Recording studios have changed a lot in the last 50 years. Those changes were largely driven by developing technologies. But what was it like when overdubbing was limited to 2 or 4 tracks, and effects meant nothing more than a little reverb? Not to mention that everyone played together at the same time.
Al Gorgoni played guitar on cuts and hits by (take a deep breath) – Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Dusty Springfield, Trini Lopez, Sammy Davis, Jr., Laura Nyro, Ashford and Simpson, Bernadette Peters, Bobby Darin, Richard Harris, Phil Spector, Herbie Mann, Melanie, Jaynettes, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Joan Baez, Tony Orlando, Eric Andersen, Richard and Mimi Farina, Peter Yarrow, Mary Travers, Duane Eddie, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, Wayne Newton, The Tokens, The Cufflinks, Oliver, Left Banke, Ray Charles, Carole King, Paul Williams, The Strangeloves, Lenny Welch, Bobby Hebb, Jim Webb, Bob Dylan, Sonny and Cher, The Trade Winds, Jay and the Americans, Jay and the Techniques, Gale Garnett, B. J. Thomas… More about Al’s career at http://www.gorgoni.net
Al is currently producing a documentary about the golden age of hit industry recording in New York in the 50’s and 60.s. He is interviewing musicians and engineers from that time, and gathering archival footage.
Here’s a short 8mm clip (no sound), shot during a recording session at Columbia Studios (1967), and a description by Al of the (untitled) documentary:
“New York City. 1950’s. Music is being made that’s sweeping over the airwaves and changing the pulse of every listener within earshot of a radio, record player or television set.
For the next 30 years, an elite collection of musicians, arrangers, producers, and sound engineers come together to work around the clock, recording music destined to touch the lives of people around the world. Creatively charged and inspiring each other, these artists gather in thriving recording studios all over the city, ultimately creating their place in musical history – all in a day’s work.
These aren’t the faces of the music – the rock stars, the celebrities, the newsmakers. These are the highly skilled and talented professionals who create the tracks behind those faces.
These are the expert few whose individual gifts draw them together from different paths to one destination – the session scene in NYC.
And these are their stories of a time that will not come again. But a time that is forever captured in sound – a Golden Age in recording when music making meant making music. Together. In the studio.”
If you were there, give Al a shout, I’m sure he wants to talk to you.
– Carlo Altomare