16 Feb 2021

Musical Mistakes with Tony Stamp

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 2:25 pm on 16 February 2021

From swearing to coughing and forgotten lyrics - Tony Stamp from RNZ Music shares some of the songs where mistakes made the final cut.

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Photo: AFP

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The Kingsmen - Louie Louie

This recording is riddled with mistakes. The drummer misses a beat and yells in frustration, the singer comes in too early and has to stop and start again. It's a good example of tape & studios being expensive and bands having to roll with what they had.

Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats - Rocket 88

Often credited as the first rock n roll song, part of its success was due to a damaged amplifier which fell off a truck, leading to distorted guitar

Ella Fitzgerald - Mac the Knife

Everyone knows this one, she forgets the lyrics so goes into an impression of Louie Armstrong.

The Beatles - Hey Jude

Probably the most famous musical error, Paul fudged a chord and loudly swore. They left it in the final edit.

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

David Gilmour coughs at one point, and vowed at that moment to quit smoking (he did).

The Cure - So What

It was a source of contention for a while what was going on with Robert Smith in this song, it turns out Smith turned up for the recording drunk with a pack of sugar and was singing random bits from the packaging

New Order - Blue Monday

These guys and girls were literally inventing new ways to make music, and when Gillian Gilbert painstakingly programmed in that main synth bit, she left out a note, which because of the technology changed the entire melody and put it out of time. Who would have known?

MIA - Paper Planes

The vocal edits in this are shocking. Breaths cut off, random syllables left in – possibly deliberately, possibly just slack editing.

R.E.M. - The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight

Michael Stipe kept singing 'Zeus' instead of 'Seuss', you can hear him chuckling about it in the final take.

Nirvana - The Man Who Sold the World

Kurt Cobain completely fudges the guitar solo on this Unplugged performance of the David Bowie classic.

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