Just writing up this article to discuss a few rumours and facts about the “If You Want Blood” live album
Marcus (username Mackollas) and I, while casually talking, realized that “Whole Lotta Rosie” is, perhaps, the most obviously “patched up” track for a very tangible fact: It is, basically, the edited LTBR LP version.
Now… wait… Just wait…. Before you start jumping at me with “WHAT??” or “Are you nuts/ insane/ f*cked up???”, please listen to this file:
This is the intro of the IYWB version (slowed down, so the pitch is lowered) followed by the studio version.
Note how the final A of the riff second time around is longer and then the third run of the riff is stiffer on both versions.
More importantly: The guitar tone is EXACTLY THE SAME.
Later on, the “She’s got it ALLLLLLLLLL” line also matches the studio version 100%
“BUT…. The solos are different!!!! They can’t be the same!”
Just listen to it carefully. No need to even compare to the studio version.
The tone is also 100% the same. It’s even scary. It IS that very same “overloaded mic preamp” sound.
And a more stupid giveaway. listen to Malcolm missing the chord slightly here:
What does this mean? The instrumental rhythm part is simply the sped up (and slightly edited) album version, but with different solos and vocals.
So… what these solos are exactly?
My bet: They are unused outtakes from the LTBR sessions.
Also, let’s consider this: as much as Angus always change up the solos live, he always keeps the same “formula”. If you listen to ALL the “Whole Lotta Rosie” versions from 1977, through the ’80s and up to today, you will notice they always start with that signature rhythmic riff.
Instead, here, we have that messy (yet powerful) “C notes followed by an A note with vibrato” lick. Why only during this night? Why didn’t we ever hear it again ever since?
Plus, the solo as a whole on the “IYWB” live album is considerably “more primitive” (structure-wise) than either the final studio take or the later live versions. So, we can assume it was an earlier outtake, perhaps even from the same day.
What about the vocals? Well
Rumours say that many backing vocals were also re-recorded for the album. Some cite “Rock n Roll Damnation” as one of these tracks. I’d dare to say that “High Voltage” could be another example. After all, being as good as they are at guitar and bass, Malcolm and Cliff are not exactly good singers.
It’s important to remember that it was a common thing for the band to use “instrumental” versions of their songs as playback during TV promo clips, while Bon would do his vocal performance right at the spot.
The first assumption we can make is that, most probably, the vocal track of “Rosie” was also especially recorded for this version. The very demanding “she’s got it all” line just after the intro is the same as the original studio track, so maybe Bon couldn’t get that line right during this possible 1978 session, forcing them to re-use the LP version line.
Another possibilty is that the vocals also could be LTRB session outtakes.
The shorter ending can be explained as well: seemingly, it was chopped off.
You can hear Bon’s wail stopping exactly at the same time as the band changes from the G# note to the closing A chords. A coincidence? Maybe not.
This fact may suggest that the vocal track really is from the LTBR sessions, because if it was recorded for the IYWB album, maybe the final “Rosieeeeee” wouldn’t stop so suddenly.
Another thing is that Angus’ transition from the G# note to the closing “mini-solo” doesn’t sound very natural either. Usually he would play a longer solo, building up until it reached that boiling point.
Of course. this is only speculation of my part, though.
Another giveaway? This time it’s Phil Rudd who gives us a clue. Listen to the final drum fill (first, the “live” version, then the studio one and, finally, the two together):
I never thought I could manage to do this, but it was easier than I thought. I just had to adjust the speed and cut the end… well… This is the final evidence:
It’s amazing, but the quieter part of the solo is also the EXACT SAME take as the studio one. Just note how the guitars are perfectly in synch and the palm mutes happen at the exact same time.
So… Is the whole album “FAKE”??
No. Quite not. It’s a very common thing for bands to “edit” their live performances before releasing them. As controversial as this fact may be, it’s more common than we usually would like to imagine.
The other detail is that “Rosie” is the ONLY track that has a slightly higher pitch, so this fact itself says quite a lot. .
So, all in all, this was not the “Whole Lotta Rosie” the audience at Glasgow heard.
The question now is: Why was this done? Perhaps something happened with the original recording? Or maybe they didn’t perform it well? Maybe we will never know.
But simply using the sped up studio track with a different vocals and solo is beyond anything I could ever imagine. They could have replaced it with “Dog Eat Dog” instead, or even use the extended “Rocker” solo to fill in the missing time. Yet, this is what we got instead.
But then again, Rosie has always been a fan-favourite, so maybe they couldn’t let the album go without it.
On the bright side, we got an amazing “Alternate Studio Take” to listen to. 🙂