Can we start a list of well-known studio recordings that have sloppy drumming in them?

ba dum tish

Member
I don't understand how some drummers let some of their tracks get finalized on studio albums when there are obvious (maybe only to other drummers, but still) mistakes and/or sloppiness. I would cringe every time I heard the track come on the radio if I were the drummer. I haven't heard too many of these, but two that come to mind for me are (I have the songs cued up to where some of the mistakes are):

Better Than Ezra - Good

Black Sabbath - Iron Man

These are minor flub ups of course, but they always bother me when I hear them. That intro to Iron Man with the flams and bass drum going back and forth always stood out as sloppy to me. Maybe I'm just be overly critical, but if I were going to lay down a track on an album, I would do as many takes as it took until I got it perfect. I'm guessing a lot of artists didn't have that luxury back in the day and had to capture it in one take and that's why these mistakes exist on records. But I'd still love to see what other well-known tracks are out there with obvious drum flubs in them.

So let's hear em!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I always thought The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" had sloppy drumming. Don't get me wrong I love the vibe it creates. But if I had to judge the drumming I'd definitely call it sloppy.

The Steve Miller Band's "Living in the USA" has a very noticeable speed up in the first minute or so. But the rest isn't sloppy.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Not a "studio recording", but there's a sequence in the Rush documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage that always makes me grimace. Rush is playing a school auditorium early in their career and the show is being aired on television. After introducing the band, original drummer John Rutsey gets the audience clapping -- and then launches into the tune about 40% faster than the tempo he got everyone clapping. Within seconds the kids are lost, confused, and not looking very thrilled.

"Start Me Up" by the Stones is well-known for a misplaced snare hit at the beginning of the song, on beat one. Now everyone has to do that screw-up when they start the song. Thanks, Charlie Watts.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Drummers, artsist and producers have different standards today than 20+ years ago. So does the listening audience. The bar has been raised for all involved, and it it would be much more difficult to find errors of any kind in more recent recordings, than in the '60-70s in particular. Of course, making sure that tracks were radio-ready was prevalent, and drummers like Hal Blaine and Gary Chester (and Bobby Graham in the UK) often replaced the known drummer in a band. Same for guitar & bass & keyboard players. You would be hard-pressed to find errors in recordings of those bands. Occasionally a happy accident, but rarely did a mistake get through.

It's the self-contained bands where the mistakes are most obvious, and such revered bands like the Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zep and many more are not immune to it, with drummers, the other players, and production/engineering also being culprits.

My favorite and perhaps most egregious drummer mistake ever released is on the Rockin' Rebels track "Wild Weekend", where the drummer inexplicably shifts the beat 1/4 note towards the end of the song, which is then hastily faded out. The snare goes to 1 & 3, the kick to 2 & 4! It's unimaginable that another take wasn't done, but that's how it went out on radio and records! I wonder if that drummer is still alive, and how many times he (and the band and producer) have been asked about why it was released like that!

Bermuda
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I have several issues with "Don't Fear The Reaper"
Anyone who has ever played along with the recording has found them I am sure.
Again, as bermuda pointed out, The standards of the day are not as they are today.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
It's nice to avoid mistakes, & nobody would let them through if there was a ready option, but vibe always trumps a slight error IMO. I'm sure that sometimes, the vibe on the take is that good, that a conscious decision is taken to let it ride. Also, I'm equally sure that sometimes, that take was the best of the day, & they had no choice but to let it slip through the net.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
I like mistakes, or as I like to call them, minor discrepancies. They make the music human and differentiate it from the mainstream of electronic or quantised to hell stuff that we all get bombarded with. If I make a mistake when I'm playing I generally, swear, or laugh, or swear then laugh. If I'm feeling particularly creative, I'll do it again so that everyone will think that I meant to do it in the first place.

Some of my best friends were mistakes!
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
Dunno if one could call it a "mistake", but there is a tiny blip on Dark Side of the Moon that always struck me as inconsistent. On the track Any Colour You Like at about 1'04" Nick Mason clips the hi hat or something and plays something which isn't exactly wrong but stands out as different to the rest of the groove which is pretty straight and ostinato.

It's the only tiny wrinkle in an otherwise faultless record which is quite something considering how much went into it and when it was made.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
It's nice to avoid mistakes, & nobody would let them through if there was a ready option, but vibe always trumps a slight error IMO. I'm sure that sometimes, the vibe on the take is that good, that a conscious decision is taken to let it ride. Also, I'm equally sure that sometimes, that take was the best of the day, & they had no choice but to let it slip through the net.
In terms of 'vibe' recordings, I noticed exactly this in Pink Floyd's 'Money'. There's actually a very small mistake - an accidental rim click - at 4.22 during the descending bass line. I think it's a very fine take by Mr. Mason actually (or sequence of takes, no doubt) but it's one small error that once heard, can never be unheard. It's by no means a sloppy recording and I really like the humanity that is added to an otherwise gargantuan production with just that small error.

In terms of 'sloppy' sounding bands, one of my favourite albums is 'Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables' by the Dead Kennedys. The 'production' (if you can call it that) is outstandingly well-judged for the musical content. I adore that album.

BTC, looks like we both noticed oddities on 'Dark Side of the Moon'. Shows what an analysed record it is!
 

PeteN

Silver Member
I have several issues with "Don't Fear The Reaper"
Anyone who has ever played along with the recording has found them I am sure.
Again, as bermuda pointed out, The standards of the day are not as they are today.
hey bob are you talking about the break where the hi hat comes back in? about 2:34 seconds in
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Metallica's "Dyer's Eve" is a big one for me.
Legend has it that Lars couldn't keep up the constant 16th note double bass throughout the whole song so he would go for maybe 10 seconds, crap out, go for another 10 seconds, rinse and repeat.
This was pre- Pro-tools of course but what really gets me is in the last verse, the double bass starts up, stops completely, then slowly fades back in again!
Not sure if it was because of the way the take was recorded or just a mixing error- either way it seems like something you would notice!
 

rtliquid

Senior Member
Not a "studio recording", but there's a sequence in the Rush documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage that always makes me grimace. Rush is playing a school auditorium early in their career and the show is being aired on television. After introducing the band, original drummer John Rutsey gets the audience clapping -- and then launches into the tune about 40% faster than the tempo he got everyone clapping. Within seconds the kids are lost, confused, and not looking very thrilled.

"Start Me Up" by the Stones is well-known for a misplaced snare hit at the beginning of the song, on beat one. Now everyone has to do that screw-up when they start the song. Thanks, Charlie Watts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
EVERY recording of the Stones.
 

LanceMCA

Member
Everyone is gonna hate me for this... I have to say there is no song in the world where the drumming bothers me more than in "Black Dog"... He nails every other tune, but that song just NEVER sits with me right...
 

Bad Tempered Clavier

Silver Member
In terms of 'vibe' recordings, I noticed exactly this in Pink Floyd's 'Money'. There's actually a very small mistake - an accidental rim click - at 4.22 during the descending bass line [. . .] BTC, looks like we both noticed oddities on 'Dark Side of the Moon'. Shows what an analysed record it is!
Never noticed that before and I, like many many people, have listened to that album a billion times. Good ears, old chap. I guess this is what happened once Abbey Road started serving the round apple pies . . .
 

denisri

Silver Member
Interesting topic. I suspect that if you transcript enough songs....the list would grow rapidly, paticlularly with live or full band single take recordings. Agree that standards are higher these days.
Many of these early 60's recordings had tempo issues. Denis
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
every Who recording from 1965 to 1978

and I love every one of them !
 

Dutch

Senior Member
Of course this can't be a mistake, but every time I listen to Steely Dan's Aja (the song) it sounds like Steve Gadd hits a rim or stick at 4:57. If he doesn't, does anyone here know what that "click" sound is?

Dutch
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Dunno if one could call it a "mistake", but there is a tiny blip on Dark Side of the Moon that always struck me as inconsistent. On the track Any Colour You Like at about 1'04" Nick Mason clips the hi hat or something and plays something which isn't exactly wrong but stands out as different to the rest of the groove which is pretty straight and ostinato.

It's the only tiny wrinkle in an otherwise faultless record which is quite something considering how much went into it and when it was made.
In terms of 'vibe' recordings, I noticed exactly this in Pink Floyd's 'Money'. There's actually a very small mistake - an accidental rim click - at 4.22 during the descending bass line. I think it's a very fine take by Mr. Mason actually (or sequence of takes, no doubt) but it's one small error that once heard, can never be unheard. It's by no means a sloppy recording and I really like the humanity that is added to an otherwise gargantuan production with just that small error.
In both these examples, it sounds like Mason hits his hats on the down stroke and instead of coming back up his stick slipped and he hit the bottom hat on the way back up.

Personally, I love these little discrepancies. They really do make the music more human. If it were to be perfect every time, all any drummer would have to do is play 2 bars of the song and just let the sound engineer loop it over and over again and simply insert some obligatory fills.

Nah, screw ups keep it real.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Of course this can't be a mistake, but every time I listen to Steely Dan's Aja (the song) it sounds like Steve Gadd hits a rim or stick at 4:57. If he doesn't, does anyone here know what that "click" sound is?

Dutch
Just listened to the track. Gadd's groovin' really tight and spot on... and yes, it sounds like he catches a rim (slightly... very slightly). But you right, it is there.

As far as Aja is concerned, I'm still amazed that that song (as for a lot of Steeley Dan) is put together and engineered from components of music that were played separately - amazing!
 
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