Studio music videos
July 11, 2012 8:42 AM   Subscribe

What are some music videos in which rock bands or artists are shown in the studio doing the exact performance that was eventually released on album or CD?

The music videos I'm looking for are studio tracks, and are not concert performances or dubs. Or if they are dubbed videos, there's an unusual amount of detail showing the production and mastering of the song.

The only two of this caliber that I can think of are Days Gone Down (Gerry Rafferty) and In The Limelight (Rush). I might be wrong about these being the actual, genuine tracks that got pressed onto vinyl, but they're as close as I've seen.

Anything that charted from the 1960s to 2012 are fine.
posted by crapmatic to Media & Arts (37 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Band Aid:
posted by Brockles at 8:51 AM on July 11, 2012

my first thought was "nothing else matters" by metallica. i have no idea if that footage in the studio is from recording the actual track, though.
posted by virginia_clemm at 8:51 AM on July 11, 2012

- Bon Jovi, "Born to be my Baby"
- Metallica, "Nothing Else Matters"
- Aerosmith, "What It Takes"
posted by DWRoelands at 8:51 AM on July 11, 2012

Not short-form video, but the Director's cut of:

Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii

About 1/3 of it is film of them recording Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:51 AM on July 11, 2012

The studio recording for Radiohead's My Iron Lung was taken from the video Live at the Astoria (with some minor vocal overdubs).
posted by wingless_angel at 8:52 AM on July 11, 2012

Asia's video for "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" has this vibe, but I don't think it's the actual recording of the track.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:53 AM on July 11, 2012

Not quite a direct hit for you, but the music video performance track of Cloisonne by They Might Be Giants ended up on their album, "Album Raises New and Troubling Questions." Ditto Electronic Istanbul. But there is another, different studio version of Cloisonne "Join Us."
posted by whitneyarner at 8:54 AM on July 11, 2012

I'm a cynical bastard who has been around high-profile recording sessions enough times to reject the idea that any music video since maybe some stuff in the 60s and 70s has ever showed the actual recording session for a song. But there are lots that pretend to.

Godard's film of the Rolling Stones writing and recording Sympathy For The Devil is probably about as real as you're going to get, but it's not a music video. Likewise, the Metallica film "Some Kind of Monster" documents the recording of the album, and there are other films like it out there.

But actual music videos off the top of my head? Here are just a few:

Who Are You?
You're Gonna Lose That Girl
What It Takes

And there's a whole bunch of Radiohead live-in-the-studio stuff, too. Here's Bodysnatchers.
posted by The World Famous at 8:55 AM on July 11, 2012

Also, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's video for "One Sweet Day" is all studio footage.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:55 AM on July 11, 2012

Awesome responses everyone, thanks... I'll keep checking this thread through the day.
posted by crapmatic at 9:03 AM on July 11, 2012

Also, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's video for "One Sweet Day" is all studio footage.

I'm kind of ashamed that I know this, but the reason for this is that it wasn't going to be possible to shoot a proper video due to busy schedules. That suggests that a good place to look for other videos like this is other one-off collaborations like this one.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2012

Queen's Somebody to Love seems to be half studio, half concert.
posted by cali59 at 9:30 AM on July 11, 2012

Lookin Down the Barrel of a Gun by the Beastie Boys. I remember from the video DVD commentary that it was (I think) Mike D's girlfriend/wife Tamra Davis video taping them as they recorded the song.
posted by bleep at 9:33 AM on July 11, 2012

Maybe Judith by A Perfect Circle? Possibly Gave Up by Nine Inch Nails?

although I'm pretty sure Marilyn Manson is only pretending to play the guitar in that video
posted by King Bee at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rush: Tom Sawyer
posted by davebush at 9:39 AM on July 11, 2012

I'm a cynical bastard who has been around high-profile recording sessions enough times to reject the idea that any music video since maybe some stuff in the 60s and 70s has ever showed the actual recording session for a song.

Same here. You’re trying to accomplish two different things, often incompatible, at the same time.
posted by bongo_x at 10:02 AM on July 11, 2012

Beatles - Hey Bulldog (actual film of the recording, film scraps which were edited and synced only a few years ago, about 75% is there, official Apple video)

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse - Body and Soul (the raw studio video but a few vocal repairs were done after filming)

Roy Orbison - Walk On (most is real, some is lipsync just for a different camera angle, and about as low budget a "concept video" as there can be)
posted by caclwmr4 at 10:07 AM on July 11, 2012

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse - Body and Soul (the raw studio video but a few vocal repairs were done after filming)

What source suggests that that is the actual performance on the recording? I don't buy that they recorded their vocal parts simultaneously in one continuous take in the same room with no pop filters or sound isolation between the mics. And I don't buy that the producer used the same model of mic for both of their distinctive voices. I could be wrong, but I'd like to see a source.
posted by The World Famous at 10:11 AM on July 11, 2012

The source is Amy couldn't stand up straight for more than 3 minutes!!!, so that film is it and is apparently her last "professional" filming. She couldn't lip sync to her live adlibs. One-video-take Amy.

I don't have a more authoritative source. I don't think anyone anywhere has asked. The whole Tony Bennett Duets II album, with all participating vocalists, was taped like that to make a PBS special and DVD. They did not all lipsync, they recorded and filmed live and made a very few vocal repairs for the CD and DVD soundtrack.
posted by caclwmr4 at 10:23 AM on July 11, 2012

Is that the same one where Lady Gaga is walking around the room, not singing into the mic at all at times, switching mics, and swinging around a drink that is in her hand sometimes and then disappears when the camera angle changes?
posted by The World Famous at 10:36 AM on July 11, 2012


(I honestly don't know if that's the same album or set of sessions as the Amy Winehouse one, but it's clearly a lip sync.)
posted by The World Famous at 10:37 AM on July 11, 2012

Almost certainly fake, but very entertaining: Rolling Stones, Far Away Eyes
posted by neroli at 11:11 AM on July 11, 2012

I don't have any suggestions, but I will mention I'm 99% sure that Rush's Limelight video was a post-recording video, as I remember reading that Neil Peart spent a few days practicing getting his drum motions accurate to the original track.
posted by Davidicus at 11:23 AM on July 11, 2012

Different but kinda similar is the video for Last Night by The Strokes. The band thought the concept for the video was lame and only agreed to do if they could perform it live. The audio you hear isn't the studio track but them performing it live on the video (note the drummer messing up when the mic stand tips over at 2:15). Other than that, it's pretty close to the studio track.
posted by VTX at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2012

I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that all of the Pomplamoose video's are their actual recorded performances. Even if not, they are certainly a lot of fun to watch. If you haven't seen any of them before, find some of their stuff from a couple of years ago, like their cover of Single Ladies.
posted by markblasco at 12:03 PM on July 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

What I do know is that each song on Tony's Duets II was recorded live in one take, each song done in a single day whenever the artists and studios and producer could match their schedules. For each song there was a "rehearsal" then a "real" take or two, all filmed and recorded. What look like lip syncs on the videos are just cuts by the director between the one or two or three filmed takes to match the final polished audio version. How can I put this a second time: Tony and his duet partner for each individual song did all of their vocals on the same one day, live, together as a "duet", within minutes, probably one hour or less total per song, and everything they did was filmed. Then, over weeks and months, each final audio track was edited, mixed and polished, then the available video was cut to the track, not always perfectly regarding sync. Yes, those are the mics with no visible pop or separation screens. This project was intended for video and intended to show being "live in studio".

The Lady Gaga duet is from the same project. Other videos from the project officially available on youtube:
Tony Bennett & K.D. Lang - Blue Velvet
Tony Bennett & Faith Hill - The Way You Look Tonight
Tony Bennett & John Mayer - One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Tony Bennett & Josh Groban - This Is All I Ask
Tony Bennett & Aretha Franklin - How Do You Keep The Music Playing

So, although these available videos may not all be completely through exactly all live in studio, what you are hearing is always live in studio, and all video seen is always live in the studio but possibly a cut-in from a different take recorded minutes earlier or later. Again: nothing seen is a lipsync, but is possibly video from a different live vocal take than the one being heard. Is that good enough for a video, for this topic?

All this also implies that there are one or two or three complete full live unpolished unedited video takes, complete on several cameras, for each of these songs, which exist somewhere.

Here are two stories about the Amy Winehouse video which have some background, and the press release. 1 2 and official press release.

This may be the most about Tony Bennett songs ever in a comment here, but I guess he is worth it.
posted by caclwmr4 at 12:04 PM on July 11, 2012

This video appears to be a recording of the exact version of "King Harvest" that The Band released on their second, self-titled album, and it's one of my favorite videos ever, for that reason alone.
posted by newfers at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2012

The Zombies — Breathe Out, Breathe In
posted by John Cohen at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2012

I'm not saying you're wrong, caclwmr4, particularly since you seem to have a ton of firsthand insider knowledge about the sessions. But I've been involved in studio vocal production and editing at that level, and I have an incredibly hard time believing it. On the other hand, some of those tracks are so thoroughly manipulated sounding that maybe there's so much implied in "over weeks and months, each final audio track was edited, mixed and polished" that it's all technically correct. I mean, months worth of editing, including editing in of a studio singer's voice, would explain how the GaGa track sounds in spite of her jumping around and moving between two different mics while she's singing.

Do you care to share how you came upon your knowledge of the project, or are you just believing what the press release says?
posted by The World Famous at 2:20 PM on July 11, 2012

I am in infrequent contact with someone who worked on the audio officially. I do not want to say more here - what I wrote here summarizes what I understand, because I asked, because I was interested, for several reasons, before release. It's my interpretation of a second hand or even third hand source, who was not present at the sessions but who has heard or had official access to all of the audio and some or all of the video, and what I have seen or heard myself that is released. So, I do not have a "ton" of insider info about it, but maybe a little, due to my own interest.

They had overhead mics too, that aren't seen in the released videos afaik. The singers could have been wearing hidden wireless mics too, they were always available. I know there were several simultaneous vocal tracks from different mics to work with. Like, I do not know this specifically, there could have been three or four tracks just for Gaga's voice. They had exactly one Union day for each singer and they were more redundant than usual. They were making both a TV special/documentary and the audio album and had the equipment and staff for both, scattered all over time and space, in differing studios, all in a rush on any operating day. It wasn't always pleasant for the production team(s) and I have said too much!
posted by caclwmr4 at 3:54 PM on July 11, 2012

caclwmr4, I have to say that it's very generous and patient of you to share that information. Ii hope I didn't come across as a jerk by asking. I believe you now, if that matters. Thanks!
posted by The World Famous at 4:09 PM on July 11, 2012

A lot of the stuff heard in this "making of" One Vision video (by Queen) ended up on the final mix.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:25 PM on July 11, 2012

You're welcome. If you hadn't asked/challenged me, I wouldn't have written it out. I do kinda wish that I didn't now...and I didn't mean to change the subject of this thread, it's a good subject.
posted by caclwmr4 at 11:40 PM on July 11, 2012

It looks like there's some of this in the video for the Smashing Pumpkin's Untitled, but even when the music and performances line up, I don't know if those are the actual takes.
posted by erikgrande at 2:44 PM on July 13, 2012

Urge Overkill - The Break (obviously not really the recording session, but cool anyway)

Queens of the Stone Age in the studio
posted by The World Famous at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2012

"Untitled" by Killer Mike just dropped, and it's friggin amazing.
posted by General Malaise at 5:46 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

New Order -- The Perfect Kiss.
posted by beatnik808 at 2:21 PM on July 31, 2012

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