and Simon not at all.


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