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Gerry and the Pacemakers

As with many other groups, there are variations in both mixes and released takes of Gerry and the Pacemakers' songs. Some differences are very subtle, yet others are blantantly obvious to anyone. Listed here are the ones I've come across thus far.

This does NOT include live versions, or the re-recordings from the 20th Anniversary Album.

Koji Mikuma, Amy Michaels


Version 1: At the end of the song, there are additional backround vocals. Mono mix. ("Second Album", Laurie records LLP 2027)

Version 2: Lacks additional background vocals. Stereo mix. ("How Do You Do It", Repertoire records 4422-WY, "The Best of Gerry and the Pacemakers" EMI Records 1977.)

Ferry Cross the Mersey

Version 1: Mono, opens with the descending slide on the guitar, with the percussion and vocals starting at the same time (i.e. the third bar).

Version 2: Stereo, has two bars of percussion introduction prior to the start of the guitar part.

Girl on a Swing

Version 1: Mono, has no snare drum in ending.

Version 2: Stereo, with snare in ending.

I'll Be There

Version 1: Mono version 1. Has no orchestral arrangement. Available on Canadian Second Album.

Version 2: Mono version 2. Has no fade out.

Version 3: Mono version 3. Has fade out.

Version 4: Stereo version.

It's Gonna Be Alright

Version 1: Mono version. Has a much longer instrumental introduction. Length of about 2:23. This was used on the soundtrack LPs.
Version 2: Stereo version. Contains about two bars of instrumental introduction before the vocals start. Length of about 2:09. The mix is very weak, having a vocal - instrumental split which sounds absolutely horrible through headphones. Gerry explained to me that they were using a 4-track recorder for this song (which was high tech back in 1965!), and in order to get the double track vocals and the guitar overdubs, they had to bounce everything else on to a single track, which is largely the reason for the weak stereo mix.

This Thing Called Love

Version 1: Mono version, single track lead vocal.

Version 2: Stereo version, double track lead vocal.

In many cases with Pacemakers recordings, there are minute differences between surviving mono and stereo mixes. For example, the lead guitar on "Think About Love" sounds louder and more distorted in the mono mix than the stereo version. However, from every listening I've had of the two mixes, the performances sound identical, and it is merely a difference in the mixdown levels and tones of the song. I personally don't think that these minor differences qualify as the sort of variations that one need catalogue at this stage. I only include differing mixes on this list if the mix includes different tracks, takes, or material audibly not present on the other version(s).

Prior to the introduction of 8-track and better in 1968, the sessions were generally recorded on 4-track machines, which severely limited the stereo potential of the final mixdown. Generally, the final mixdown required that the vocals would take up at least one track (two if double-tracked), later guitar and/or strings taking up at least one track, and the remaining rhythm tracks (bass, drums, piano, backing guitar, etc.) limited to whatever space was left. The result was a very limiting session tape, and the general result was to split the instruments to one side and the vocals to the other. In rare instances where no overdubs were recorded, there was the possibility of giving one or two instruments a dedicated track, but this seldom happened. It appears that most of the songs recorded by Gerry for release up to and including the How Do You Like It LP were recorded to twintrack--instruments on one track, vocals on the other! With I understand that The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was one of the first songs to be recorded on Abbey Road's 4-track machine. (I beleive the first Beatles 8-track recording at Abbey Road was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".)

As a result, stereo mixes prior to 1968 or so tend to be very weak, forcing drums and bass to be split off to the side - a process that modern recording engineers absolutely cringe at. Levels usually had to be altered, and generally reduced in the stereo version, to allow for an acceptable master. Indeed, it seems that stereo was regarded by many within the recording industry as little more than a sales gimmick, and a way of getting another dollar or two out of unsuspecting fans. (I suspect it was with this in mind that EMI decided not to release the first four Beatles LPs in stereo when the catalogue was put on CD. Pity...they should have extended this practice up to about Rubber Soul, if you ask me!) It was only with The Beatles Sgt. Pepper and The Who Sell Out that stereo became a form of enhancing the recording. Of course, then came Hendrix, and it became absolutely mind-blowing...

In general, I have found the stereo versions of the old Pacemaker masters lack the clarity and power of their mono equivalent, especially due to their problems with frequency cancellation, and a completely unnatural stereo spectrum.

It would be nice if EMI would give the old 4-tracks a listen and see if they are perhaps candidates for remixing using modern mixing practices, i.e. centre the bass and drums, and play with the stereo separation using the other tracks. The two recent re-releases of the Pacemakers' British albums were remastered, and were either remixed staying faithful to the old methods, or were just taken from the original mixdown tapes. I suspect the latter.

This page maintained by Ian Speers
Last updated: January 17, 1999.
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