Eric Clapton question...'Forever Man'???

euler1970

Member
Messages
240
Hello,

This might be a tough question to answer, but, does anyone here know if Eric Clapton's guitar solos on the track 'Forever Man' off of Behind The Sun (1985) are improvised or did Clapton actually work them out prior? He's really 'on fire' with his tone and playing on this track, in my opinion. Great song, too.



Thanks.
 
Messages
1,945
love that solo.one of the examples when Clapton wanted to really solo with balls. IMHO clapton always seems to holdback when there are lots of examples when he's almost on the verge of exploding then he checks himself and holds back instead of rearing back and really soloing.
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,780
It always kind of amazes me that people (in general, not the OP necessarily) don't really seem to understand how making recordings like this actually work.

Let me first say that number 1, Clapton had certainly played over songs so much, that he would already be walking in with a good idea of what would work and what wouldn't, and his solos in this song are some very "typical" licks.

But, FWIW, usually when artists like this record a song, they don't typically play all the parts live in the studio in one take.

They might. But it's rarer in general, especially by the 80s - and especially when you start getting into big production value music (it was an industry) by this point in time.

It's very likely there could have been demos recorded of this song, and multiple takes in the studio, so EC could have had a chance to solo over this a number of times before they made the actual takes.

Furthermore, a lot of times all of the backing tracks will be recorded, and the lead lines put in later - overdubbed.

Also FWIW, this is commonplace with vocals - a "scratch track" is recorded where the vocalist sings (or sometimes, a soloist plays) just so the other musicians can keep their place in the song, then the vocalist comes back and overdubs their part "for real" with later takes. Sometimes they get a great first take, sometimes it takes a few, sometimes they piece together many takes.

The guitar solo in "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner) was the "scratch track" they just recorded as a "placeholder" and I believe the story is the guitar player hated it and wanted to redo it but everyone loved it so they kept the one we hear today (which I love).

It's not uncommon - and in fact is genrally common practice - for a guitarist (or soloist, vocalist, etc.) to make multiple takes of a solo.

Even in the old tape days of 16 track recording, if you only had 9 or 10 tracks used up, the guitarist might record a take on tracks 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 and then they'd choose the best of those takes. In this example, the middle solo could be a take on track 13, and the end solo could have been the take on track 15.

It sounds very improvisatory.

It probably was initially. And it's also probably very possible that this was not a "first take". He could have just "jammed" over the track a couple of times, and they picked the ones they liked best.

It also could have been very structured and "pre-composed".

It also could have been initially improvised, and maybe even recorded, and then they said "hey that sounds cool, do it again like that take and we'll print it for real".

But you can also bet with a band like Clapton's, and the musicians he worked with, there was some rehearsal going on. They probably played through it a number of times to get everyone familiar with the structure.

Often they do this prior to going to the studio, or they can also come in the studio and run it a few times to give the engineers and producer a chance to hear the song structure, work out any kinks, decide how best to record it.

For example, an engineer needs to know in advance if there's going to be a guitar solo played by the guitarist who's covering rhythm in the song, or if you're going to go back and add hand percussion and things like that, so they can be prepared for it.

Some producers and artists are ruthless too, wanting a "perfect take" and will keep working at it until they get it. Clapton hired steller musicians, but you know, there's a guy working for the record company who will say "Eric, you were a little flat on that note, let's do another take" or "the bass and drums weren't tight on that entrance, let's do it again".

It's rare that a band walks into the studio, mics up, and cuts the record you hear on the radio. I mean, in some styles that happens, or for some songs that happens, or some bands and some producers work that way, but for this kind of music, that's generally not what happens.

There are writing sessions, rehearsals, recording sessions - some of which may not even produce the final version of the song - and then very often those recording sessions are multi-take sessions - especially now - but even then where elements are "built" into the song structure at various times and "piecemeal" as opposed to everyone playing it live.

IOW, if you think Eric's playing rhythm guitar, and then steps on a boost pedal for the solo, then clicks it off to go back to playing rhythm, and so on while they're recording it in one take, or even multiple *full* takes, you're living in some kind of dream world.

Imagine recording a song like filming a movie - there are many takes, many edits, and things aren't even filmed chronologically in some cases - before we see the final product.

The vast majority of music (especially since it became a big industry - starting with Sun Records and through the Beatles (and Beach Boys) and beyond) isn't recording wholly "live". Some is, but it's rarer, and even rarer still for something like "The Trinity Session" y Cowboy Junkies where they pretty much played live.

Hell, most live recordings you hear are not all from the same concert night, and tracks can even be edited together, or, solos added, and post-production work done.

So yeah, tough question to answer without primary source information, but the odds are that they were improvised at first until he found something he liked, and then he used that, or, he improvised a couple of takes and picked the ones he liked the best (or the record company did...).

I agree - I love his tone and playing from this period because it does sound quite spontaneous - and that is a trick - or rather, a skill - making "structured" things sound "improvisatory" if they weren't is magic.

But you know, he's really experienced and really good, so it's absolutely within the realm of possibility he could have just winged the solos without repeating anything else he had tried up to that point (I seriously doubt it was the very first take of them ever playing the song!) but I would say odds are against it.

Peace,
Steve
 

guitarz1972

Member
Messages
4,937
It always kind of amazes me that people (in general, not the OP necessarily) don't really seem to understand how making recordings like this actually work.

Let me first say that number 1, Clapton had certainly played over songs so much, that he would already be walking in with a good idea of what would work and what wouldn't, and his solos in this song are some very "typical" licks.

But, FWIW, usually when artists like this record a song, they don't typically play all the parts live in the studio in one take.

They might. But it's rarer in general, especially by the 80s - and especially when you start getting into big production value music (it was an industry) by this point in time.

It's very likely there could have been demos recorded of this song, and multiple takes in the studio, so EC could have had a chance to solo over this a number of times before they made the actual takes.

Furthermore, a lot of times all of the backing tracks will be recorded, and the lead lines put in later - overdubbed.

Also FWIW, this is commonplace with vocals - a "scratch track" is recorded where the vocalist sings (or sometimes, a soloist plays) just so the other musicians can keep their place in the song, then the vocalist comes back and overdubs their part "for real" with later takes. Sometimes they get a great first take, sometimes it takes a few, sometimes they piece together many takes.

The guitar solo in "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner) was the "scratch track" they just recorded as a "placeholder" and I believe the story is the guitar player hated it and wanted to redo it but everyone loved it so they kept the one we hear today (which I love).

It's not uncommon - and in fact is genrally common practice - for a guitarist (or soloist, vocalist, etc.) to make multiple takes of a solo.

Even in the old tape days of 16 track recording, if you only had 9 or 10 tracks used up, the guitarist might record a take on tracks 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 and then they'd choose the best of those takes. In this example, the middle solo could be a take on track 13, and the end solo could have been the take on track 15.

It sounds very improvisatory.

It probably was initially. And it's also probably very possible that this was not a "first take". He could have just "jammed" over the track a couple of times, and they picked the ones they liked best.

It also could have been very structured and "pre-composed".

It also could have been initially improvised, and maybe even recorded, and then they said "hey that sounds cool, do it again like that take and we'll print it for real".

But you can also bet with a band like Clapton's, and the musicians he worked with, there was some rehearsal going on. They probably played through it a number of times to get everyone familiar with the structure.

Often they do this prior to going to the studio, or they can also come in the studio and run it a few times to give the engineers and producer a chance to hear the song structure, work out any kinks, decide how best to record it.

For example, an engineer needs to know in advance if there's going to be a guitar solo played by the guitarist who's covering rhythm in the song, or if you're going to go back and add hand percussion and things like that, so they can be prepared for it.

Some producers and artists are ruthless too, wanting a "perfect take" and will keep working at it until they get it. Clapton hired steller musicians, but you know, there's a guy working for the record company who will say "Eric, you were a little flat on that note, let's do another take" or "the bass and drums weren't tight on that entrance, let's do it again".

It's rare that a band walks into the studio, mics up, and cuts the record you hear on the radio. I mean, in some styles that happens, or for some songs that happens, or some bands and some producers work that way, but for this kind of music, that's generally not what happens.

There are writing sessions, rehearsals, recording sessions - some of which may not even produce the final version of the song - and then very often those recording sessions are multi-take sessions - especially now - but even then where elements are "built" into the song structure at various times and "piecemeal" as opposed to everyone playing it live.

IOW, if you think Eric's playing rhythm guitar, and then steps on a boost pedal for the solo, then clicks it off to go back to playing rhythm, and so on while they're recording it in one take, or even multiple *full* takes, you're living in some kind of dream world.

Imagine recording a song like filming a movie - there are many takes, many edits, and things aren't even filmed chronologically in some cases - before we see the final product.

The vast majority of music (especially since it became a big industry - starting with Sun Records and through the Beatles (and Beach Boys) and beyond) isn't recording wholly "live". Some is, but it's rarer, and even rarer still for something like "The Trinity Session" y Cowboy Junkies where they pretty much played live.

Hell, most live recordings you hear are not all from the same concert night, and tracks can even be edited together, or, solos added, and post-production work done.

So yeah, tough question to answer without primary source information, but the odds are that they were improvised at first until he found something he liked, and then he used that, or, he improvised a couple of takes and picked the ones he liked the best (or the record company did...).

I agree - I love his tone and playing from this period because it does sound quite spontaneous - and that is a trick - or rather, a skill - making "structured" things sound "improvisatory" if they weren't is magic.

But you know, he's really experienced and really good, so it's absolutely within the realm of possibility he could have just winged the solos without repeating anything else he had tried up to that point (I seriously doubt it was the very first take of them ever playing the song!) but I would say odds are against it.

Peace,
Steve
+1.
 

euler1970

Member
Messages
240
It always kind of amazes me that people (in general, not the OP necessarily) don't really seem to understand how making recordings like this actually work.

Let me first say that number 1, Clapton had certainly played over songs so much, that he would already be walking in with a good idea of what would work and what wouldn't, and his solos in this song are some very "typical" licks.

But, FWIW, usually when artists like this record a song, they don't typically play all the parts live in the studio in one take.

They might. But it's rarer in general, especially by the 80s - and especially when you start getting into big production value music (it was an industry) by this point in time.

It's very likely there could have been demos recorded of this song, and multiple takes in the studio, so EC could have had a chance to solo over this a number of times before they made the actual takes.

Furthermore, a lot of times all of the backing tracks will be recorded, and the lead lines put in later - overdubbed.

Also FWIW, this is commonplace with vocals - a "scratch track" is recorded where the vocalist sings (or sometimes, a soloist plays) just so the other musicians can keep their place in the song, then the vocalist comes back and overdubs their part "for real" with later takes. Sometimes they get a great first take, sometimes it takes a few, sometimes they piece together many takes.

The guitar solo in "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner) was the "scratch track" they just recorded as a "placeholder" and I believe the story is the guitar player hated it and wanted to redo it but everyone loved it so they kept the one we hear today (which I love).

It's not uncommon - and in fact is genrally common practice - for a guitarist (or soloist, vocalist, etc.) to make multiple takes of a solo.

Even in the old tape days of 16 track recording, if you only had 9 or 10 tracks used up, the guitarist might record a take on tracks 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 and then they'd choose the best of those takes. In this example, the middle solo could be a take on track 13, and the end solo could have been the take on track 15.

It sounds very improvisatory.

It probably was initially. And it's also probably very possible that this was not a "first take". He could have just "jammed" over the track a couple of times, and they picked the ones they liked best.

It also could have been very structured and "pre-composed".

It also could have been initially improvised, and maybe even recorded, and then they said "hey that sounds cool, do it again like that take and we'll print it for real".

But you can also bet with a band like Clapton's, and the musicians he worked with, there was some rehearsal going on. They probably played through it a number of times to get everyone familiar with the structure.

Often they do this prior to going to the studio, or they can also come in the studio and run it a few times to give the engineers and producer a chance to hear the song structure, work out any kinks, decide how best to record it.

For example, an engineer needs to know in advance if there's going to be a guitar solo played by the guitarist who's covering rhythm in the song, or if you're going to go back and add hand percussion and things like that, so they can be prepared for it.

Some producers and artists are ruthless too, wanting a "perfect take" and will keep working at it until they get it. Clapton hired steller musicians, but you know, there's a guy working for the record company who will say "Eric, you were a little flat on that note, let's do another take" or "the bass and drums weren't tight on that entrance, let's do it again".

It's rare that a band walks into the studio, mics up, and cuts the record you hear on the radio. I mean, in some styles that happens, or for some songs that happens, or some bands and some producers work that way, but for this kind of music, that's generally not what happens.

There are writing sessions, rehearsals, recording sessions - some of which may not even produce the final version of the song - and then very often those recording sessions are multi-take sessions - especially now - but even then where elements are "built" into the song structure at various times and "piecemeal" as opposed to everyone playing it live.

IOW, if you think Eric's playing rhythm guitar, and then steps on a boost pedal for the solo, then clicks it off to go back to playing rhythm, and so on while they're recording it in one take, or even multiple *full* takes, you're living in some kind of dream world.

Imagine recording a song like filming a movie - there are many takes, many edits, and things aren't even filmed chronologically in some cases - before we see the final product.

The vast majority of music (especially since it became a big industry - starting with Sun Records and through the Beatles (and Beach Boys) and beyond) isn't recording wholly "live". Some is, but it's rarer, and even rarer still for something like "The Trinity Session" y Cowboy Junkies where they pretty much played live.

Hell, most live recordings you hear are not all from the same concert night, and tracks can even be edited together, or, solos added, and post-production work done.

So yeah, tough question to answer without primary source information, but the odds are that they were improvised at first until he found something he liked, and then he used that, or, he improvised a couple of takes and picked the ones he liked the best (or the record company did...).

I agree - I love his tone and playing from this period because it does sound quite spontaneous - and that is a trick - or rather, a skill - making "structured" things sound "improvisatory" if they weren't is magic.

But you know, he's really experienced and really good, so it's absolutely within the realm of possibility he could have just winged the solos without repeating anything else he had tried up to that point (I seriously doubt it was the very first take of them ever playing the song!) but I would say odds are against it.

Peace,
Steve

Excellent post. Very informative.
 

Buzzard Luck

Member
Messages
2,686
He played along a few times, and played a few licks each time, and the engineer and producer edited all the different takes down to something cohesive, copying and pasting, leaving out the meandering bits, and tried to make it sound intentional and directed. That was their job!$.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
30,571
EC sig strat came into play after Behind the Sun. He started playing the SLO and the 7Up green strat during the Journeyman era. He played a Marshall for Behund the Sun if I remember correctly.
 

S1Player

Member
Messages
3,448
It always kind of amazes me that people (in general, not the OP necessarily) don't really seem to understand how making recordings like this actually work.

Amazes you? I think you are overestimating the number of people that have been in the studio - let alone actually worked on - a pro recording.
 

DavidS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
716
I also read somewhere that he tuned his Strat down to D for that song to give a beefier tone.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
My guess is he had the general solo , but played it many ways in the details. I like this song a lot. The song is in D, but it seems I hear a low D in the main rif... I guess it's just the bass doing that note... or he's tuned his E string down to D.... The rest he appears to playing in normal position for Dm.... so it must be just the Low E string tuned down.
 

ELmiguel

Senior Member
Messages
3,664
nothing he is playing there is groundbreaking
in fact some of the licks are the same ones that are part of his arsenal that he has used for most of his career
then what is going on?
he has always had the ability to play tasty melodic solos, come up with very memorable parts for songs (ie Badge)
he has the skills to physically do what his brain wants him to do
so what you have is a guitarist who has class, taste, improvisational skills, and is a great writer
if you notice his solo is repeating a few parts of the vocal melody line
that is something George Harrison was also very good at

so no, I don't think he worked on it too much, that's just his talent
I have read where he said that thinking too much about a solo or trying to work it all out ahead of time wasn't a good thing for him
he prefers just to go for it and we get to hear the results
 




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