This video (below) has made the rounds with my Facebook friends (I’m not sure exactly where it started, but thank you to whomever is responsible) and when you give it a watch you’ll know why.
It’s a 1965 Frank Sinatra live record date, complete with a full orchestra, of his hit “It Was A Very Good Year.”
There’s a lot to like in this video.
—the small size of the audio console considering how large the orchestra. The recording was done at the famed United Western studio (now called EastWest), so the console was undoubtedly one custom-designed by the legendary Bill Putnam (that might be him at the console but can’t tell for sure). The console is pictured above/left.
—there was not a headphone in sight.
—the good humor that Frank is in. None of his legendary surliness here.
—the fact that he’s playing to a small audience of friends. When was the last time you saw that during a session?
—Walter Cronkite doing the voice-over. That’s two legends on the same tape.
—the fact that this is a live record. No overdubs here. It’s over when Frank is satisfied, which happens relatively quickly as the man was known for few takes.
—how many people are dressed formally with jackets and ties.
Recording sure has changed in the last 46 years. I’m not sure it’s gotten any better though.
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website and blog.