The Lost Chords: Mary Poppins
Mini-Documentary

The Lost Chords: The Aristocats
“My Way’s the Highway”

The Lost Chords: Sleeping Beauty
“It Happens I Have a Picture”

Jim Dooley and Randy Crenshaw
Performing “Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” Song for SCL


The Johnny Mann Singers
K-Earth 101 Jingle Session – (Vocals)

 
The Lost Chords: Sleeping Beauty
“Evil Evil”

The Lost Chords: Mary Poppins
“Admiral Boom”

The Lost Chords: Pinocchio
“As I Was Sayin’ to the Duchess”

Just 4 Kicks
“I Get the Neck of the Chicken”


“Weird Al” Yankovic
The Making of “Straight Outta Lynwood” – (Vocals)

 
Here we are, standing in front of the "celebrities" photo wall at the Anaheim Convention Center, taking a break in rehearsals for the first annual Disney fan appreciation event, entitled "D23 Expo". Singer personnel (L to R): Greg Whipple, RC, Beverley Staunton, Clydene Jackson, Gordon Goodwin (music conductor and arranger), Sandie Hall Brooks, Rick Logan (fearless vocal contractor / leader), and Dan Savant (trumpet player / king of payroll).

Here we are, standing in front of the “celebrities” photo wall at the Anaheim Convention Center, taking a break in rehearsals for the first annual Disney fan appreciation event, entitled “D23 Expo”. Singer personnel (L to R): Greg Whipple, RC, Beverley Staunton, Clydene Jackson, Gordon Goodwin (music conductor and arranger), Sandie Hall Brooks, Rick Logan (fearless vocal contractor / leader), and Dan Savant (trumpet player / king of payroll).

Session singer Amick Byram, prolific composer Alf Clausen and Randy Crenshaw after singing an end credits cue for "The Simpsons" at L.A. Sound Gallery, May 2009.

Session singer Amick Byram, prolific composer Alf Clausen and Randy Crenshaw after singing an end credits cue for “The Simpsons” at L.A. Sound Gallery, May 2009.

At the SAG Singers' "Meet The Composer II" event at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills, May 4th, 2009, where we were all honoring composer Marc Shaiman. In the photo (left to right): SAG singers Dylan Gentile, Tonoccus McClain, Randy Crenshaw, John West, and Fletcher Sheridan. The event was a great success and a lovely time was had by all...

At the SAG Singers’ “Meet The Composer II” event at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills, May 4th, 2009, where we were all honoring composer Marc Shaiman. In the photo (left to right): SAG singers Dylan Gentile, Tonoccus McClain, Randy Crenshaw, John West, and Fletcher Sheridan. The event was a great success and a lovely time was had by all…

Here are the singers on "Show Day" (9/11/09), looking all beautiful. We DO clean up pretty decently, don't we? Personnel (L to R): Greg Whipple, RC, Beverley Staunton, Clydene Jackson, Sandie Hall Brooks, Rick Logan.

Here are the singers on “Show Day” (9/11/09), looking all beautiful. We DO clean up pretty decently, don’t we? Personnel (L to R): Greg Whipple, RC, Beverley Staunton, Clydene Jackson, Sandie Hall Brooks, Rick Logan.

At L.A. Sound Gallery, August 2009, Randy perusing chart for "Monty Burns Blues," part of an upcoming "The Simpsons" episode (with session singing legend, Maxine Waters in the background).

At L.A. Sound Gallery, August 2009, Randy perusing chart for “Monty Burns Blues,” part of an upcoming “The Simpsons” episode (with session singing legend, Maxine Waters in the background).

This snapshot was taken in February, '09 at the "Family Guy" offices in L.A., after I sang on a "Family Guy" session. The wooden cut-outs of the "Family Guy" characters are HUGE...

This snapshot was taken in February, ’09 at the “Family Guy” offices in L.A., after I sang on a “Family Guy” session. The wooden cut-outs of the “Family Guy” characters are HUGE…

This is a snapshot of Randy Crenshaw on the mic in 2008 at Nelson Kole's home studio in Woodland Hills, singing for a Princess Cruises industrial session, taken by the fearless engineer, Les Brockmann. As always, RC is impeccably dressed in shorts, flip-flops, and an aloha shirt...

This is a snapshot of Randy Crenshaw on the mic in 2008 at Nelson Kole’s home studio in Woodland Hills, singing for a Princess Cruises industrial session, taken by the fearless engineer, Les Brockmann. As always, RC is impeccably dressed in shorts, flip-flops, and an aloha shirt…

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Congratulations to Steven J. Fisher, the only man with enough chutzpah to attempt the captioning of not one, not two, but all three contest photos on this site… He scores the big trifecta and wins the boxed set of highly coveted CDs by Wahoo Do-Re and Just 4 Kicks!
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Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #1 "Randy AGAIN spreading swine flu by forgetting to sneeze into his sleeve... never mind, he doesn't have any! Do you know where your microphone's been?"

Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #1
“Randy AGAIN spreading swine flu by forgetting to sneeze into his sleeve… never mind, he doesn’t have any! Do you know where your microphone’s been?”

Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #2 "Sign language as a vocal take doesn't quite cut it"... AGAIN PLEASE!"

Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #2
“Sign language as a vocal take doesn’t quite cut it”… AGAIN PLEASE!”

Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #3 "Not only can I look like Brian Wilson, I can sound like him too!"

Randy Crenshaw Photo Gallery Caption Contest #3
“Not only can I look like Brian Wilson, I can sound like him too!”

Here's our hard-working, ultrafunky '50's-'60's oldies group, Daddy Cool, sweatin' it out in a live performance in 2008. Personnel (L to R): Bill New (bass vocal and bongos), Randy Crenshaw (baritone vocal), Craig Copeland (tenor vocal and electric guitar), and Danny Faragher (lead vocal and harmonica).

Here’s our hard-working, ultrafunky ’50’s-’60’s oldies group, Daddy Cool, sweatin’ it out in a live performance in 2008. Personnel (L to R): Bill New (bass vocal and bongos), Randy Crenshaw (baritone vocal), Craig Copeland (tenor vocal and electric guitar), and Danny Faragher (lead vocal and harmonica).

Randy Crenshaw and David Benson, who was the co-producer of Barry Manilow's "Greatest Songs of the 60s" album project. This snapshot was taken back in 2007 in the control room at Capitol Records, Studio A in Hollywood during a break in the vocal sessions for that album. David REALLY got into the 60s vibe, as you can tell by the John Lennon-type sunglasses and vest he's wearing...

Randy Crenshaw and David Benson, who was the co-producer of Barry Manilow’s “Greatest Songs of the 60s” album project. This snapshot was taken back in 2007 in the control room at Capitol Records, Studio A in Hollywood during a break in the vocal sessions for that album. David REALLY got into the 60s vibe, as you can tell by the John Lennon-type sunglasses and vest he’s wearing…

David Byrne's 'The Forest' concerts. This photo of David's vocal group was taken inside the Seattle Space Needle while we were up in Seattle for concerts with the Seattle Symphony in 1991. Personnel are (L to R): Randy Crenshaw, Susie Stevens, Mary Hylan, Scottie Haskell, Tampa Lann Murphy, Bill New (hidden behind David Joyce), David Joyce, Andy Waterman, Bob Joyce.

David Byrne’s ‘The Forest’ concerts. This photo of David’s vocal group was taken inside the Seattle Space Needle while we were up in Seattle for concerts with the Seattle Symphony in 1991. Personnel are (L to R): Randy Crenshaw, Susie Stevens, Mary Hylan, Scottie Haskell, Tampa Lann Murphy, Bill New (hidden behind David Joyce), David Joyce, Andy Waterman, Bob Joyce.

Wow, was I EVER this young? This shot was taken in 1990, with me looking very much like John Oates of Hall & Oates, right?

Wow, was I EVER this young? This shot was taken in 1990, with me looking very much like John Oates of Hall & Oates, right?

Here is the ultra-glamorous Terra Nova fashion photo shoot, a few months later, when we were trying to put together a Terra Nova press kit. Now we definitely look like a West Hollywood motorcycle gang! Watch out, music world... Personnel, left to right: Bill New, bass; Gale Johnson, soprano; Barbara Bentree, alto; Randy Crenshaw, tenor (and apparent Freddie Mercury wanna-be)...

Here is the ultra-glamorous Terra Nova fashion photo shoot, a few months later, when we were trying to put together a Terra Nova press kit. Now we definitely look like a West Hollywood motorcycle gang! Watch out, music world… Personnel, left to right: Bill New, bass; Gale Johnson, soprano; Barbara Bentree, alto; Randy Crenshaw, tenor (and apparent Freddie Mercury wanna-be)…

Here's me, at an impossibly young age, and minus facial hair, at some LA Jazz Choir event! Circa 1984

Here’s me, at an impossibly young age, and minus facial hair, at some LA Jazz Choir event! Circa 1984

One of the various a cappella vocal groups I've been a member of in L.A., Eight To The Bar. This would have been shortly after my stint in the L.A. Jazz Choir, and several of these singers besides myself were indeed veterans of LAJC. This is us on stage at an At My Place gig in Santa Monica, circa 1985. Personnel, L to R: Stewart Wilson-Turner, Jan Roper, Barbara Bentree, Randy Crenshaw, Bill New, Pam Austin, Gary Rosen, Robin Ehlers. Note the extreme mic-holding hand precision!

One of the various a cappella vocal groups I’ve been a member of in L.A., Eight To The Bar. This would have been shortly after my stint in the L.A. Jazz Choir, and several of these singers besides myself were indeed veterans of LAJC. This is us on stage at an At My Place gig in Santa Monica, circa 1985. Personnel, L to R: Stewart Wilson-Turner, Jan Roper, Barbara Bentree, Randy Crenshaw, Bill New, Pam Austin, Gary Rosen, Robin Ehlers. Note the extreme mic-holding hand precision!

Here is Randy with his lovely wife Linda, both dressed as grumpy old lumberjacks for a Halloween costume party, circa 1985. Note the highly intelligent looks on their faces...

Here is Randy with his lovely wife Linda, both dressed as grumpy old lumberjacks for a Halloween costume party, circa 1985. Note the highly intelligent looks on their faces…

Nice "corporate" image of me in coat and tie (11/08)

Nice “corporate” image of me in coat and tie (11/08)

Ultra-serious "headshot", for back-of-my-novel photo (11/08)

Ultra-serious “headshot”, for back-of-my-novel photo (11/08)

Daddy Cool, rockin' the house at the Silent Valley Club, 8/22/09

Daddy Cool, rockin’ the house at the Silent Valley Club, 8/22/09

After a session for Tokyo Disney Sea, probably done back around 2000. The composers were the late Buddy Baker (famous for all of his work for Disney in the '50's and '60's) and the late Shirley Walker. Personnel (L to R): Walt Harrah, Donna Davidson Medine, Sally Stevens, Gene Merlino (vocal contractor), Shirley Walker (composer), Randy Crenshaw, Bob Joyce, Melissa MacKay and Angie Jaree.

After a session for Tokyo Disney Sea, probably done back around 2000. The composers were the late Buddy Baker (famous for all of his work for Disney in the ’50’s and ’60’s) and the late Shirley Walker. | Personnel (L to R): Walt Harrah, Donna Davidson Medine, Sally Stevens, Gene Merlino (vocal contractor), Shirley Walker (composer), Randy Crenshaw, Bob Joyce, Melissa MacKay and Angie Jaree.

David Byrne's 'The Forest', pre-concert in Saratoga, CA, summer, 1991. Personnel are (L to R): Scottie Haskell, Darlene Koldenhoven, Bob Joyce (front), Randy Crenshaw, David Byrne, Bobbi Page, Bill New, David Joyce, Mary Hylan and the orchestra conductor (please e-mail us if you know his name)

David Byrne’s ‘The Forest’, pre-concert in Saratoga, CA, summer, 1991. Personnel are (L to R): Scottie Haskell, Darlene Koldenhoven, Bob Joyce (front), Randy Crenshaw, David Byrne, Bobbi Page, Bill New, David Joyce, Mary Hylan and the orchestra conductor (please e-mail us if you know his name)

This photo is Terra Nova, Randy Crenshaw's a cappella vocal jazz quartet, live on stage at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in summer, 1986. Personnel, left to right: Bill New, bass; Gale Johnson, soprano; Barbara Bentree, alto; Randy Crenshaw, tenor (mostly obscured!)...

This photo is Terra Nova, Randy Crenshaw’s a cappella vocal jazz quartet, live on stage at the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in summer, 1986. Personnel, left to right: Bill New, bass; Gale Johnson, soprano; Barbara Bentree, alto; Randy Crenshaw, tenor (mostly obscured!)…

This is an old publicity B&W photo of our barbershop quartet, taken in 1987. There's the baby-faced me at the far left, along with fellow barbershoppers (from L to R) Ken Neufeld (peeking out of the phone booth), Bill New, and Kevin Dalbey, on board the deck of the Queen Mary down in Long Beach Harbor. During our barbershop singing gigs there, we would stroll along the deck, serenading unsuspecting passers-by. Kind of "drive-by barbershopping", if you will...

This is an old publicity B&W photo of our barbershop quartet, taken in 1987. There’s the baby-faced me at the far left, along with fellow barbershoppers (from L to R) Ken Neufeld (peeking out of the phone booth), Bill New, and Kevin Dalbey, on board the deck of the Queen Mary down in Long Beach Harbor. During our barbershop singing gigs there, we would stroll along the deck, serenading unsuspecting passers-by. Kind of “drive-by barbershopping”, if you will…

Stand aside, all evil-doers! I am Pineapple Man, defender of all tropical fruits... Circa 1984

Stand aside, all evil-doers! I am Pineapple Man, defender of all tropical fruits… Circa 1984

Here's Eight To The Bar, posing before a live gig, circa 1985; probably at Fellini's, a great little Italian restaurant and club on Melrose in L.A. which has, sadly, been gone for many years. We used to cram all eight of us onto their tiny little stage and sing, with our sole pay being a meal provided by Fellini's (not a bad deal when you're a starving young singer!)... Personnel, L to R: Gary Rosen, Randy Crenshaw, Stewart Wilson-Turner, Bill New, Robin Ehlers, Barbara Bentree, Jan Roper, Pam Austin.

Here’s Eight To The Bar, posing before a live gig, circa 1985; probably at Fellini’s, a great little Italian restaurant and club on Melrose in L.A. which has, sadly, been gone for many years. We used to cram all eight of us onto their tiny little stage and sing, with our sole pay being a meal provided by Fellini’s (not a bad deal when you’re a starving young singer!)… | Personnel, L to R: Gary Rosen, Randy Crenshaw, Stewart Wilson-Turner, Bill New, Robin Ehlers, Barbara Bentree, Jan Roper, Pam Austin.

Randy at a party with various L.A. Jazz Choir alums, circa 1986. Kind of looks like a Charles Manson family reunion, with RC as Charlie himself. Personnel, L to R: Gale Johnson, RC, Pam Austin, back of Linda Crenshaw's head.

Randy at a party with various L.A. Jazz Choir alums, circa 1986. Kind of looks like a Charles Manson family reunion, with RC as Charlie himself. Personnel, L to R: Gale Johnson, RC, Pam Austin, back of Linda Crenshaw’s head.

"Artist-in-residence"; artsy turtleneck composer look (11/08)

“Artist-in-residence”; artsy turtleneck composer look (11/08)

Friendly, slightly bemused-looking man in bowling shirt (11/08)

Friendly, slightly bemused-looking man in bowling shirt (11/08)

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Randy Crenshaw’s True, Tall Tales…

When I first came to town in the mid-’80’s, I was hired to sing on a Ray Conniff album. I didn’t really know what to expect from Ray, having only heard his records on my grandparents’ stereo, or maybe on easy-listening radio. When I arrived at the recording studio and actually saw him, my first shock was that he was wearing a rather obvious wig on his head! It was a gray-haired Prince Valiant-looking one; sort of a “bowl cut” that looked kind of like a leftover from the Beatles mop-top days, or maybe the Little Dutch Boy; except, of course, that the wig hair was all gray with Ray…

My second surprise was that he made all of us singers do a long rehearsal BEFORE the actual recording session started. I thought with pro session singers, you always just jumped in and sightread through the music, but apparently that wasn’t the way Ray Conniff did things. He had all of the women sitting in one row of chairs, and then all of the men sitting in another row of chairs directly behind them. It kind of felt like being in Mrs. Nelson’s third-grade classroom to me…

My third surprise was that Ray was pretty well deaf by this time in his life. As he ran the rehearsal, he was constantly asking the singers to repeat sections they had already sung correctly, apparently in hopes that by listening to it again, he could somehow hear it better the second time around.

I was singing top tenor on this session (this alone will tell you how long ago the session was!), and we came to a men’s soli section in one chart where I had a high B flat to sing, forte. Ray listened to the men singing, then asked, “Who’s singing the top B flat? I can’t hear it!” I told him that I was singing it, and he told me I wasn’t singing it nearly loud enough. We went back through the same section again, and I really sang it out. He complained again that he still couldn’t hear the high B flat loud enough. This time he walked directly over in front of me and leaned over towards me, cupping his ear with his hand. The women sitting in front of me giggled.

I thought to myself, “Alright, that’s it. He wants loud? I’ll GIVE him loud!”… So this time, I just rared back and hollered that high B flat, probably as loud as I’ve ever sung a note in my life. It was so loud that everyone in the men’s row, as well as all of the women in the front row, instantly doubled over with laughter, holding their ears and shaking their heads. “There,” I thought. “How’s he like THAT loud?”

Ray never reacted at all. He just kind of stood there, looking around at the collapsing singers… It was obvious that he still hadn’t really heard the note as loudly as he wanted to, but I think he also may have realized that it had just about destroyed the other singers in the room, judging from their reactions. He couldn’t really ask for another run-through of the same section without looking even more foolish, so he had us all take a break, and he kind of wandered off, looking confused…

True story…

 

WE LOVE THESE KINDS OF SESSIONS!

Most group vocal recording sessions for singers follow a somewhat similar script. But every once in a while, you’ll get called for something that is completely different! That’s what makes our business so…interesting!

Some years back, I was called by an arranger friend, who asked if I could sing group vocals for a song demo session. Normally, a song demo session entails you coming in and singing the lead vocal on a song, as well as singing any background vocals that might be needed. On this session, though, he told me, “You’re gonna be singing group vocals only; but in a BIG group. 24 singers!” “24 singers?” I said. “What’s it for? A film score?” “Nah,” he said, “this is for one song, which will be a finished master recording; full rhythm section, orchestra, and full choir.” “Wow! Count me in,” said I.

So on the appointed evening and time, I showed up at one of the major recording studios in Hollywood, and a bunch of the top session singers in town also arrived. We soon started working on recording the chart at hand, which was of an original song, written by a guy none of us had ever heard of… It was a nice, but unremarkable ballad, extolling the many virtues of Boston, MA. Having lived in Boston myself for a few years while attending music school, I had somewhat different memories about the town (like “Car Theft Capital of the World”!), but oh well, I thought: it’s his money… The song was beautifully arranged and recorded, with all the best session players on the track.

We were booked for a 3-hour recording session, and one of the unusual things about this gig was that we were being paid cash for the date, by the songwriter himself. At the end of three hours, we had recorded a very nice version of the song, and as we were leaving the studio, the songwriter’s chauffeur (the songwriter had been driven to the session in a long black limousine) was handing everyone envelopes full of crisp new one-hundred-dollar bills. Turned out the songwriter was a multi-millionaire who had made his millions by a) developing the game “Hooked on Phonics”, and then selling the rights to the game, and b) being the syndicator of the then-hugely-popular “Dr. Laura” call-in radio advice show!

So, cut to a few days later… We were contacted by the arranger, who told us that the songwriter needed to change a couple of lines in his song. Could we come back in that night for a quick fix-it session, for several hundred more dollars in cash? You betcha!

At the session, things were going kind of slowly, due to technical problems. After the allotted session time was over, there was still more singing to be done. The songwriter came out into the room and somewhat apologetically asked if we might possibly stick around and sing for a little bit longer, in exchange for being paid several hundred more dollars cash apiece. Yes, we could, everyone decided quickly!

After about 20 minutes more singing, we left the session, having each been paid multiple hundreds of dollars in cash just to re-sing two or three lines in the song…

This same scenario then happened one more time, this time just before Christmas. So, in addition to being paid several hundred more dollars in cash, this time we were all handed expensive gift-wrapped boxes of chocolates and bottles of expensive champagne as we left the session.

You know, a person could really get used to working under these kinds of conditions!

 

The following two stories were originally included in a collection of music business true tales entitled “Music Horror Stories,” edited by Janet Fisher.

 

SINGING AT THE FUNERAL

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I did anything and everything even vaguely related to music, in order to try and earn enough money to live. For a while, I did “singing telegrams” for a company called Eastern Onion (Get it? Pun on “Western Union”? Har-de-har-har!) I would show up at some poor unsuspecting victim’s office, or the front door of their home, and blast them with an a cappella vocal solo performance of whatever song the client had paid me to sing to them. Sometimes it was just an innocent version of “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Anniversary”, or a favorite love song, but more often, it was some weird “specialty” lyrics which had been written and set to one of those famous tunes, with varying degrees of success… Imagine me appearing at a high-powered downtown L.A. law office to loudly sing, for one of the senior partners there, a lovely parody-lyric version of “Happy Birthday” entitled “Happy Divorce Settlement”. Good times…

I even got hired to play “Taps” on trumpet or bugle for former military members who had died, as well as sing for funerals and memorial services. My most unforgettable moment occurred during one funeral service at a very-well-known cemetery and memorial park in the Hollywood hills.

A little old lady, a friend of the family, had been asked to sing the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, one of the favorite songs of the dearly departed. I had been hired to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” immediately after that, with organ accompaniment. She quavered her way through the entire song reasonably well, until, at the big finale, she got a bit confused on the lyrics. She sang, with all of the pathos she could muster, “You’ll ne…ver…walk…(big pause)…AGAIN!”

Some in the elderly listening audience gasped. Her statement WAS technically true. Naturally, it struck me as being quite funny, and both the organist and I began doing that peculiar snorting, coughing sound that people do when they’re not supposed to be laughing at a solemn event…but ARE. Then we started hearing other people amongst the mourners beginning to make similar “camouflaged laughter” sounds.

The organist, behind a little scrim which stood between the mourners and the two of us, was now laughing so hard that he had actually fallen off the organ bench. After trying to gather his composure, he played the introduction to “The Lord’s Prayer” (one-handed, while collapsed over with laughter!), and I attempted to launch into singing the song. I was so incapacitated by this time, though, that every line of the song was interrupted by my shaking guffaws. I tried several times to begin singing, but for the only time in my professional life, I literally could not finish the song. I finally gave up and snuck out of a side door of the little chapel, fearing certain horrible consequences. I didn’t need to worry, though; the next day, the person who usually called to hire me left me a very loud and jovial voicemail message in which he laughed about the incident, saying the whole incident was already becoming legendary amongst the other employees…

 

THINKING BY COMMITTEE

In my career as a session singer, I’ve experienced getting LOTS of stupid direction from producers. One of the dumbest moments, though, happened some years ago.

A group of eight of us had been hired to sing on a television commercial, doing a rewritten version of the song “The Wells Fargo Wagon” from the musical The Music Man. The client was a huge, well-known amusement park located in Anaheim, CA. They were planning a fall promotion entitled “The State Fair At ___________” and the song’s original lyrics had been changed to ones which now talked glowingly about all the special fall activities happening in the park. While the song was going on in the commercial, the TV viewer would see, among other things, a brief snippet of a greased pig race (always a popular event at state fairs, apparently). Behind this footage we were supposed to be singing “Oink, oink, oink, oink…”

We sang. Then we waited for comments from the assembled ad agency and client reps in the booth. There was a long pause, during which we could see an extremely animated conversation taking place on the other side of the glass, complete with emphatic hand gestures, etc. This went on for quite a while. So long, in fact, that the vocal contractor told us all to “take a ten” (i.e., go on a 10-minute break) while he figured out what could possibly be taking this long.

When we returned from our break, they were still arguing among themselves in the booth. Finally, a junior ad agency rep came over the intercom from the booth, and said, “Mmmm…our clients feel that the four oinks don’t quite read ‘pig’ to us…”

After that came a moment of stunned silence from us, during which time we were all trying to decide whether to burst out guffawing at this ridiculous remark, or to try and take it seriously. The sour look on the vocal contractor’s face, though, told us this must be serious.

The rep continued, “There needs to be exhilaration in your delivery, because, as a pig, you’re so excited to be racing with all the other pigs, yet at the same time, anxiety, because, of course, only one of you can win the race!” “Um-HMMM,” we all nodded, looking as serious as we could…

Thus began a 45-minute debacle in which we attempted to sing the oinks in question in every conceivable style. We sang high-pitched oinks… “Too scared-sounding,” said the reps. We sang low-pitched oinks… “Too much like Mafia guys.” We sang oinks in octaves… “Too polished-sounding.” We did spoken oinks… “Too casual-sounding.” At last, having long since squeezed any possible meaning completely out of the phrase, we recorded it to the satisfaction of all the inhabitants of the control room.

All this for a two-second-long bit of an otherwise completely unremarkable television commercial… This is a great example of how clueless people justify their salaries. Welcome to the music business!

 

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