October 04, 2014

The Souls Of Famous Songs: 11 Isolated Vocal Tracks


Get a peek into the heart of some classic tunes by listening to the teased-out isolated vocal tracks. The first multitrack recorder was invented in the 1950s and was quickly embraced by the music industry as an indispensable tool in the recording studio. 
Musicians could use multitrack recorders to separate and stack different channels of sound, free to tweak and massage the sounds however they liked. Want to hear more guitar? 
Turn up the levels on the guitar track. Are the snares too sharp? Turn down their levels. Need to boost the lead singer's vocals? 
Stack up multiple versions of her singing the same lines on top of one another.
A typical pop song these days can have dozens and even hundreds of layers, all blended into one another in the final product. Guitars on top of guitars. Drums running over drums running over more drums. Vocals stacked up all over the place.

 It works, but once you blend it all together in the final mix (the one that comes in over the radio/Internet), like a birthday cake, you can't get a feel for the individual ingredients. Unless, of course, you find those ingredients all by themselves somewhere!
Thankfully, YouTube has a healthy collection of isolated vocal tracks, the single audio tracks from famous songs that give you a glimpse into the magic behind any given pop song. It's a window into the power and raw energy that the vocalists commanded (Freddy Mercury could sing) and a refreshingly intimate review of a song that you might have heard a thousand times — but not like this.(an extra Beatles song too!)

We waded through the videos and pulled out our favorites. Enjoy these 11 isolated vocal tracks from famous songs. Cheers!

We'd be remiss if we neglected to list something from the Rolling Stones, the band where MNN co-founder Chuck Leavell has most famously tickled the ivories for the past 30-plus years. Even though this song was recorded just before Chuck joined the band, it's too good not to share.

By Shea Gunther
With thanks to MNN


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