Great Moments in Popular Music

And by “moment,” I really mean “moment” — those transient little gestures that make so much difference. For instance, this morning, consider the piano roll-into-chords at the very beginning of the Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” (I love the Stones’ cover version too, but I’m concentrating on the Temps right now). The at the end of first three lines, the piano rolls into supporting chords with a perfect seductive delight that counterbalances the voiced desperation of the lyric — and then that figure disappears from the rest of the song. Once the full arrangement kicks in, the bass (if I’m hearing correctly) strikes the notes of this supporting motif, and the piano recedes into the mix. But those first shimmering rolls are the kind of exquisite moment that I love about this music.
(In the Stones’ arrangement, the piano — Ian Stewart, or Billy Preston, I assume? I don’t have the album cover with liner notes here in Scotland — keeps the supporting motif and stands further forward in the mix. That works for me too.)

1 thought on “Great Moments in Popular Music

  1. yes yes yes!
    I think the feeling which those little gestures evoke are accentuated when you’re the one that gets to play them live.
    Once you’ve been playing with the same ceilidh musicians for a while, spontaneous synchronized syncopations and mid tune modulations are the stuff that the really fun gigs are made of..

    which leads on the the next big question – when is the theology department’s rock and roll cover band’s first gig?

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