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Subject Topic: "All by Myself" - Eric Carmen Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Todd Ireland
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Posted: 14 August 2012 at 9:15pm | IP Logged Quote Todd Ireland

Not long ago, I picked up the various artists CD set Singers And Songwriters 1976-1977 (Time-Life R812-04 and 25915-D) mainly to acquire the rare and hard-to-find LP version of Eric Carmen's "All by Myself" on CD. Something that immediately struck me upon first listen however is a noticeable buzzing noise that plagues the song's softer passages. Out of curiosity, I checked other CDs in my collection containing the 45 version to see if the buzzing is present on those discs:

Billboard Top Hits - 1976 (Rhino 70671)
Ultimate Seventies - 1976 (Time-Life R634-04)
Eric Carmen - The Definitive Collection (Arista 18963)

I don't hear the buzz on any of them, but that's because there's an ample amount of noise reduction applied to the song on those CDs.

Can anyone who has Eric Carmen's self-titled CD on Rhino 71141 (which unfortunately is now out-of-print and even used copies run very expensive) report if the buzzing noise is present on "All by Myself"? Also, has anyone run across a good sounding version of this song anywhere on CD? The sound quality is fairly poor on every disc I've heard to date, but that could just simply be the way the recording was mixed.

Edited by Todd Ireland on 14 August 2012 at 9:25pm
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KentT
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Posted: 16 August 2012 at 5:56am | IP Logged Quote KentT

My 45 single on Flashback does not have the buzz nor my Arista LP of Eric Carmen. This was a difficult record to track. Many lower end cartridges mistracked this LP a lot.

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budaniel
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Posted: 16 August 2012 at 7:50pm | IP Logged Quote budaniel

Just listened to the album version on the Rhino CD and it is very clean--no buzz. But I must say, listening to Eric's version for the first time in over a decade, it's still an amazing song, but I can't help but miss the stunning nuances David Foster brings to the mix in the Celine Dion version (not to mention her stunning vocals). He really took a beautiful thing and made it even more beautiful.
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Todd Ireland
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Posted: 16 August 2012 at 8:47pm | IP Logged Quote Todd Ireland

budaniel:

Can you tell if noise reduction was applied to the song on the Eric Carmen disc?
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Tim Brown
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Posted: 12 August 2014 at 6:38pm | IP Logged Quote Tim Brown

Was there a DJ or promo edit for this Eric Carmen song? If so, I was curious about the edit points. When I listen to the Greatest Hits CD, it seems longer than I remember.
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Yah Shure
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Posted: 12 August 2014 at 9:38pm | IP Logged Quote Yah Shure

Tim Brown wrote:
Was there a DJ or promo edit for this Eric Carmen song? If so, I was curious about the edit points. When I listen to the Greatest Hits CD, it seems longer than I remember.


I have two styrene Columbia Pitman-pressed DJ 45s and two vinyl PRC Compton-pressed stock copies, and they're all the standard 4:22-listed, 4:26-actual 45 length.

Your memory isn't playing tricks on you, Tim. Quite a few of Eric's compilation CDs extend the 45 version from roughly 20-30 seconds beyond the point where the actual 45 fades out.
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Tim Brown
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Posted: 16 August 2014 at 10:58am | IP Logged Quote Tim Brown

Just listened to an old WLS aircheck and heard the version they played. It's about 3:25 in length and eliminates the first "All By Myself" chorus and goes directly to the guitar part. Fits rather nicely. Must have been their own in-house edit.
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sriv94
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Posted: 16 August 2014 at 7:26pm | IP Logged Quote sriv94

Indeed it was an in-house edit.

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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 28 August 2016 at 5:11pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

The LP version is pretty uncommon on CD. The database lists the LP time as 7:10, with most CD appearances running 7:08 or 7:07.

I have the LP version on Time-Life's 2-CD Singers And Songwriters Vol. 4 1976-1977 (2000), where it runs 7:08. The song itself may not be a sonic masterpiece, but on this disc the song sounds fairly vibrant. Nice dynamic range, slightly bright EQ, and most importantly, no evidence of noise reduction. There's a little buzz present throughout the song, and it sounds like no one attempted to cover it up with noise reduction. Listen to the five seconds leading up to the last loud portion, with the volume raised by 20 dB, and admire the tape hiss and slight buzz. Based on the lack of noise reduction, the bright EQ, the track timing, the tendency of Time-Life to base its tracks on previously-released masterings, and the lone prior appearance of this song on CD, I'd bet that this mastering is based on Rhino's release of the Eric Carmen album (Rhino 71141). Can't confirm, though.

The vinyl 45 runs 4:26. It's a single edit and an early fade. Here are editing instructions for recreating the 45 from the LP version, using the timings from Singers And Songwriters Vol. 4 1976-1977:

Segment 1
Extends from 0:00.0 to 3:13.2 of both the LP version and 45 edit

Remove the 3:13.2 to 5:21.1 of the LP version. There's no easy way to describe where these edit points are.

Segment 2
Extends from 5:21.1 to 6:36.2 of the LP version
Extends from 3:13.2 to 4:28.3 of the 45 edit
Ends on the downbeat on the syllable "self"

Fade
16 beats long
Begins and ends on the syllable "self"
Extends from 6:20.3 to 6:36.1 of the LP version
Extends from 4:12.5 to 4:28.3 of the 45 edit.

The 7:10 and 4:26 versions were the only ones released when the song was a hit in 1976.

I'd guess that the 45 source tapes don't sound very good, or possibly didn't even survive into the digital age, because the only versions on CD are recreations of the 45 version (or unsuccessful attempts at doing so). I count five different lengths available on CD, due to the wide variety of attempts at reproducing the 45. Worse, I hear what I think may be noise reduction, or some other drastic EQ that reduces the hum/hiss, but sucks the life out of the recording. I'll document these as best as I can.

If you start with the LP version, edit out the 2:08-long section noted above, and let it play until the end of the LP version without fading early, you'll get a version that runs about 5:00, about 34 seconds longer than the 45 edit. That seems to be the version that's on Razor & Tie's 2-CD Break Up To Make Up (1999; 4:57), where the time difference is mostly due to a minor speed difference. Here, it has a hiss and EQ that matches the Singers And Songwriters disc above, which is good. This leads me to believe that this Break Up To Make Up compilation uses the same analog transfer that's on Rhino's release of the Eric Carmen album (Rhino 71141), which also includes a 4:57 version in addition to the 7:08 LP version. Can't confirm, though.

There's a version running 4:52 on Silver Eagle/MCA's 3-CD Shades Of Love (1989) that doesn't sound great, but seems to have escaped the noise reduction. (See below.)

All the discs mentioned so far have no evidence of noise reduction. Unfortunately, all the discs listed below have some degree of noise reduction or EQ choices that cut down on the tape hiss/hum.

Arista's Eric Carmen Best Of (1988) fades just a little early (compared to running out to the end of the LP version), and clocks in at 4:53. Listen to the five seconds leading up to the last loud portion, with the volume raised by 20 dB, and scowl at the lack of high end and harmonics that this CD drains from the piano notes. Not good. Dynamic range and overall EQ is pretty good, though, but it doesn't fix the noise reduction. The following discs all use the same analog transfer as Best Of, and all suffer from the same noise reduction issue:
  • commercial CD3 single Arista CD3-3021 (1988; slightly shorter fade than Best Of)
  • Time-Life's Sounds Of The Seventies Vol. 4 1976 (1989; digitally identical to commercial CD3 single)
  • Arista's Arista A 15 Year History Of Hits (1991; based on mastering of commercial CD3 single but absolute polarity inverted)
  • Rhino's Billboard Top Hits 1976 (1991)
  • Cema's 2-CD Mellow Gold (1991)
  • Sandstone's Reelin' In The Years Vol. 4 (1991)
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Body Talk Vol. 2 Just For You (1996; differently-EQ'd digital clone of Arista A 15 Year History Of Hits)
Time-Life's AM Gold Vol. 23 1976 (1996) is a differently-EQ'd digital clone of Best Of that fades early from 4:12 to 4:27, and therefore runs 4:27. The fade approximates the fade of the vinyl 45 nicely, but that doesn't fix the noise reduction. There's a digitally identical clone of AM Gold on Time-Life's 2-CD Classic Soft Rock Vol. 4 More Than A Feeling (2006).

Most of the songs on Time-Life's 2-CD Heart Rock (1988) are faded early, including "All By Myself", which runs 4:17 on Heart Rock. Same NR problem as Best Of, too. There's a digital clone of Heart Rock on Madacy's Rock On 1975 (1996; digitally exactly 1.1 dB louder).

Amazingly, there's an even shorter version on Warner Special Products' 2-CD Love Songs (1988), running 4:04, and having the same NR problem as Best Of. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Time-Life's 4-CD Great Love Songs Of The 70's And 80's Vol. 3 Missing You (1991; digitally exactly 0.5 dB quieter)
  • Warner Special Products/Razor & Tie's 2-CD Easy '70s (1993)
  • JCI's Only Love 1975-1979 (1995)
My recommendation for the LP version: I'll recommend the Rhino Eric Carmen disc, or any of the Time-Life discs that include the LP version (likely digital clones of the Rhino disc).

My recommendation for the 45 version: Do your own early fade of Rhino's Eric Carmen disc, any of the Time-Life discs that include the LP version, or on Razor & Tie's 2-CD Break Up To Make Up (1999).

Edited by crapfromthepast on 29 August 2016 at 6:27am


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Tunestony
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 9:58pm | IP Logged Quote Tunestony

Wow, I never noticed the terrible "buzz" on the LP version before, but it's
definitely there on Rhino's Eric Carmen disc. Yet, this seems to be the only
case where noise reduction is NOT used.

I have The Essential Eric Carmen, which I thought sounded pretty good. But,
the version of "All By Myself" definitely has noise reduction on it (there's just
not as much high end).

Also, has anyone noticed the series of pops at the very beginning of every
version on CD - right after when Eric sings "makin' love was just for fun" and
during "those days are gone"? I have an early pressing of the LP that sounds
better than anything on CD. Too bad the master tape has degraded.
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KentT
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Posted: 16 February 2018 at 8:47am | IP Logged Quote KentT

A note: My Arista Flashback 45 of "All By Myself" and
"Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" used the same original
stampers as the worn original 45 RPM singles it replaced.

This example dates to the early 1980's. So, those
original singles master reels likely never got touched
again on many Bell, Amy, Mala, and Arista reissues, I've
seen very few of these reissues which didn't have period
correct stampers used when these singles were originally
pressed. So, hopefully if needed, the job reels (singles
masters spliced together from a release on a 10 1/2"
metal reel are still extant and in good condition) which
is how most major and some minor labels did things.

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eriejwg
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Posted: 17 February 2018 at 3:56pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

Of all his solo songs in the 70's, this really is his
signature song from that time period.

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Tom Daly
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 5:53pm | IP Logged Quote Tom Daly

eriejwg wrote:
Of all his solo songs in the 70's, this really is his
signature song from that time period.


Too bad he stole the melody from Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto No 2 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra" (Opus 18) without giving credit where it was due!

Edited by Tom Daly on 06 March 2018 at 5:55pm
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EdisonLite
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Posted: 29 March 2018 at 12:24pm | IP Logged Quote EdisonLite

According to Eric, he was incorrectly told by his manager that the Rachmaninoff piece was in the Public Domain, which would mean he would be able to use it. After its release, he quickly found out from Rachmaninoff's estate that the piece is NOT in the public domain, so they agreed on a certain percentage the estate would receive, and Rachmininoff was then credited as co-writer for future pressings, IIRC.
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