The big fade out..... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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10-20-2007, 08:04 AM
I think I remember this coming up a year or two ago, but it's time to bring it up again. It seems that most artists have gone to the fade out as the standard way to end all their songs. Where is the originallity?
So here are my two main questions:

1) What groups, bands or artists have consistantly stayed away from the fade out?

2) What songs have the coolest endings?

Mr MidFi
10-22-2007, 07:00 AM
I was listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall this morning, and the ending on that opening track is just a hilarious parody of the "big finish" a lot of hard-rock songs tend to fall into. As if the big, drawn-out ending weren't enough, they have a dive-bombing Stukka coming right at you...all of which dissolves into the sound of a little baby crying helplessly. Perfect.

I also love the very end of Los Lobos' "Whiskey Trail," which ends in your typical power-chord fade...until the sudden sound of a car wreck and a woman's scream.

Well, there's two off the top of my head.

10-22-2007, 07:55 AM
the ending of pink floyd's DSOTM is nice too, just like the beginning... I kinda feel that the cd represents a lifetime story, from birth till death...

10-22-2007, 08:05 AM
Cinema Show- Genesis off of Seconds Out.
Bad Streets- Missing Persons
Back-door Angels- Jethro Tull
Fair Exchange- Be Bop Deluxe
None of them Knew they Were Robots- Mr. Bungle
Uncontrollable Urge- Devo
Roundabout- Yes
Broken Household Appliance National Forest- Grandaddy
Blackest Eyes- Porcupine Tree

10-22-2007, 10:57 AM
Can't think of all the songs that have 'the coolest' fade outs...Het Jude had a super long fade out, so did A Day In The Life, both are a little long in the tooth by now. Some songs have the long fade out, only to fade back in thing. A lot of older songs used to fade into one another. like Floyd for example.

I think the fade out/in is used for dramatic effect, the same way the abrupt ending is used on certain songs. I usually agree with whatever the artists does in this regard. If I'm making a comp and a song has a really long fade, or an extremely drawn out instrumental close, I'll lop it off to save space. But for the most part, I've never noticed that one band does them to excess, except maybe, the Beatles, but that being said, the songs with long fade outs still represented a small portion of their canon.

Lots of bands use some tried and true methods of inflecting drama into a song. Most of the time it works within the context of an album, but not so much for a single. It depends on the mood I'm in at that moment or the type of listening I'm doing.

I like what Jeff Lynn did with the ELO song Shangri-La, where he references Hey Jude in the chorus ("My Shangri-La has gone away, faded like the Beatles on Hey Jude"), and ends the song with a long fade, then fades back in with an etherial vocal and keyboard coda, then out again. Very cool.

10-23-2007, 04:57 PM
Trivia time:

Iron Maiden only recorded ONE song with a fade-out.

What song is it?

10-23-2007, 09:13 PM
It is of course impossible to say exactly—there have been too many recordings over the years, and too many of them lost.
More importantly, the exact aesthetic and/or technical reasons for the fade-out are unclear. It wasn’t always a quick song-ender or DJ segue convenience.
Bill Haley’s cover version of “Rocket 88” (1951), often considered the first rock song, fades out to indicate the titular car driving away. There are claims that the Beatles’ “Eight Days a Week” (recorded 1964) was the first song to use the reverse effect—fade-in. (It also fades out.)
Both songs were influential hallmarks of modern music. But both fade-in and fade-out were used together long before to simulate the sound of a marching band passing by the listener.
The earliest such recording anybody could name for me is an 1894 78 rpm record called “The Spirit of ’76,” a narrated musical vignette with martial fife-and-drum that gets louder as it “nears” the listener and quieter as it “moves away.”
The fade-out as a simulation of a moving sound source seems to continue right up to “Rocket 88.” But other examples aren’t so obvious (though fade-out may always imply that the song continues forever and we’re only passing by it for a few minutes).
The oldest true songs with fade-out pointed out to me by 78 record fans bear no obvious relationship to movement. One is “Barkin’ Dog” (1919) by the Ted Lewis Jazz Band. Another contender is “America” (1918), a patriotic piece by the chorus of evangelist Billy Sunday.
Interestingly, some composers of this era wrote music that was supposed to be performed in a way that evoked a fade-out (typically implying motion). A major example is Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” (1914-17), which ends with a repeating, gradually quieter choral phrase and the instruction, “The sound is lost in the distance.”
By the early 1930s longer songs were being put on both sides of records, with the piece fading out at the end of Side One and fading back in at the beginning of Side Two. Records at the time held only about two to five minutes of music per side. The segue allowed for longer songs (such as Count Basie’s “Miss Thing”), symphonies and live concert recordings.
However, shorter songs continued to use the fade-out for unclear reasons—for example, Fred Astaire’s movie theme “Flying Down to Rio” (1933).
Even using fade-out as a segue device doesn’t seem obvious, though we certainly take it for granted today.
As a film buff, I have a gut feeling that movies were an influence here.
Fade-ins and fade-outs are cinematic devices that begin and end scenes—film language that developed at the same time as these early recordings. The term “fade-out” itself is of cinematic origin, appearing in print around 1918. And jazz, a favorite of early records, was a popular subject of early movies, too.
But I’ll have to fade out without connecting all the dots.

10-24-2007, 05:14 AM
Wow PS, that's pretty interesting. I've always been annoyed by the fade-out on recorded music. Even as a kid, listening to my kids records, I remember wondering why they didn't just write an appropriate end to the song. Once I was old enough to start going to concerts and realized that songs don't end that way live I continued to wonder why end them that way when recording?

The parade thing is an interesting spin. I never would have thought of that.