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Classic Mix

(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock

by Bill Haley & His Comets

Whatever mic Bill Haley was using here, it sounds like he was all but eating it at times, because you can hear serious wind-blasts at various points throughout this song. (I’m kind of assuming it wasn’t a ribbon!) Although you normally associate wind blasts with plosive sounds such as ‘p’ and ‘b’, this track provides a good demonstration of how many other consonants can cause similar problems, because you get big low-frequency thuds appearing on “three” (0:01), “four” (0:02), and “twelve” (0:07) in this case. To put it in perspective, these blasts produce significantly more low end than the kick drum and bass combined, as you can clearly hear on “three” at 0:28. Maybe the engineers at Decca’s Pythian Temple studios didn’t think anyone would hear it through ’50s playback technology. Or maybe they couldn’t hear it through their ’50s monitor loudspeaker…

Other things to listen for here are the live-to-tape fader ride of the electric guitar into the solo at 0:40, arguably two bars too early, and the extremely roomy drum sound, most of which we’re presumably hearing via the instrument’s spill on other mics within the large Pythian Temple live room. What puzzles me is what’s producing that super-upfront clicking sound. I can’t imagine it’s any part of the main kit, because if it was we’d have more dry sound from the rest of the drums, but there’s only one drummer credited on the session. It can’t be anything the lead guitar’s doing, because I can’t believe he’d have been able to keep it going during his solo. Could it be string slaps from the bass player? Seems unlikely to me because the bass notes seem too sustained for this to be possible. Plus this sound’s missing from every live performance I’ve seen. Could it be the great uncredited washboard performance of rock and roll history?