There was once a time – around the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s – when popular songs were shaved down to a paltry three minutes or less … in order to get more tunes crammed into Top 40 radio. Although like “Hey Jude” and “American Pie” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” buck the trend of the quaint, tight 3-minute pop song, there are other examples of tracks where the studio engineer needed to slice a lyric here, trim a drumbeat there … essentially creating a Reader’s Digest version of the pop songs we all know and love. Today, while the full-length versions of those hits are all over oldies radio … here are some examples – many of which only exist on 45 RPM pressings – of songs that were sliced and trimmed and chopped and butchered. Including …
More Than A Feeling
In order to shave an entire minute off this record, some studio engineer simply removed the song’s second lyric (“So many people // have come and gone…”). What’s left on this 45? Lyric, refrain, straight into instrumental bridge.
THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA
Dang, they took the Ginsu to this record. Intro removed. Whole measures removed. And the bridge was just plain scalpeled. Talk about a nasty edit.
Nothing like taking a classic track from one of the greatest art rock bands of all time … and scouring it down to 3 minutes and 27 seconds.
Another example of just simply slicing out an entire lyric to make the song fit on a 45. I think Billy Joel referenced this nasty edit in his later hit “The Entertainer.” (“It was a beautiful song, // but it ran too long // If you’re gonna have a hit, you gotta make it fit // So they cut it down to 3:05.”)
I should mention that this was NOT the only time Billy Joel got razor-hacked on his 45’s…
The final instrumental bridge of “My Life” was completely edited out of the song. And you can hear where the tape ends and the rest of the song begins … right at around … 3:17 of this video clip. Hear it?
This hack job simply slices off part of the intro, part of the refrain, one verse, I think it might have sliced Paul Kantner and Grace Slick out of the track as well.
This seems to be a pattern when it comes to 1970’s-era 45’s. The second lyric just doesn’t matter, so slice it out to make the song fit onto the vinyl. As seen here.
Remember how I said that some songs – like “American Pie” were released commercially in their full-length format? Well, United Artists Records made a promo-only version for radio stations – it removes the introductory lyric, going straight into “Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie…” – and it fades out after three lyrics. Wow. Oh look, the engineer, Tom Flye, was kind enough to put his name on the record. Now we know who to blame. 😀
THE EDGAR WINTER GROUP
You almost expect that a record created from the assemblage of various recording tapes – a song that was “Frankensteined” into creation – would also receive some “Frankenstein”-like edits. Especially at 2:40 of this video, where almost an entire minute of the song is clawed out of the track.
Light My Fire
Hey, what’s a great way to take a 7-minute classic and craft it into a 45 RPM record? All of you who said, “Take out Robbie Krieger’s guitar solo,” give yourself five points. And shame on you for taking out Robbie Krieger’s guitar solo from this amazing song.
And that’s your sliced, diced, grated and grating versions of your favorite classic oldies as available on 45 RPM pressings – on K-Chuck Radio!