Monday, June 06, 2011

"Marquee Moon" reveals previously unsuspected phase

"Marquee Moon" has been one of my favorite songs since I bought the Television album. My favorite part was the ending: after the loooong guitar solo trails off, the riff from the beginning of the song comes back in, Verlaine sings the first line of the song -- "I remember how the darkness doubled" -- and the song fades out just as it comes back round to its beginning. Beautiful.

And, as I discovered last week when I finally got around to replacing my tape with the CD, entirely a figment of the record company's imagination:
The original vinyl LP faded out "Marquee Moon" to 9:58 because of space limitations. All CD issues have featured the full-length version of the song, clocking in at 10:40.
And the original version just isn't as good! Verlaine sings the first verse again, they do a little flourish, the song ends. Whee. And all these years, I thought the band had actually managed to do something cool with the conventional fade-out.


  1. But they did, using the limitations they had on an LP. I'd be curious who made the decision to put out the full thing, and would assume the band had a role in the mastering decision about how to do the fade.. There are a lot of LPS that felt strange to me for a long time without the side one / side two division. I can name lead off tracks for side two of a lot of records that don't have quite the impact in the middle.

    This all goes back a long way-- supposedly one of Ralph Peer's assistants threw his stopwatch at members of the Memphis Jug Band when they blew a take by not stopping when signaled to stop. Circa 1927.

  2. Yah, just another item for the "technical limitations improving art" file.

    Speaking of blowing a take, the Wiki article says "Marquee Moon" was done in a single take -- the drummer thought they were rehearsing it.