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Pop Quiz: Bang A Gong (Get It On)


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1. Who played the piano glissandos on this famous pop track?

 

2. How much was he paid for his efforts?

 

The person with the correct answers gets 18 Keyboard Corner Kredits, redeemable for nothing at all but bragging rights.

 

- Jeff

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From web page

 

In addition to the 4 man T.Rex line up, the album included several guest musicians, some of whom weren't even credited on the album cover. Howard Kaylan and Marc Volman were on backing vocals throughout the album. In addition, Rick Wakeman of "YES" played piano on "Bang a Gong", Ian McDonald of "King Crimson" and later with "Foreigner" played saxophone, and Burt Collins played "Flugal Horn." But without doubt the man who made the album what it was, and perhaps more so than Marc himself, was producer Tony Visconti. Tony backfilled many of the songs with orchestrations that turned mere Bolan acoustical pieces into masterpieces. And every sound, instrument, and vocal seemed to be welded together with truly utmost perfection. Even Marc admitted to being amazed at how well Tony enhanced his music.
and

 

The relationship between Elton and Marc had started in the Tyrannosaurus Rex days when Elton opened a few Tyrannosaurus Rex concerts. As the story goes, though, they were not well acquainted and Elton was not too fond of Marc's music. Reportedly, during an interview, Elton made some rather critical remarks concerning Marc's music and days later was unceremoniously cornered on the street by Marc who first gave him a tongue lashing and then invited him over to his house. They then became best of friends and Elton appeared on TV with Marc later playing (miming actually) the piano part to "Get it on".
Not sure how accurate this is.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.

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The "pay" thing is always interesting. For example, guess how much James Jammerson was paid for the legendary bass track on "Reach Out, I'll Be There"? A whopping $61 (at least that's what I've read).

 

Regarding the question at hand, I would have guessed Jerry Rafferty, and I would have been wrong...

Reality is like the sun - you can block it out for a time but it ain't goin' away...
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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

according to this Mix magazine article , it was someone named Blue Weaver.

Additional web searching reveals that Blue Weaver was apparently the keyboard player for the Strawbs after Rick Wakeman...that may explain where the Wakeman rumor came from....

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Originally posted by Jeff Klopmeyer:

The answer is indeed Wakeman, who received the princely sum of £9.

So, the Mix mag article that interviewed the people who made the record was just wrong?

 

Interesting...where'd you get yer info?

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

Professional Affiliations: Royer LabsMusic Player Network

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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Interesting...where'd you get yer info?

There was a recent Blender Magazine spotlight on Marc Bolan, where they interviewed a few folks involved on that track (Kaylan, a couple former T. Rex guys). The Wakeman quote was straight from himself.

 

The only other person who played any keys at all on that record was Tony Visconti, who produced. There is no "Blue Weaver" on any credit for the record, per All Music. Don't know where Mix got their info.

 

- Jeff

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Originally posted by kad:

The "pay" thing is always interesting. For example, guess how much James Jammerson was paid for the legendary bass track on "Reach Out, I'll Be There"? A whopping $61 (at least that's what I've read).

By that point in time, Jamerson was getting about $50k a year from Motown, and they had also modified their console and 4 track to accommodate a 5th track solely for Jamerson's bass - they knew his bass was that important to the Motown sound.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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My band plays that bang a gong song... There is more piano than just the glisses. There are chords, similar to the guitar part. Did Wakeman do those too?
I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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Originally posted by Phred:

Did Wakeman do those too?

That's likely. He's the only one listed as a piano credit on the tune. I think when he said it was "a few glisses", he was minimizing his role in an otherwise non-challenging (and certainly non Wakeman-like) pop tune.

 

- Jeff

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For what it's worth the keyboardist Blue Weaver claims he did session work on Bang a Gong at his website:

 

http://www.blueweaver.com/

 

So I sent him a note asking him to clarify. I'm finding him quite interesting. This keyboardist hooks up with the Bee Gees and we start hearing funky minimoog bass riffs and R&B influences in their music. Folk/popsters turned disco in three years. There's some kind of story there. Blue Weaver has co-writing credits on a number of their disco-era tunes.

 

I notice Rick's discography also includes Bang a Gong.

 

Jerry

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Blue Weaver was kind enough to answer my question about Get it on (Bang a Gong). Reply below:

.....................................

I was(still am but haven't seen him since the Mick Ronson memorial concert

in London) a friend of Tony Visconti since he produced tracks with Strawbs.

He was making the album with Marc and asked me to play some piano on a few

tracks. The tracks were all quite basic at the time and I played along while

Marc sang some vocals in my headphones. Tony said he liked the glissandos I

did and asked me to just play some without any track.

 

Well..... one of the tracks turned out to be "Get it On" with my piano

part..Rick did play some piano on the album and if he copied my part he did

a damn good job because it's exact..my style of playing is different to

Rick's and if you listen to any of Rick's piano before or since he doesn't

boogie.

Later on my glissandos appeared on "Telegram Sam" I'm not sure about Bang a

Gong.

Tony has confirmed this in several interviews...that period of our lives was

quite a ball and now small details are a little hazy but I am sure it's me

playing.

 

Elton did mime on TOTP's video.

 

.....................................

 

I also asked him about the tranformation of the bee gees sound, the addition of funk elements and their physical relocation to Florida:

.....................................

 

I joined the Bee Gees initially as a session player for the Main Course

album in Jan 1975 with the brief of trying to make the music sound more

group orientated rather than 3 singers and extra musicians/orchestra etc.

 

This we acheived through first Wind of Change, that was the first really

funky sounding track, then of course when we did Jive Talkin' we new we were

onto a winning formula (The bass part came about because we had made a demo

with keyboards guitar and drums but couldn't find Maurice so I said I would

copy his bass sound with the ARP but I liked a little bit of wow in the

sound and when we heard it we knew that we should go in that

direction).After that they asked me to stay. We thought of ourselves then as

a group myself, Dennis Bryon, Alan Kendall, Barry, Robin, Maurice and the we

all contributed to the recording/production process.

 

I played all keyboard and synths(Arp 2600 x 2, Mini Moog, Oberheim x 2 8

voice linked, Yamaha CS80, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and many more) on all Bee Gees

tracks from 1975 until the "Living Eyes" album which I started but by then

we, or I should say I, was lacking direction so we went our seperate ways.

 

We all decided Miami was the place to live and record and at first used

Criteria then built Middle Ear later.

We also recorded some parts and mixed Children of the World in Canada and

started the tracks for Saturday Night Fever in Herouville France.

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Originally posted by Blue Weaver:

Rick did play some piano on the album and if he copied my part he did a damn good job because it's exact..my style of playing is different to Rick's and if you listen to any of Rick's piano before or since he doesn't boogie. Later on my glissandos appeared on "Telegram Sam" I'm not sure about Bang a Gong.

Nice of him to answer so quickly. As any of us who have professional experience in the studio, not having a credit doesn't mean that one didn't participate on a record.

 

Example: I did engineering on a major label release in the early '90s, and got paid... but got screwed on the credit, which should have minimally listed me as a second engineer (I did all the mic set up, got levels, operated the tape deck, and contributed creative decisions regarding spatial and dynamics processing while tracking). Instead, my name was nowhere to be found.

 

Regardless of that, no list of credits for "Bang A Gong" or that entire T. Rex album lists Blue in any way. And Wakeman has spoken about his contribution in interviews. So, something is amiss, but like Blue said... it was 1971, so I'm sure the details are a bit fuzzy. :)

 

- Jeff

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