Saturday, 9 June 2012

Baba o' Riley

Baba O’ Riley – The Who (written by Pete Townshend). 

The structural elements of this song is a basic verse/chorus structure which is seen through many rock songs of that era and before it, it is also seen in earlier Who songs (i.e. Substitute) though this song has an extended introduction and outro. The song is 120 BPM (which I calculated twice by the method of counting the beats within 6 seconds then multiplying it by 10, then the same by 10 seconds and multiplying it by 6). The key features of the instrumentation is a VCS3 and A.R.P. synthesiser used for the backing track and is also the key instrument for the intro (it is also believed that Pete Townshend put the vital statistics of Meher Baba into a synthesiser to create this sound, describing it as his birth), a Lowry organ to help create the introduction of Meher Baba’s birth, also a violin played by Dave Arbus (the Violin solo being Keith Moon’s idea and production was credited to him) which gave the song a sort of Irish folk feel to it, but when played live Roger Daltrey played the harmonica to emulate the violin. Other instruments that were obvious to be used are the guitar (given the era it was most probably a Gibson Les Paul), a bass guitar, a premier drum kit and the vocals. Roger Daltrey performed most of the vocals apart from the lines ‘Don’t cry, don’t raise your eyes, it’s only teenage wasteland’ where Pete Townshend performs the vocals. 

Overdubbing is obviously used throughout as it is solely Pete Townshend who plays the guitar, synthesisers and piano, also with his own vocals. Overdubbing was also used for the drums, for someone who’s familiar with the Who’s work it is obvious on this song that Keith Moon’s drumming is sturdier, firmer, more formal and traditional. This was partly due to Keith playing with a click track to ensure that the drums stayed in time with the demands of a synthesiser, it was also partly due to Glyn Johns (the producer) who had a no-nonsense product technique and wanted every song on the album (Who’s Next) to be perfect, trying to get the best from Keith. Reverb is also used on Pete Townshend’s vocal line. Production on the album is credited to the Who with associate producers Glyn Johns. Credit was given to Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert for executive producing though they had nothing to do with the album as far as I’m aware it was all for the contract, Keith Moon was also credited for production on the violins.

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