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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 02 August 2022 at 6:38pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

These versions are a real mess. I'm going to attempt to sort all of these out... Give me a day or two...

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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 02 August 2022 at 9:16pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

I'll give the conclusion first: there are a boatload of different versions out there. What are the definitive versions? I'm leaning toward the UK 7" and the UK 12" versions, but that's just my preference.

The US versions are totally bonkers compared to the UK versions. (Different speeds, weird edits.)

I'm sure that this post will raise more questions than it answers, but here goes...

Intro

Ends with the first downbeat of the first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal, sorta).

The longest intro is 92 beats long. It breaks down sequentially as follows:
  • A 4-beat sequence (with an accent in the right channel on the opening beat)
  • Seven repetitions of an 8-beat sequence (each with the three tom-toms starting between beats "5" and "6" and ending on beat "7"), the first repetition also includes the opening accent in the right channel
  • A 4-beat drum fill
  • Three more repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • Another 4-beat drum fill
This 92-beat intro is found on:
  • LP version and 12 inch slow version - 0:00 to 0:40
  • 12 inch fast version - 0:00 to 0:39
For beat-matching in clubs, DJs prefer to work in 32-beat counts wherever possible. The 92-beat intro from the 1978 releases was difficult to work with, so in relative recent times (well after the '70s), Ben Liebrand re-edited the intro to be 96 beats long, as follows:
  • Seven repetitions of an 8-beat sequence (each with the three tom-toms starting between beats "5" and "6" and ending on beat "7")
  • The 4-beat drum fill
  • Four more repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • Another 4-beat drum fill
The 96-beat intro doesn't exist on vintage Amii Stewart releases.

The UK 45 and UK 12 inch single use the last 28 beats of the 92-beat intro, as follows:
  • Three repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • The 4-beat drum fill
The 28-beat intro is found on:
  • UK 45 version - 0:00 to 0:12
  • UK 12 inch single version (Atlantic K 11214 (CT)) - 0:00 to 0:12
The US promo 45 uses the last 27 beats of the 92-beat intro, which I can only assume is an editing error. This version starts on a snare, not a downbeat. Basically, it's the same as the 28-beat intro but with a single beat missing at the beginning. The 27-beat intro is found on:
  • Promo 45 version "disco short" - 0:00 to 0:12
Finally, there's the "flyover" intro, with no beats at all. It's found on:
  • 45 version "short stereo" - 0:00 to 0:05
First two verses

From downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"
All versions have the first two verses as being 272 beats long.

Timing for the first two verses:
  • LP version and 12 inch slow version - 0:40 to 2:38
  • 12 Inch Fast Version - 0:39 to 2:35
  • US 45 version "Short Stereo" - 0:05 to 1:58
  • US promo 45 version "Disco Short" - 0:12 to 2:08
  • UK 45 version and UK 12 inch single - 0:12 to 2:10
  • Ben Liebrand Edit - 0:41 to 2:36
First chorus

Includes several instances of 8-beat portion in which background singers sing "think I better knock knock knock on wood", followed by a 4-beat drum fill
For timing purposes, beat "1" of the 8-beat portion falls on the first "knock" of the three "knocks".

These versions have eight repetitions of the 8-beat portion, following by the 4-beat drum fill:
  • LP version and 12 inch slow version - 2:38 to 3:07
  • 12 inch fast version - 2:35 to 3:05
  • promo 45 version labeled as "Disco Short" - 2:08 to 2:37
These versions have six repetitions of the 8-beat portion, following by the 4-beat drum fill:
  • possibly a pressing of the UK 45 version - 2:10 to 2:32
  • Spain 45 version (and several other countries)
  • UK 12 inch single - 2:10 to 2:30
  • Ben Liebrand Edit - 2:36 to 2:58
These versions have four repetitions of the 8-beat portion, following by the 4-beat drum fill:
  • US 45 version "Short Stereo" - 1:58 to 2:14
  • at least one pressing of the UK 45 version - 2:10 to 2:25
Third verse and second chorus

These versions include 296 beats, from the downbeat following the 4-beat drum fill (at end of first chorus) to the downbeat at which the instrumentation ends abruptly and becomes just the drum beat:
  • LP version and 12 inch slow version - 3:07 to 5:15
  • 12 inch fast version - 3:05 to 5:11
All of the 45 versions (US, US promo, UK) fade before the 296 beats run out.

The UK 12 inch single and the Ben Liebrand Edit each include 416 beats from the end of the 4-beat drum fill (at end of first chorus) to the downbeat at which the instrumentation ends abruptly and becomes just the drum beat. It's found on:
  • UK 12 inch single version - 2:30 to 5:27
  • Ben Liebrand edit - 2:58 to 5:55
Drum beat outro

The UK 12 inch single has a 108-beat outro, as follows:
  • Four repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • The 4-beat drum fill
  • Four repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • The 4-beat drum fill
  • Four repetitions of the 8-beat sequence
  • The 4-beat drum fill
The 108-beat intro ends cold at the end of the third 4-beat drum fill; it doesn't fade. It's found on:
  • UK 12 inch single - 5:27 to 6:13
The Ben Liebrand Edit outro has the same repeating pattern as the UK 12 inch single, but extending a little farther.

This US LP and 12 inch single outro is a literal repeat of the US LP and 12 inch single drumbeat intro, but extending longer to a fade. It's the same pieces of tape, same weird sequence as listed above, etc. The drum beat outro is found on:
  • LP version and 12 inch slow version - 5:15 to 6:12 (fade)
  • 12 inch fast version - 5:11 to 6:07 (fade)
I'll post the mastering info in a day or two. This was not an enjoyable task.

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AndrewChouffi
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 5:07am | IP Logged Quote AndrewChouffi

mjb50 wrote:
It's surely in a major key, so the first
horn notes, which are close to the note "A", surely are
supposed to be exactly "A", not A-flat or B-flat, which
would have a moody/sad feel.

So, in a frequency analysis view, there should be peaks
or bright lines at 220 Hz (A2), 440 (A4), 880 (A5), 1760
(A6), and so on. The center of the hump or line is what
you want to try to get to be at those frequencies.

For example, if you see A4 is actually centered at 433,
divide it into 440 to get ~1.0161, which means it's 1.61%
too slow (by the
A4=440
standard
). To sound as it was recorded, it needs a
speedup of that much, e.g. reinterpret the sample rate as
44813 instead of 44100, and resample back to 44100 (or
use whatever speed adjustment option you prefer).

Anyway, some more research follows.

Knock On Wood: The Anthology contains these
versions (all links go to YouTube):

German
Edit with Intro
(5:38) – as mentioned above; and I
see they've added 'Album' to the YouTube title.

7"
Edit
(3:45) – this has the edited chorus break and
matches v=RyhPqnN5AEw">the UK 45 as played by
humanjukebox45s on YouTube.

Long
Disco Version
(6:20) – has a shortened drum intro,
among other edits, and matches
a German
reissue LP(?)
as played by Søren Jensen on YouTube.
Exactly where this appears on original-era vinyl, I'm not
sure, because on Discogs, all the LPs that don't say 5:39
say 6:13 just like the US LP. But maybe some of them
actually play this?

The European 45s I found on YouTube do not have the
edited chorus break. The exact fade-out point on each one
varies, I'm told, and I noticed it myself, e.g.
the
Spanish 45
ends 4½ seconds earlier than the UK 45,
and the v=712p34DX0sk">The 2nd German 45 ("Original US-Hit
Version")
just keeps on going until 4:30.

I'm wondering if there are some pressings of the UK 45
with the unedited chorus break;
someone
seems to play such a 45
on YouTube, but the
atrocious audio quality makes me wonder if he actually
swapped the audio in from elsewhere.

Thank you for the analysis & education!

Did you ever get a chance to check any of your versions
to
see what's closest to "proper" pitch?

Thanks!

Andy

Edited by AndrewChouffi on 03 August 2022 at 5:11am
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 5:10am | IP Logged Quote AndrewChouffi

To Ron (CrapFromThePast):

Thanks for your UK/US analysis!

Andy

Edited by AndrewChouffi on 03 August 2022 at 5:13am
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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 10:09am | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

The presentation's a little better in this post. If anyone needs the details of the 92-beat and 96-beat intros, they're still posted above.

UK 45 version (about 3:46)

Runs at about 138.1 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 28 beats from 0:00 to 0:12
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:12 to 2:11
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 36 beats from 2:11 to 2:26 (four repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:26 to 3:20
Fade starts 32 beats into second chorus at 3:34
Fade ends at about 3:46

This version appears on PolyGram's Pure Disco (1996), but there's a metallic ringing from about 1:30 onward and severe tape drag. Avoid. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • EMI Australia's 5-CD Seventies Complete Vol. 1 (1997) - same ringing and tape drag; avoid
UK 12 inch version (6:13)

Runs at about 141.2 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 28 beats from 0:00 to 0:12
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:12 to 2:08
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 52 beats from 2:08 to 2:30 (six repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:30 to 3:23
Instrumentation becomes just drumbeat at 5:27
Cold ending at 6:13


US 45 version ("short") (printed 3:40, actual 3:37)

Runs at about 143.8 BPM (according to software)

Intro ["flyover"] - Ends at 0:05
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:05 to 1:59
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 36 beats from 1:59 to 2:14 (four repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:14 to 3:06
Fade starts 48 beats into second chorus at 3:26
Fade ends at about 3:37

This version appears on Varese Sarabande's Then 1 Totally Oldies (2001), where it's taken from vinyl. It has a reasonable EQ, no evidence of severe added noise reduction, and seems to have a little added compression/limiting. It's acceptable on this disc; it's certainly better than not having the US 45 version at all. It runs 143.6 BPM here, according to software.

US promo 45 version ("disco") (printed 3:45, actual 3:58)

Runs at about 141.0 BPM (according to software; assuming that Aaron's version is at correct speed)

Intro [starts with a snare (!), ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 27 beats from 0:00 to 0:12
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:12 to 2:08
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 68 beats from 2:08 to 2:37 (eight repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:37 to 3:29
Fade starts 24 beats into second chorus at 3:40
Fade ends at about 3:58

This version is actually the most common on CD compilations. The version on Rhino's The Disco Years Vol. 3 (1992) runs about 1.9% faster than the promo 45 (assuming that Aaron's recreation is correct speed). The tail of the fade is about 8 beats shorter than Aaron's recreation. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Time-Life's Sounds Of The Seventies '70s Vol. R840-08 Dance Party 1978-1979 (1997) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • Rhino's VH1 8 Track Flashback The One-Hit Wonders (1997) - digital clone
  • Rhino's Millennium New Disco Party (2000) - digital clone, about 1.2 dB louder
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Seventies Music Explosion One-Hit Wonders (2005) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Disco Fever I Love The Nightlife (2006)
US LP version (same as US 12 inch "Slow Disco", also called "Long Disco Slow" in etched runout of 12 inch single) (6:12)

Runs at about 138.8 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 92 beats from 0:00 to 0:40
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:40 to 2:38
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 68 beats from 2:38 to 3:07 (eight repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 3:07 to 4:01
Instrumentation becomes just drumbeat at 5:15
Fade begins at 5:55
Fade ends at 6:12

I don't have the US LP version on CD. The closest I can get is a version that is sped way up (about 3.7% compared to the US LP speed) and faded early (from about 4:43 to 4:50):
  • Warner Special Products/Silver Eagle's 2-CD Dancin' The Night Away (1988)
  • Razor & Tie's 2-CD Disco Fever (1991) - same source tape as Dancin' The Night Away
  • Priority's Mega-Hits Dance Classics Vol. 10 (1991) - same analog transfer as Dancin' The Night Away
US 12 inch "Fast Disco" (also called "Long Disco" in etched runout) (6:07) - is same as US LP version, but sped up by 1.2%

Runs at about 140.8 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 92 beats from 0:00 to 0:39
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:39 to 2:36
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 68 beats from 2:36 to 3:04 (eight repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 3:04 to 3:57
Instrumentation becomes just drumbeat at 5:11
Fade begins at 5:50
Fade ends at 6:07


Ben Liebrand Edit (6:51) - didn't exist in 1978/79

Runs at about 141.5 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 96 beats from 0:00 to 0:41
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:41 to 2:36
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 52 beats from 2:36 to 2:58 (six repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:58 to 3:51
Instrumentation becomes just drumbeat at 5:55
Fade begins at 6:25
Fade ends at 6:51

This version is on the European multi-disc collection Grand 12 Inches Vol. 5 (2008). Sound is very nice here.


Spain (and several other countries) 45 version (about 3:57)

Runs at about 139.1 BPM (according to software)

Intro [ends with downbeat of first instrumentation (with a little synth sound that could sorta pass off as a crash cymbal)] - 28 beats from 0:00 to 0:12
First and second verses [from downbeat of first instrumentation to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 272 beats from 0:12 to 2:10
First chorus [from downbeat of syllable of first "knock" to downbeat at end of 4-beat drum fill] - 36 beats from 2:10 to 2:32 (six repetitions of 8-beat portion followed by 4-beat drum fill)
Third verse [from end of 4-beat drum fill to downbeat of syllable of first "knock"] - 124 beats from 2:32 to 3:26
Fade starts 32 beats into second chorus at 3:40
Fade ends at about 3:57

I have this on Connoisseur Collection UK's 5-CD 100 Dance Hits Of The '70s (1988). Sound is tin and hollow on this CD.


1985 remix

There's no confusing with any of the earlier versions; it sounds like 1985.

I have it on Disky's 8-CD Wow That Was The '70s (1999).

Edited by crapfromthepast on 03 August 2022 at 12:16pm


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davidclark
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 5:03pm | IP Logged Quote davidclark

Good stuff Ron, but there's still that version mjb50 and I mentioned - the Long
Disco Version (6:20) that has made it to at least one CD and a couple of digital
downloads.

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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 5:43pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

I don't know if that version ever existed back in 1978/79.

There have been plenty of modern-day edits of the various versions, like the Ben Liebrand edit I mentioned above.

I verified that all of the versions I listed above really existed on vinyl back then (except the Ben Liebrand edit). I got as far as I could on YouTube videos showing the actual record playing. Not saying that it doesn't exist, but only that I can't confirm that it exists.

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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 7:02pm | IP Logged Quote mjb50

I'm still looking into that 6:20 version. It is definitely on some of the Knock on Wood albums, as I've heard it now on two vinyl LP rips. When it first appeared, though, I don't know.

It is identical to the UK 12" version, just 1.36% slower (comparing the 12" to the Anthology), with a fade ending that goes 5 beats beyond where the UK 12" cuts off.

I'm told by a forum lurker that the Hansa label was notorious for constantly re-editing their product, e.g. releasing four different versions of Boney M. Nightflight to Venus album in 1978 alone.


Edited by mjb50 on 05 August 2022 at 7:16am
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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 7:04pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

Frank Farian was certainly paying attention. There are four different versions of Milli Vanilli's Girl You Know It's True CD.

Edited by crapfromthepast on 03 August 2022 at 7:04pm


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Posted: 03 August 2022 at 11:31pm | IP Logged Quote LunarLaugh

mjb50 wrote:
It's surely in a major key, so the first
horn notes, which are close to the note "A", surely are
supposed to be exactly "A", not A-flat or B-flat, which
would have a moody/sad feel.


Not to nitpick, but it seems you may be confusing "flat"
with "minor". Bb (B-flat) is still a major key so it
would be rather easily placed in to a happy setting
whereas Bm (B-minor) would have more of a more somber or
moody feel comparatively speaking.

Chuck Berry's decidedly bouncy "My Ding-a-Ling" is in the
key of Eb (E-flat), for example. If it were in Em (E-
minor), it'd have a radically different feeling.

Edited by LunarLaugh on 03 August 2022 at 11:32pm


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Posted: 04 August 2022 at 5:37am | IP Logged Quote mjb50

@LunarLaugh, you're absolutely right about the keys. I sure got that wrong. Oh, man, embarrassing! Thanks for the correction.

In my defense, I did have a moment of "wait...is that right?" when I was writing it, but then I was like, "Whatever, I'm sure someone will say something if it isn't."

Now I want to hear "My Ding-a-Ling" in a minor key.

Edited by mjb50 on 04 August 2022 at 5:39am
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Posted: 04 August 2022 at 7:22am | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

In the late '80s, Dr. Demento used to play a Chuck Berry parody by Steve Layland & the Ruined Choir called "Johnny B Minor", which is "Johnny B Goode" played in a minor key.

As long as I don't have to sit through "My Ding-A-Ling" ever again... (Just my opinion. Others may insist that "My Ding-A-Ling" is the greatest pop song of all time.)

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Posted: 04 August 2022 at 8:50am | IP Logged Quote LunarLaugh

crapfromthepast wrote:
In the late '80s, Dr. Demento
used to play a Chuck Berry parody by Steve Layland & the
Ruined Choir called "Johnny B Minor", which is "Johnny B
Goode" played in a minor key.

As long as I don't have to sit through "My Ding-A-Ling"
ever again... (Just my opinion. Others may insist that
"My Ding-A-Ling" is the greatest pop song of all time.)


I played "My Ding-A-Ling" to death when I was 10 years
old and thought it was the funniest thing in the world.
Nowadays, the novelty has mostly worn off. Mostly. ;)


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Posted: 05 August 2022 at 10:24am | IP Logged Quote mjb50

To answer the question about the "ideal" speed...

Just looking at the beginning of the song, the closest you can get to the original performance pitch is the regular US 12" (Long Disco) version, which only runs 0.27% slow, not enough to even hear, a difference of only 0.4 BPM, by my counter. (This is based on DjPaulT's rip from 2012; I don't have the actual record to confirm.)

The edited US 12" versions as found on the CDs The Disco Years vol. 3 (which Ron says is an early fade of the US promo 45 "disco" version) and on Pottery Barn Disco (an even earlier fade with 0:29 shaved off the intro) both run 0.66% fast, which I can hear, but just barely; it's not bad. The UK 12" runs about the same speed.

Meanwhile, the US 45 runs 0.79% fast.

Other versions I tested were well outside of this range, usually on the slow side by 1.6% or more.
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Posted: 06 August 2022 at 6:15am | IP Logged Quote AndrewChouffi

mjb50 wrote:
To answer the question about the "ideal"
speed...

Just looking at the beginning of the song, the closest
you can get to the original performance pitch is the
regular US 12" (Long Disco) version, which only runs
0.27% slow, not enough to even hear, a difference of only
0.4 BPM, by my counter. (This is based on DjPaulT's rip
from 2012; I don't have the actual record to confirm.)

The edited US 12" versions as found on the CDs The
Disco Years vol. 3
(which Ron says is an early fade
of the US promo 45 "disco" version) and on Pottery
Barn Disco
(an even earlier fade with 0:29 shaved off
the intro) both run 0.66% fast, which I can hear, but
just barely; it's not bad. The UK 12" runs about the same
speed.

Meanwhile, the US 45 runs 0.79% fast.

Other versions I tested were well outside of this range,
usually on the slow side by 1.6% or more.

Thanks for the info.

So according to your math and Ron's handiwork "Knock On
Wood" from the studio was near 142.67 BPM.

Or is my algebra out-of-whack?

Thanks for the guidance.

Andy
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mjb50
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Joined: 28 April 2021
Location: United States
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Posted: 06 August 2022 at 6:38am | IP Logged Quote mjb50

Yes, that sounds right.

But keep in mind that songs with live drummers, even disco songs, are notoriously variable in tempo. Plus there's sometimes speed variations due to tape drag and edits. What we are reporting is what our counter tells us is the average tempo across the entire song.

Also, these automatic BPM counters don't always agree. I use foo_bpm in foobar2000, and it has a lot of options that can affect what it detects. There's a margin of error compared to whatever Ron uses; my numbers are usually slightly off from his, so I usually don't mention them.



Edited by mjb50 on 06 August 2022 at 6:40am
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