Music | 1960 | Sound | Colour
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The recording industry 1960's
Film opens with blurred image of record turning on turntable. Zoom in on a small hi-fi speaker. Titles. Spinning label of record in close up. Middle aged man wearing a suit sits in a chair in his living room listening to music and reading a book. A modern contemporary record player on a low table with stereo speakers either side. The man's well stacked bookshelves. Close up of leather bound books. Close up of other books including one by Jessica Mitford and Thor Heyerdahl's 'KonTiki Expedition'.
The man strokes his upper lip as he reads, the record finishes and he gets up. He goes to his record collection which is on the shelves with his books. He takes one out, rejects it and puts it back. Commentary makes comparisons between book and record library. He pulls another one out. Close up of Strauss LP he pulls out. He selects another, takes the disc out of its sleeve and looks at it, he likes this one. He goes to the record player and puts it on. Hearing some pop music he goes to the window and looks out and smiles.
Outside a group of young people are sunbathing, two young couples groove to a pop record playing on a portable record player, like a Dansette.. Two of them sit on a swinging garden seat. Another view, a young blonde woman in a bikini clicks her fingers then a worried expression comes over her, and she puts her finger in her mouth. Close up of the Columbia record spinning on the deck.
Record company offices, commentary talks of how recording process begins. A smart man and woman enter an office and speak to the receptionist, she shows them into her boss. He shakes their hands and they sit at his desk. They have an amiable chat and the record executive gives the woman, who is a singer or recording artist a contract to sign, she is Shirley Macdonald, who surfaces later on in the film. She sings and smiles happily as does the man she came in with, Eric Jupp.
A recording studio, two men in shirts and ties at the mixing desk. A band sit with their instruments in the studio, they look a bit like the Beach Boys, name on drum is 'Castaways'. The pianist. Close up of hand twisting a knob on the mixing desk. The sound engineer. Faders on the console being adjusted. Tape machine. Cuts between
the engineers and The Castaways playing. The microphone recording the bass player. Drummer drums, wearing headphones. More shots of band, pianist and recording equipment. The singer, Frankie Stevens, waits to record his vocals into the microphone separately from the band. He sings a verse or two, he has longish Beatle type hair and an open shirt, he looks like a rocker but sings like a crooner. The spinning tapes and console switches.
Another band in the recording studio, they record in unison. Johnny Ashcroft and band. The guitarists. Johnny sings into the mike, a thick set man with a sound like Jim Reeves, watered down country music. Another shot of the band, one of the guitarists is black.
In an office, two men plan a record cover. They design a cover on a piece of paper. A photographer prepares a shot in a studio for a cover shot. A nice young man, Johnny Farnham in a white polo neck smiles as he has his portrait taken. Back to the men in the office, one shows the other a proof of a Johnny Farnham album cover. A man writes notes on album covers, Jimmy Shand, Ten Years After.
Another recording session for Shirley Macdonald and the Eric Jupp orchestra. Repeated shots of the recording engineers and equipment. The band strike up an easy listening number, an awful version of Stevie Wonder's 'For Once In My Life', Shirley sings in a middle of the road fashion, like Julie Andrews. The string section. Shirley sings, reading the words from a music stand. The orchestra seen through the recording booth window. Repeated shots of engineers and Shirley and musicians. Eric and Shirley listen to a playback of the take. Close up of level meters and spinning tape.
Cutting a record, a lathe makes the lacquer master from which to press records. The Ortofon stylus cuts the grooves. An engineer keeps an eye on things. A loud speaker. A large tape deck. The sound engineer fiddles with controls on the lathe. More shots of the stylus. The man inspects the grooves through a microscope. At the pressing plant, a stamper makes an HMV record, a woman stacks them, another wipes them down. Decca records put in polythene inner sleeves. Russ Conway long players put in their covers, also 'Country Style' album.
A teenage girl in a record shop looks through records in the rack including 'Stereo 2' easy listening records. Close ups of Shadows and Adamo albums in the racks. The young woman selects a Jean Sheppard record. She takes a record from the display. A woman in the shop looks for a record on the shelf.
Back to our man in his room from the beginning of the film, he looks through a bound 'album' of LPs, this reflects the wide range of music available. Close up of his face. He examines a Barbirolli Beethoven 'Eroica' album, his echoey voice on the soundtrack. His thoughtful face as he listens to music. A montage of statues and fountains set to the music. The man and the record sleeve again, he turns it over to reveal a 'Swan Lake' LP. His thoughtful face. A sequence of young girls with balloons dancing in the park. They smile and leap about and wave their balloons around in slow motion, while Tchaikovsky plays on the soundtrack. Quite a long sequence. Back to the man listening and perusing the record cover, he turns over to the next record which is Daniel Barenboim playing Mozart. Cue another sequence set to music. A travelling shot looking up at trees with sunlight glistening through the branches. A series of shots of palm trees. A small white wooden bridge next to some trees. A repeat of the travelling shot. Back to the listener, he turns another record over, A Franck Pourcel album. The man picks this one, and gets out of his chair. Close ups of the Pourcel album cover.
The man puts the record on his stereo record player, commentary talks about advantages of stereo. We then see the entire family, man, mother and two daughters seated listening to the music, a little boy appears. The record player. More close ups of Franck Pourcel easy listening record covers.
A different living room with a young couple listening to an Al Martino record, the man has a suave moustache, his wife cuddles up to him. Al Martino record cover. Mrs Mills album cover. Yet another lounge with an elderly couple listening to Mrs Mills, she brings in a tray of tea, the old man sits in his armchair listening to the music. Their music centre or record player in a wooden cabinet. More record covers, then the family we saw earlier, who listen to the music and smile at each other, a picture of domestic bliss.
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