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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 11 August 2020 at 9:23pm | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

It was unavoidable in the summer of 1988. At the time, I thought that even slightly anemic Cheap Trick was better than no Cheap Trick, and I was happy that the band had a hit. In recent years, I've warmed up to it. I had a friend in a cover band that used to play this song at pretty much every show, because people go absolutely bonkers for it. Well, cool.

LP version

The LP version runs 5:37, and runs at about 97.0 or 97.1 BPM throughout with no drift in tempo. Drummer Bun E. Carlos is playing live to a click track.

The LP version first appeared (commercially) on Lap Of Luxury (1988), where it sounds just fine in typical late '80s style. Huge dynamic range, no noise reduction (no loss of high end on the fade), and a slightly harsh EQ that was typical of the mixing style back then. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • The promo CD single, which has an indexing error that effectively lops off the first 0.2 seconds of the song; avoid
  • CBS Special Products' Parliament Platinum Collection (1989) - digital clone; digitally exactly the same level but with added dithering noise; this disc was free with a carton of cigarettes (!)
  • Epic's Greatest Hits (1991) - differently EQ'd digital clone, with a small amount of added compression/limiting, and shortened tail on the fade
  • Sony's Feel The Love (1994) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • Cema's Greatest Hits Of The 80's Vol. 5 Power Ballads (1994)
  • Sony's 2-CD Read The Hits (1994) - differently EQ'd digital clone
  • EMI's 2-CD Mystic Music Presents Red Hot (1998) - sounds extremely close to Greatest Hits, with its added compression/limiting, but shortens the fade even further
  • Sony's 2-CD Essential (2004) - slightly less compression/limiting than Greatest Hits
45 version

It sounds simple enough, but it's not. I tried to reverse-engineer the "Short Version" from the promo CD single, thinking it was just one or two edits and an early fade, but there's a portion of audio in the 45 that doesn't seem to exist in the LP version.

Here are partial editing instructions, using the timings from Lap Of Luxury:

Segment 1
Begins between beats, making it difficult to count beats.
Extends from 0:00 to 4:11.7 of both LP and 45 versions.
Ends on the second snare after the word "you".

Remove 78 beats from 4:11.7 to 4:59.9 of the LP version.

Segment 2
Begins on a snare hit
10 beats long
Ends on a snare hit
Extends from 4:11.7 to 4:17.9 of the 45 version
I can't find this piece of audio in the LP version. Listen at the fourth beat in this segment, at 4:14.2 in the 45 version, how the tamborine hits way before the snare (this is the snare hit before the downbeat; the next snare after this one falls immediately before the line "whatever you want"). I can't find that tamborine hit anywhere in the LP version. (Seeking a second opinion; I will gladly revise these instructions if someone finds it.) Fooey.

Segment 3
Begins on a snare hit, immediately before the line "I'll give to you"
30 beats long
Ends on a snare, on the word "you" in the line "and whatever you want"
Extends from 4:17.9 to 4:36.4 of the 45 version
Extends from 4:59.9 to 5:18.5 of the LP version

Fade
19 beats long
Starts on a downbeat at end of drum fill
Ends on a snare, on the word "you" in the line "and whatever you want"
Extends from 4:24.7 to 4:36.4 of the 45 version
Extends from 5:06.7 to 5:18.5 of the LP version

Your mixdown (if somehow you manage to find segment 2 in the LP version) will run 4:36.4, with edits at 4:11.7 and 4:17.9, and a 19-beat fade from 4:24.7 to 4:36.4. While this will match the "Short Version" on the promo CD single, it's about five seconds shorter than the actual 45. Plus, the promo CD single has that indexing error that cuts off the first 0.2 second of the song. I can't imagine radio stations played the promo CD single on the air in 1988, due to that indexing error. Both the LP ("Long Version") and shorter-than-45 ("Short Version") run at 97.0 or 97.1 BPM throughout, which is the proper speed for the song.

The actual 45 (edit and length) exists on plenty of CDs, none of which reproduce the indexing error of the promo CD single.

The vinyl 45 also runs at 97.0 or 97.1 BPM throughout (confirmed from a 45 playing on a nice turntable in a YouTube video). There are speed errors galore for the 45 version on CD.

The oldest CD I have with the 45 version is Priority's Eighties Greatest Rock Hits Vol. 5 From The Heart (1992). It runs at the right speed and extends out to the full length, but it's mastered too loud and clips a lot. The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Sony's cheapie Keep On Loving You (1993), which sounds kinda lifeless, but also runs at the right speed and extends out to the full length, and lacks the clipping found on the Priority disc
  • Sony's multi-disc Eighties Pop Hits (2001) - digitally exactly 0.5 dB louder than Keep On Loving You, but fades sooner
There's a version on swaitek's promo 50-CD set The A List Disc 41, which matches the Short Version in speed and fade points, restores the missing 0.2 seconds of the intro (yay), and has added noise reduction (boo!) I'm certain that this mastering is from a TM Century disc.

There's a new analog transfer on Rhino's Billboard Top Hits 1988 (1994), which sounds spectacular and runs out to the full length of the 45, but runs about 1.0% too slow (at about 96.1 BPM). The same analog transfer is used on:
  • Time-Life's Sounds Of The Eighties Vol. 10 1988 (1995) - digitally exactly 0.9 dB quieter
  • Time-Life's 2-CD Body Talk Vol. 16 Sweet Nothings (1997) - digitally exactly 1.5 dB quieter
There's still another analog transfer on JCI's Eighteen Rock Classics (1994), which runs too slow (96.4 BPM) and fades about a minute early, during the guitar solo! Avoid. There's even one more disc that uses the same analog transfer and also fades a minute early:
  • Razor & Tie's 2-CD Everything '80s (1995)
Finally, one more new analog transfer on Sony's Forever Pop Vol. 2 (1995), which sounds a little muffled, runs at about the right speed, but fades a second or two early.

What a mess.

My recommendations

For the LP version, if you must own the song on a single-artist disc, Lap Of Luxury (1988) sounds great, but it's really not a very good album. A much better choice for the LP version is Sony's 2-CD Read The Hits (1994), which sounds about the same as Lap Of Luxury, and is probably my favorite CBS-label compilation ever. Yeah, it's that good. Seriously.

For the 45 version, go with Rhino's Billboard Top Hits 1988 (1994) and speed the track up by 1.0%.

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Bellenger1981
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Posted: 18 August 2020 at 5:42pm | IP Logged Quote Bellenger1981

Good catch, Ron! I always thought that the 45 version
was just an edit of the album version. You are correct
about that tambourine hitting before the snare at that
time.

Edited by Bellenger1981 on 18 August 2020 at 5:47pm


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PopArchivist
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Posted: 18 August 2020 at 7:19pm | IP Logged Quote PopArchivist

I agree Jason, I always thought it was an early fade of the album version. Ron has too much time on his hands, but the observations are much appreciated.

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garye
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Posted: 19 August 2020 at 1:53pm | IP Logged Quote garye

My version of "The Flame" comes from "Cheap Trick, The
Epic Archive Volume 3" ties out at 4:40 but fades
earlier at the 4:35 mark.
is this the actual single dub?
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davidclark
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Posted: 19 August 2020 at 9:03pm | IP Logged Quote davidclark

I am trying to listen for that tambourine hit at 4:14.2 in the 45, but I can not
hear it. Indeed my 59-year-old ears have lost much of their ability to hear high
frequencies (sigh...). Perhaps this is why I can not hear it. Can you younger
listeners hear it?

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Bellenger1981
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Posted: 19 August 2020 at 9:30pm | IP Logged Quote Bellenger1981

garye wrote:
My version of "The Flame" comes from
"Cheap Trick, The
Epic Archive Volume 3" ties out at 4:40 but fades
earlier at the 4:35 mark.
is this the actual single dub?

My copy of "The Flame [Single Version]" from the 2019
Real Gone CD issue of "The Epic Archive, Vol. 3" runs
about 4:40, not 4:35. And, yes, it has that tambourine
hit before the snare that Ron pointed out, so I believe
that it is the actual single dub.

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garye
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Posted: 20 August 2020 at 10:47am | IP Logged Quote garye

Bellenger1981 wrote:
garye wrote:
My version of
"The Flame" comes from
"Cheap Trick, The
Epic Archive Volume 3" ties out at 4:40 but fades
earlier at the 4:35 mark.
is this the actual single dub?

My copy of "The Flame [Single Version]" from the 2019
Real Gone CD issue of "The Epic Archive, Vol. 3" runs
about 4:40, not 4:35. And, yes, it has that tambourine
hit before the snare that Ron pointed out, so I
believe
that it is the actual single dub.

Thanks for the clarification!
Sometimes these days you never know what is what when
it comes to these releases!
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eriejwg
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Posted: 20 August 2020 at 11:08am | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

I took Ron's advice and sped up Billboard Top Hits
1988
by 1% and then faded the track from 4:39-4:41.

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BSharp
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Posted: 20 August 2020 at 5:33pm | IP Logged Quote BSharp

garye wrote:
And, yes, it has that tambourine
hit before the snare that Ron pointed out, so I
believe
that it is the actual single dub.


It is (I have that version from the same CD, as well
as the original 45).

The album version annoys me... in the last chorus
before the fade, they flip the first two lines around
so he's singing "Whatever You Want, I'll Give It To
You" BEFORE "Wherever You Go, I'll Be With You". I
love the song in general (even if Cheap Trick
doesn't), but for me it's gotta be the single version
or nothing.
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PopArchivist
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Posted: 15 January 2021 at 10:47pm | IP Logged Quote PopArchivist

garye wrote:
My version of "The Flame" comes from "Cheap Trick, The
Epic Archive Volume 3" ties out at 4:40 but fades
earlier at the 4:35 mark.
is this the actual single dub?


The "short version" on Epic CD Single Promo ESK-1050 ends at 4:36.759 but you said it is missing some seconds Ron. I can't attest to what the 45 has, but based on what Ron says 1988 Billboard runs a few seconds longer and has to be pitched correctly.

I would think the CD promo short version in this instance would be the correct version. If you add the seconds back in, it still ends at 4:37, not 4:40-4:41 I'm confused as to why there is a 5 second difference. Sorry if I am not understanding.

Edited by PopArchivist on 15 January 2021 at 10:59pm


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eriejwg
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 12:07pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

Here is a 45 playing for reference -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wo1zKGtnfE

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eriejwg
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 12:21pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

I just listened to the 45 version on the Epic
Archives
which runs 4:36 according to the db, but fades
earlier than the 45 I linked to in the post above.

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aaronk
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 12:28pm | IP Logged Quote aaronk

Based on what Ron said above, it seems that the LP version and 45 version are different edits of a longer take. There are spots in the LP version where an edit is audible, so that seems plausible. Also, regarding the Billboard disc, not only does the entire song run too slow, but also the first 4-5 seconds run even slower. The song picks up speed at that point, and the pitch seems fairly constant for the remainder.

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eriejwg
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 12:35pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

I didn't speed up the first few seconds of the Billboard
disc only the song itself. So what options are there for a
45 version that runs the proper length, proper pitch, and
doesn't fade early?

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eriejwg
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 12:43pm | IP Logged Quote eriejwg

Now that you mention it, the first few seconds of the
Billboard disc sound like tape drag maybe?

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PopArchivist
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Posted: 16 January 2021 at 2:53pm | IP Logged Quote PopArchivist

eriejwg wrote:
Now that you mention it, the first few seconds of the
Billboard disc sound like tape drag maybe?


Based on Aaron's correct file, the song should run 4:43.

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Posted: 22 January 2021 at 3:40am | IP Logged Quote radiofan16

And now to give everybody a headache, I'm going to make a correction. :)

The 45 can be edited from the LP, there is no mix difference but a simple out
of sequence edit.

The sound you hear at 4:14 on the 45 version is not, I repeat *not* a
tambourin, it is simply an extra note from the Roland D50 synth that appears
throughout the song. This is very obvious if you're listening with headphones,
as it's right there in your left channel. After Robin sings "you" the synth plays
four notes followed by a fifth note and the down beat.

This does appear on the LP version, listen closely at 5:06 seconds and that
extra note is right there, it also appears at 5:16.

So Segment #2 can be made just take 5:02 to 5:06 and paste it.

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Posted: 22 January 2021 at 7:03am | IP Logged Quote aaronk

You're right that the sound is a synth and not a tambourine, but I agree with Ron that the segment in question is unique and not found on the LP version. On the 45 version, the synth note comes noticeably early before the drum hit, and I could not find anywhere in the LP version where that occurs. Every other time that passage is played, the synth and drum are played at the same time. Also, segment 5:02 to 5:06 of the LP version has a different drum pattern/fill that does not match with 4:10 to 4:14 of the 45 version.

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crapfromthepast
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Posted: 22 January 2021 at 8:15am | IP Logged Quote crapfromthepast

Sorry, radiofan16, but I agree with Aaron. The 4:10-4:14 segment of the 45 version is different from the 5:02-5:06 segment of the LP version.

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Posted: 22 January 2021 at 12:07pm | IP Logged Quote PopArchivist

aaronk wrote:
You're right that the sound is a synth and not a tambourine, but I agree with Ron that the segment in question is unique and not found on the LP version. On the 45 version, the synth note comes noticeably early before the drum hit, and I could not find anywhere in the LP version where that occurs. Every other time that passage is played, the synth and drum are played at the same time. Also, segment 5:02 to 5:06 of the LP version has a different drum pattern/fill that does not match with 4:10 to 4:14 of the 45 version.


You are absolutely correct in your assessment sir.

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