I had an idea earlier today.
I wanted to write a blog post about how performers are ruining duets by no longer recording the material alongside one another. The impetus came from a recent interview I heard with Pitbull. He talked at length about Timber, the hit song he did with Ke$ha, and admitted he’d never actually met the woman.
I thought about how crappy that was; how folks like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell—true artists—must be spinning in their graves. It was those two, after all, who brought us the original recording of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough—which I consider (vocally, spiritually) to be the best pop/R&B duet ever recorded. Hell, the song is filled with ooph and heart and power and passion. There’s one point in particular, where Terrell screams out, “Ha!”, that gets me every single time.
Yeah … Gaye and Terrell. That’s how you do it. Live. Together. With intensity and spark.
Turns out one of the all-time greatest Motown recordings was actually, eh, spliced together. Terrell did her vocals, Gaye did his vocals. They never sang in the same room; never faced one another with mics on and tape rolling.