Friday, 31 January 2020

Length


In yesterdays post I spoke of "Revelation" being the first piece by a rock band (Love on "Da Capo") to take up a side of a vinyl album. That got me thinking of what followed from that.

Classical music seems to have often consisted of lengthy pieces in the form of symphonies , but these were usually split into movements to give orchestras and audiences a rest. Remember permanent functional recordings that could cope with that sort of length of music did not come until the vinyl album which was around the late forties early fifties , and some symphonies outlasted the realistic forty minute vinyl limitation (anything else results in groove cramming and sound degradation).

Pink Floyd took up s side of "Meddle" with "Echoes" and "Atom Heart Mother"'s title track took up the first side. Yes did the same with "Close To The Edge" and "Relayer" opened with the first side being taken up by "Gates of Delirium" .

"Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd and "Sergeant Pepper" by The Beatles were merged song cycles that had defined songs that segued into others.

Yesterday on my walk to work I listened to Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" which is just a single forty minute piece, obviously consisting of movements and it does amage me that artists can remember everything to perform these live. That was followed by "Passion Play" which was split by the silly "Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" by effectively took up a fill vinyl album.

However Tull were outdone by Mountain who on the original vinyl album of "Twin Peaks" stretched "Nantucket Sleighride" over two and a half sides even though it was only thirty minutes long, so we'll go with the studio take of that for this last post in January. It's only six minutes long and amazing song about whaling, a section of it was also used for an ITV news program "Weekend World" , and I always loved the early Mountain album covers, amazing artwork.

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