If you haven't checked out the discussion on this week's post about single edits/versions on compilations, do so immediately. It's a fun, thoughtful look at an issue that some of us take for granted every now and again.
It's inevitably led to a bit of thought given to the opposite consideration, too: what if labels started releasing longer versions of hits everyone knew and loved? What a delightful surprise that would be. And I keep crossing my fingers that it'll happen every now and then.
We've all been there: you hear some delightful little tune on the radio, and you're really into the groove. And then...slowly, the track starts to fade away. And you panic! Where is that great sound going to? If you're a kid, you probably stick your head against the speaker or turn the volume up to get the last drops of sonic beauty from your sound system.
Where does that music go when it fades out? Sometimes we get our answer if we buy the album a certain song came from, and discover more of that song we love. (And what a feeling that is, too.) But every now and again, we uncover our answers through other means.
What follows is a list of some of my favorite non-fadeout moments from around the catalogue ways and means. Some of them will probably surprise you, but that's kind of the whole point about catalogue work: to surprise us when we think we've got no surprises left.
Billy Joel, "Zanzibar"/"Sometimes a Fantasy"
Two of the most famous and oft-cited examples of longer non-faded tracks around these parts are these two Billy Joel cuts from his most fertile period in the late '70s/early '80s. "Zanzibar," a rollicking track from 52nd Street (1978) with a killer trumpet solo by Freddie Hubbard, was found to have two solos in a longer mix included on Joel's My Lives rarities box set in 2006. And "Sometimes a Fantasy," from Glass Houses, was surprisingly released as a single without that fadeout that culminates in a hell-breaking-loose finale that has Joel jokingly invoking Ringo's "I've got blisters!" cry. (That version is still, amazingly, unavailable anywhere but that original single.)
Tears for Fears - "Shout"/"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
You'd never know that two of TFF's best singles have slightly longer versions until you know where to look. A Mobile Fidelity reissue of Songs from the Big Chair included the original U.K. 12-inch mix of "Shout," but it continued a minute or so past the fadeout, giving fans more of one of the most cathartic singles of the '80s. (This isn't uncommon on MoFi reissues; the same thing happened with a couple U2 album tracks - and Universal was smart enough to include those longer versions on U2's remasters over the past few years.) More of that killer guitar solo that plays through the fadeout on "Rule the World" was heard not only on some extended remixes, but on a remixed, reissued version of the single released for Bob Geldof's Sport Aid effort (entitled "Everybody Wants to Run the World," with Curt Smith re-recording that one line).
Squeeze, "Tempted" / Bryan Adams, "Summer of '69"
Your correspondent has long been a supporter of the Rock Band video game series, as it's a great way to recall a lot of great catalogue tracks that is a bit more active than just buying or downloading some music. The series has, from the outset, allowed you to play along with the real master recordings of your preferred song, from "White Wedding" to "All You Need is Love." This causes some interesting sensations when you play to a track that you know has a fade-out; some enterprising editor has to neatly tie up the song for gameplay purposes, but obviously not all unfaded songs end with clean endings. When you find that they do, however - and when you find out in the middle of trying to keep up with a rhythm video game - it's kind of mind-blowing. Thanks to Rock Band, fans now know that "Tempted" ends with a bit of instrumental jamming and some more of Paul Carrack's killer vocals, and that guitar outro on "Summer of '69" continues past the fade-out to an exciting climax.
The Jackson 5, "I Want You Back"/"ABC"
Rock Band also birthed one of the weirdest anomalies of The Jackson 5's catalogue. It turns out that the full master of "ABC" includes an extra chorus/bridge segment during that great call-and-response section between Michael and Jermaine. (It's at about three minutes into the above video.) It's barely perceptible unless you know "ABC" forwards and backwards, but it's there. (You can also hear it in part on Motown's acoustic MJ compilation The Stripped Mixes, and a very obscure compilation, Motown Year by Year: 1970.) Those stripped mixes also yielded extra ad-lib vocals on "I Want You Back"; we can only hope that Motown will pair those vocals with the original mix of the song, so we can hear one of the best pre-pubescent singers in history sing over the full version of one of Motown's most irresistible backing tracks.
Duran Duran, "Rio"
Sometimes a fadeout is barely necessary. Turn up "Rio" to full volume and you can hear the track come close to a full finish. The mix "Rio (Part 2)," included on The Singles 81-85 box set, corroborates this, as you literally hear the track end, no fadeout necessary. Unfortunately, that track is too different a mix from any other version of the song to edit properly, so we still have to hold out hope that someday EMI will give the track the slightly-longer treatment.