The other night on Nightline, Chris Connelly was doing a special report on pop music. He was interviewing “Dr. Luke”, superstar producer for Kesha, Britney, Miley and Katy Perry, among many others. They were situated in his studio during the interview, surrounded by wall to wall computer monitors. Luke was excitedly showing Chris how he had constructed Katy Perry’s single “Teenage Dream.” The camera came in for a closeup of the computer screen, while Luke explained that he used 182 tracks of pro tools to create the song!
This reminded me of a passage in Keith Richard’s book, where he described the scene when the Stones arrived in Muscle Shoals in 1969:
“We ended up at Muscle Shoals Sound in Sheffield, Alabama at tours end. There we cut “Wild Horses”, “Brown Sugar” and “You Gotta Move.” Three tracks in three days, in that perfect 8-track recording studio. It was the crème de la crème, except it was just a shack in the middle of nowhere.”
So…….why does Katy Perry need 182 tracks? Maybe because Dr. Luke was building a song around a singer who can’t sing? Just asking. Or maybe, if the Stones had 182 tracks, they could have really made some great music!! Wild Horses? Brown Sugar? YIKES! Maybe those songs could have been hits if they had more tracks! HaHa.
A friend of mine, Rhymefest (Che Smith), Grammy award winning co-writer, with Kanye West, of the hit single “Jesus Walks” and a recording star in his own right, is running for Alderman in the 20th Ward in Chicago. He has some great ideas, foremost a commitment to improving literacy rates in his ward. To that end, he held a contest over the Winter break, to challenge all the public schools in his ward to read as many books over the break and write book reports. The winning school, Walter Reed Elementary won a party on the day after Valentine’s Day.
Every child got a certificate signed by Rhymefest, all the Eli’s Cheesecake they could eat, and five books donated by Rock For Reading, a not for profit that I help run. The books were very warmly received, and we promised the principal that we would keep supplying books to the school